Prof. Dr. Sigrid G. Köhler

Chair for German literature

Welcome to the homepage of the Tübingen Chair of Modern German Literature (NDL) with a focus on the 18th and 19th centuries.

Five of us research and teach German literature of the 18th and 19th centuries, with some excursions into the 20th century and contemporary literature. Our systematic work and research focuses on knowledge and literature, post/colonial and gender studies, mediality and aesthetics, and memory and remembrance culture.


 The Team 


Annual DGEJ-Conference

Racism and systems of global knowledge. Practices, Discourses and Episteme of the German Enlightenment

13.9.-15.9.2023, Current (together with Prof. Dr. Claudia Nitschke, Durham University & Dr. Frank Grunert, IZEA Halle)

Funded by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung.To the conference report (In German).

With Erasmus+ to Lomé/Togo

As of now, students can apply for Erasmus+ mobility scholarships to Lomé/Togo for the 2024 summer semester. Application deadline is 15.09.2023. More information here (in german).

Recent Publications


The boom of the contract is evident interdiscursively in law, philosophy, politics and literature and culminates around 1800 in a comprehensive presence in non-juridical areas as well: Communication and intersubjectivity are conceptualized contractually, aesthetic, political and historical societies are designed by Friedrich Schiller according to the 'model of the covenant' and characters in love in Goethe's Elective Affinities dream of the contract rather than a night of love. Sigrid G. Köhler traces this boom from a literary and cultural studies perspective. She examines texts from the classical and romantic periods, from Friedrich Schiller's letters on the aesthetic education of man to Heinrich von Kleist's Michael Kohlhaas and Ludwig Uhland's Vaterländische Gedichte, supplemented by relevant early modern and enlightenment positions on natural law, including Thomas Hobbes, Samuel von Pufendorf and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as well as early modern sociological writings by Herbert Spencer, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber. The focus is on the formation of the modern bourgeois subject. Its idea of being free and self-determined is expressed not least in the autonomy of action granted by the contract. The contract - as a figure of private law enabling, as a figure of state regulation and as a figure of transcendence - allows modern man to order his own (legal) space in the state. To be published in 2024 by Konstanz University Press.

Law as cultural Technique - Cultural technique in the Law [Edited with Rupert Gaderer and Florian Schmidt] (in German)

In the linking of law with technologies of culture, this interdisciplinary volume pursues a dual perspective: It considers both the medial and material environment in and out of which law emerges while also investigating how ‘law as a technology of culture’ shapes its sociocultural surroundings. Law, as a particular interconnection of material, medial, and intellectual technologies of culture, generates both a juridical normativity and, at the same time, fashions subjects. This formation occurs as a result of law creating relationships and regulating societies as well through its forming of networks of affect not only through legal proceedings, but also in literature, cultural practices and film. The contributions from literary, media, legal studies inquire into the connection between legal subjectivity and technologies of culture, the legal strategies of (anti)colonialism and the legal cultural technologies in the digital present. Available in November 2023 at Brill.  

How do human rights make their way into the world? On the negotiation and mediation of human rights [edited with Matthias Schaffrick] (in German).

Frontier, cross-examination or stage – instead of human rights declaration, codification or basic law? How do human rights make their way into the world? Where do they assert their normative claim? What role do media, practices, and institutions play in negotiating and communicating human rights in relation to philosophical or legal justifications? These questions are explored in this interdisciplinary volume.

Released by Winter.