Maren Emde


In June 2016 I received my Magister degree from Goethe-University Frankfurt where I studied American Studies, English Studies, German Studies and Sociology. My Magister thesis was titled “Publishing Pain: Suffering in Contemporary American Memoir” and can be regarded as preliminary work for my current project in which I continue to examine the role of suffering, illness and therapy in popular American life-writing. During my studies I have started to develop an interdisciplinary perspective on literature and am now mainly interested in connecting literary studies and sociology in the context of this examination. During the past years I furthermore focused on queer*feminist theory/Gender Studies and critical theory – an involvement which is influential on my scientific work and part of my scientific interest.


…provides the opportunity to pursue my research interests in a stimulating, interdisciplinary environment which offers permanently new perspectives and impetuses. Being situated at the Universitätsmedizin in Mainz gives me the possibility to get to know the different (also practical) fields of the life sciences and experience the collaboration with people from various disciplines.


…to develop new perspectives on current American life writing while realizing my research project. Furthermore, I’m looking forward to broaden my theoretical and methodological knowledge in discussions with the different people at the GRK and to contribute my own perspectives.


...focuses the so-called „Misery Memoirs“, a subgenre which has been a huge success on the American literary market during what has become known as the “memoir boom”. I am especially interested in books written by ordinary people (and therefore not already known writers, politicians or celebrities) who tell their experiences of various physical, psychic/psychosomatic illnesses or traumata. My research interest lies in the question in how far the narratives of those memoirs offer a space to articulate and discuss these boundary experiences of illness and therapy. At the same time, I want to analyze how these narratives are used in / part of a production process of cultural goods which follows a certain demand on the (literary) market. My project therefore summarizes perspectives from literary studies, sociology and the life sciences.