Graduiertenschule für die Geisteswissenschaften

Schmitz, Caterina

Dissertationsthema: " 'Never-ending Remembrance': The Gothic and Cultural Memory Making."

Kontaktadresse an der Universität Würzburg:
Lehrstuhl für Amerikanistik
Am Hubland
97074 Würzburg

E-Mail an Frau Schmitz

Erstbetreuer/in:  Prof. Dr. MaryAnn Snyder-Körber


Prof. Dr. Ina Bergmann

PD Dr. Miriam Wallraven

Klasse in der Graduiertenschule:  "Philosophie, Sprachen, Künste"

Promotion in der Graduiertenschule ab WS 2022/2023.

Since its emergence in the 18th century, the Gothic has fulfilled a very singular role, i.e. that of a cultural time capsule. Gothic works effectively preserve an image of the current, overarching negotiations of boundaries, categories, identities, and the ensuing anxieties defining the present they are situated in. Regardless of the changes in characteristics, tropes, modes and formats the Gothic has undergone, this primary function holds as true at the genre’s conception as it does regarding its modern renditions. After all, the Gothic at its core is a genre haunted by the past and anxiously anticipating the future, while simultaneously being inescapably -inevitably- entangled in the unresolved discourse of its present. In this temporal liminality lies the genre’s unchanged power to haunt our cultural spaces, continuously challenge the identities we construct, and relentlessly recall what we would have otherwise forgotten.

Within this temporal framework, my project will explore the nexus between the Gothic and (societal) memory culture by making use of a comparative approach that traces how the role of remembrance has evolved within and without the framework of Gothic fiction from the beginnings of the genre to its modern formulaic derivatives. The focus will thereby lie on fostering an understanding about the mutually informing discourse between the highly mnemonic Gothic genre and overarching cultural memory making processes. The aim of this thesis is to leave the primary function of Gothic fiction as a passive mirror of cultural moments in time behind, in favor of reading the genre as an active participant in memory making that shapes our cultural landscape and instigates a renegotiation of the concept of collective remembrance as a whole.