Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Contemporary German Literature, Representation, Criminals, Enemies, Refugees, Belonging

Major Advisor

Sebastian Wogenstein

Associate Advisor

Friedemann Weidauer

Associate Advisor

Anke Finger

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Situated in the interdisciplinary field of literature and human rights, my dissertation contributes to our understanding of how societies draw, maintain, and challenge the line between the people who belong to a community and those who do not. Arguing that criminals, enemies, and refugees are epitomes of discursively and institutionally produced outcasts today, I analyze how fictionalized criminals, enemies, and refugees in contemporary German novels and theater are used as narratological and dramatic devices to (re)define the values and composition of the community. Specifically, I look at the criminal characters in Bernhard Schlink’s novel "Das Wochenende" (2008) and Nicolas Stemann’s staging of Friedrich Schiller’s "Die Räuber" (2008); at the enemy characters in Lukas Bärfuss’ novel "Hundert Tage" (2008) and Cihan Inan’s staging of Heinrich von Kleist’s "Penthesilea" (2017); and the refugee characters in Merle Kröger’s novel "Havarie" (2015) and Elfriede Jelinek’s theater text "Die Schutzbefohlenen" (2013). My dissertation investigates literary and theatrical representational strategies of social inclusion and exclusion. It also provides a comparative account of how literature and theater imagine and mediate the identity of Europe’s German speaking communities today.