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Dr. Steffen Adrian Wöll

Wiss. Mitarb. SFB

Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe)
Nikolaistraße 10, Room 5.07
04109 Leipzig

Phone: +49 341 97 - 37752


Employed at SFB 1199 since October 2016, I've contributed my American Studies background to a sub project, finishing with a dissertation titled "The West and the Word: Imagining, Formatting, and Ordering the American West in Nineteenth-Century Cultural Discourse." Starting in 2020, I'm employed as a postdoctoral researcher in the follow-up project that involves the study of US transoceanic expansion between 1880-1940 and its representation and construction in literature and other cultural texts. These studies bring to the fore discursive dynamics and intersections between spatial imaginations of the transpacific and circum-caribbean spaces, as well as their connections at geo-strategic junctions such as the Panama Canal. Next to the analysis of spatial imaginations, formats, and orders, I'm interested in representations of agency, race, and otherness in US literature and culture. Articles about these and other subjects have appeared in several journals and volumes.

Professional career

  • since 01/2020
    Research Fellow / Postdoctoral Candidate at SFB 1199 (Leipzig)
  • 09/2016 - 12/2019
    Research Fellow / Doctoral Candidate at SFB 1199 (Leipzig)
  • 03/2016 - 09/2016
    Research Assistant at the Institute for American Studies (Leipzig University)
  • 10/2003 - 07/2009
    Student of Law (Justus Liebig University Giessen)
  • 01/2001 - 08/2003
    Freelance Journalist


  • 10/2014 - 07/2016
    Master of Arts in American Studies (Leipzig University)
  • 10/2011 - 09/2014
    Bachelor of Arts in American Studies (Leipzig University)
  • 10/1999 - 06/2002
    Abitur Certificate (Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Alsfeld)

As a postdoctoral candidate at Leipzig's SFB 1199, I am currently investigating spatial imaginations in American literature and culture that involve discursive interactions and fault lines in transoceanic US imperialism between 1880 and 1940.

Other research interests include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Imaginations and representations of spatio-cultural (meta)narratives
  • The literary nexuses of space, mobility, agency, and otherness
  • American exceptionalism in popular culture
  • Religious and (sub)cultural radicalism

A complete and up-to-date list of ongoing research projects can be found at

  • Wöll, S. A.
    Bleeding Borders: Space, Blackness, and Hybridity in Jack London’s Representations of the American Southwest
    Amerikastudien/American Studies. 2018. pp. 5–28.
    show details
  • Wöll, S. A.
    Feeling New York: Classless Urban Geographies and Affective Capitalist Reconciliation in Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick
    Emotion, Space and Society. 2017. pp. 1–8.
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  • Pisarz-Ramirez, G.; Wöll, S. A.
    Periphere Räume in der Amerikanistik
    de Gruyter. 2019.
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  • Wöll, S. A.
    The West and the World: Imagining, Formatting, and Ordering the American West in Nineteenth-Century Cultural Discourse
    Berlin: de Gruyter. 2020.
    show details
  • Wöll, S. A.
    "Fear Thy Neighbor": Paranoia and Suburban Victim-Hood in Mark Pellington's Arlington Road
    In: Slavova, E. (Ed.)
    Traditions and Transitions. Sofia: St. Kliment Ohridski University Press. 2019. pp. 290–302.
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more publications

  • Mapping Diversity: Imaginations of Race and Space in Historical and Contemporary US Literature (Ethnicity and Diversity in US Culture / WS 2017/18)

    The spatial turn expanded and theorized the idea of (social) space as a productive signifier that provided humanities scholars with novel analytical tools to tackle long-standing issues regarding history, politics, gender roles, class, and race. Discussing concepts such as the wilderness, frontier, or borderlands, this seminar engages texts from the nineteenth century to the present, taking into account a variety of approaches and perspectives with regards to spatiality and ethnicity.

  • Reading the Transpacific: Asian American Cultures and Identities (Ethnicity and Diversity in US Culture / WS 2020/21)

    From fifteenth-century maritime mobilities and archipelagic networks to nineteenth-century labor migration, the ‘Yellow Peril,’ Pacific imperialism, and current challenges: In this seminar we will explore the rich cultural and literary histories of Asian American identities as they developed and continue to surface alongside the vectors of race, class, gender, and space.

  • “A technical white elephant”: Whiteness and (Post-)Racial Representations in US Visual and Material Culture (Ethnicity and Diversity in US Culture / WS 2021/22)

    In his influential study of whiteness, Richard Dyer noted that “as long as white people are not racially seen and named, they/we function as the human norm. Other people are raced, we are just people.” Taking this insight as a point of departure, this seminar explores representations of race and ethnicity in the United States with a focus on visual and material culture.