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Research on Seriality in Media Continues

Second Project Phase of Interdisciplinary Research Unit "Popular Seriality" to Receive Additional 2.15 Million Euros

№ 285/2013 from Oct 01, 2013

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved funding amounting to 2.15 million euros over a three-year period for the second phase of the interdisciplinary Research Unit “Popular Seriality—Aesthetics and Practice.” The initiator and speaker of the project is Professor Frank Kelleter from the John F. Kennedy Institute of Freie Universität Berlin. The other participating institutions are Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Leibniz-Universität Hannover, and KIT in Karlsruhe. The researchers are investigating a type of narrative that since the 19th century has become a feature of modern culture: Serial stories with the same characters that are produced in commercial media for a mass public, for example, newspaper novels, television series, or comics.

Starting in October 2013, the research on seriality will be continued in seven new subprojects, three of which will be based at Freie Universität Berlin. During the first phase from 2010 to 2013, six subprojects were funded with a total of 1.85 million euros. The researchers have backgrounds in American studies, German studies, cultural anthropology / European ethnology, and media studies. The aim of the research group is to examine the relationship between popular culture and serial storytelling. To do so, they link aesthetic analyses of series with empirical studies that deal with those involved and the media.

During the first phase the research focused on such issues as how serial stories influence the perception of social reality and structure daily life. During the second phase the researchers plan to address the historical foundations of popular seriality as well as take up new issues. Three of the seven new subprojects are devoted to the early history of serial popular culture in Germany and the United States, in particular German-language periodicals and American mystery novels of the 19th century and film series of the 1910s to 1940s. Two of the subprojects – one dealing with series authorship as a profession and one on film remaking as a form of retrospective serialization – build on the findings of the first phase that addressed the everyday life dimension and the narrative structure of serial formats. Two other subprojects on digital seriality in computer games and reality TV will be devoted to current developments.

Further Information

Prof. Dr. Frank Kelleter, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-54240, Email: