Internship Project
Cultural Studies

Queer Reading - a Methodology. German Literature in the Age of Paragraph 175

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Faculty of Linguistics and Literature, Department of German Literature
Research Center for the Cultural History of Sexuality
Subject Area
Literature, Studies of German Literature
06 May – 26 July
20 May – 09 August

Internship Modality:
On-site internship in Berlin

The application is closed, and all positions have been filled.
Applications for 2025 will open in October 2024.
Project Supervisor(s)
Prof. Dr. Andreas Kraß (project leader)
Janin Afken, Liesa Hellmann (research associates, intern mentors)
Academic Level
Advanced undergraduate students (from second year) 
Master's students 
Ph.D. students 

English; German (not mandatory)
Further Information
Project Type
Academic Research
Project Content
The project seeks to establish a comprehensive methodology of heteronormativity-critical reading techniques on the example of German literature from the era of Paragraph 175 (1872-1994). This approach is based on the surface of the text, rather than on the often referred to ‘subtext’. We see queer writing as an opportunity to express desire that not only evades heteronormative constraints, but critically questions them and attempts to transcend them through different approaches. Correspondingly, queer writing necessitates queer reading as a hermeneutic approach.
Queer reading does not aim to reveal something about the writer, e.g. to expose homosexuality, to form or assign identity, or to discover a supposedly ‘true’ interpretation of the text. Instead, queer reading examines narrative structures, plotlines, motifs, and characters that diverge from heteronormative norms. The term ‘queer’ encompasses not only sexuality and desire but also other ‘deviations’ from the norm, such as non-binary, non-white, and disabled subject positions. The principles of intersectionality are crucial in helping to counterbalance heteronormative perspectives.
Tasks for Interns
The intern will assist in all aspects of the research project which may include:
  • Research assistance
  • Literature review
  • Archival and online research
  • Preparing content for the social media channels/project website
  • Organization of events

Furthermore, the intern will have the opportunity to develop and conduct a small research project on their own within the frame of the main project. 
Academic Level
Advanced undergraduate students (from second year) 
Master's students 
Ph.D. students 

  • Interest in Gender and Queer Studies, especially at the intersection of Queer Theory and Literary Studies
  • Knowledge of methods of literary studies
  • Interest in the cultural history of sexuality
  • research experience (optional)
  • Basic skills in literature review
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For more information on the Humboldt Internship Program or the project, please contact the program coordinator.