Claudia Breger is the Villard Professor of German and Comparative Literature. Her research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first century culture, with emphases on film and theater; literary, media, and cultural theory; and the intersections of gender, sexuality and race.
She is particularly interested in combining theory with historical perspectives, and cultural studies approaches with aesthetic inquiries and close reading practices. Her earliest book, Ortlosigkeit des Fremden (Böhlau 1998), traces the genealogy of modern representations of Romani and other itinerant people at the intersection of race and gender around 1800. Prof. Breger’s second book, Szenarien kopfloser Herrschaft (Rombach 2004), investigates reconfigurations of royal imaginaries beyond sovereignty in twentieth-century German culture, in scenarios ranging from imperial Egyptology to queer drag king performances.
Her more recent An Aesthetics of Narrative Performance (Theory and Interpretation of Narrative, Ohio State University Press, 2012) seeks to reconcile the fields of narratology and performance studies in order to conceptualize contemporary worldmaking practices in different media. The smaller German-language volume Nach dem Sex? (Hirschfeld-Lectures; Wallstein, 2014) probes methodological dialogues between queer turn-of-the-twentieth century sexology and twenty-first century affect studies.
Prof. Breger’s most recent book, Making Worlds: Affect and Collectivity in Contemporary European Cinema, has been published by Columbia University Press (2020). The study reconnects her work on affect to questions of narrative and form by way of a syncretic concept of cinematic worldmaking. Prof. Breger deploys this concept to argue for contemporary cinema’s imaginative productivity in reimagining collectivity for our moment of heightened public affectivity. A full list of Prof. Breger’s publications can be found here.