Short biography

Thomas Ernst

Thomas Ernst is Assistant Professor at the University of Duisburg-Essen, where he teaches courses in German Literature and Media Studies, and Digital Culture. He studied German Studies and Philosophy in Duisburg, Bochum, Berlin and Leuven, and earned his Ph.D. as a fellow of the research group “Identity and Difference” funded by the DFG and as a doctoral scholarship holder by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung at the Universität Trier in 2008. His involvement in German experimental, minority, sub- and pop-cultural literature resulted in the dissertation Literatur und Subversion. Politisches Schreiben in der Gegenwart (summa cum laude), in which he establishes a new paradigm for analysing political ways of writing beyond the littérature engagée.

From 2008 till 2010 Thomas Ernst had a postdoctoral position at the Université du Luxembourg, where he conducted a comparative research on multilingualism and images of European and national identities in German, Flemish and Luxembourgish literature, and intercultural urban and art spaces in Germany and Luxembourg. From his research emerged the CORE-Project Multi-Literariness. Literary Constructions of Identities in the Multilingual Spaces of Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands (2011-14) and the anthology Verortungen der Interkulturalität (2012). Furthermore, the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation appointed Ernst to the Organizing Committee of the 1st Turkish-German Frontiers of Humanities Symposium 2013.

Since 2010 he did research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, especially on the literary history of intellectual property and the change of literature in a digital society. Due to his research work, the rectorate of the Universität Duisburg-Essen admitted him to a  programme supporting excellent young researchers in 2012. Moreover, he was admitted to the Global Young Faculty III in 2013 and became  a representative of the working group “Potentials of Digital Media in Academia“. The support enabled Thomas Ernst to organize the conferences Nach dem geistigen Eigentum? Digitale Literatur, die Literaturwissenschaft und das Immaterialgüterrecht (2014) as well as Open Knowledge? Potentials of Digital Publishing in the Academic World (2015). In addition, he established digital teaching projects: Digitur – Literatur in der digitalen Welt (since 2013) and Internationaler Literaturpreis on Blog (since 2014 with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin), he supervised award-winning master theses, and he participated in the successful acquisition of the doctoral programme Arbeit und ihre Subjekte. Mediale Diskursivierungen seit 1960 (2016-2018).

Furthermore, Thomas Ernst acts as an international referee for, among others, the DFG, as a liaison lecturer of the Hans Böckler Foundation and as a member of the working group “Digital Publications” of the association for Digital Humanities in the German-speaking area. In recent years, he was, among others, discussion partner of the New York Times, Deutschlandfunk, Literatur Spiegel, DRadioWissen, Westdeutscher Rundfunk and Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep, and a guest scholar at the Columbia University of the City of New York (2005), and at the universities of Leuven (2004), Växjö (2012) and Antwerp (2014). For further information visit:

Selected texts in English

From Avant-Garde Guerillas to Capitalistic Teamwork? Concepts of Collective Creative Writing Between Subversion and Submission. In: Gerhard Fischer/Florian Vaßen (eds.):  Collective Creativity. Collaborative Work in Literature, the Sciences and the Arts. Amsterdam; New York: Rodopi, 2011 (Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und zur Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft, nr. 148), p. 229-241.

‘Kanak Sprak’ and Union Suspecte. Scandals Around Hybrid and Multilingual Literature in Germany and Belgium. In: Mirjam Gebauer/Pia Schwarz Lausten (Hg.): Migration and Literature in Contemporary Europe. München 2010, p. 243-258.

Tagungsbericht Collective Creativity’. 23.7.2009-26.7.2009, Sydney (). In: H-Soz-u-Kult, 23.09.2009, (by Anna König, in collaboration with Ned Curthoys, Thomas Ernst, Andrew McNamara and Ralf Rauker).

German pop literature and cultural globalisation. In: Stuart Taberner (ed.):  German literature in the age of globalisation. Birmingham 2004 (The New Germany in Context), p. 169-188.