PhD students 3rd cohort

Dr. des. Luisa Turczynski (Post-Doc since 07/2022)

Dr. des. Luisa Turczynski (Post-Doc since 07/2022)
Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Research Training Group "The Romantic Model"
Bachstraße 18k | R. 110
07743 Jena
+49 3641 44198

Curriculum Vitae

Luisa Turczynski (born 1991) studied German and English within the Teachers Program at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena since 2011. During her studies, she worked as a tutor in both departments. She was also employed as a student assistant in Dr. Claudia Hillebrandt’s habilitation project “Das Gedicht im Ohr”. From 2014 to 2016, she was involved in the Lectureship of Poetics “Jenaer Lyrikgespräch” organized by FSU Students. After her graduation in 2017, she worked as a graduate assistant at the university’s equal opportunities office. Subsequently, she was employed as a research assistant of German Literary Studies and American Studies at the FSU Jena. She has been a PhD student at the ‘Romanticism as a Model’ research training group since October 2018.

PhD project

(Re-)Imagining Nature, Gender, and Sexuality in American Romanticism and Beyond

The movement of American Romanticism is inextricably intertwined with the genesis of a powerful myth: America’s self-stylization as Nature’s Nation. In the course of America’s westward expansion and the intellectual independence efforts towards Europe, the glorification of wide, “wild” landscapes merged with the formation of a national consciousness. Wilderness has functioned as a distinctive attribute of the American national identity and ought to be understood as a cultural construct.

Ecofeminist and Queer-Ecological theories challenge such conceptions of nature in terms of their constructed quality and functionalization. These theories are based on the key assumption that the culture-nature dichotomy is conceptually linked to the hierarchical dualisms man/woman and heterosexuality/homosexuality, thus consolidating respective power relations. In this context, the literary canon of Romantic wilderness narratives has been re-read critically with regard to its creation of this common logic of domination. At the same time, Ecofeminist and Queer-Ecological writers have continuously been using certain modes of representation that are central to this canon.

Based on these considerations, my project poses the following question: To what extent do Romantic wilderness narratives model the conception of a gendered, sexualized landscape in American environmental literature of later epochs? My previous research has led to the working hypothesis that the feminization and eroticization of nature that culminated in Romantic wilderness narratives serves as a model for literary nature representation in (proto-) Ecofeminist and Queer-Ecological works of 1) the turn of the 20th century and 2) the present. These works partly perpetuate, partly differentiate and partly subvert romantic patterns of representation.

There already exist several studies on the relations between Romantic and proto-Ecofeminist nature depiction. However, Ecocritical scholars tend to contrast male, anthropocentric authors of American Romanticism with female, more eco-centric writers of the early 20th century in a manner that is often ideologically charged. I strive to condense the findings of such readings into a theoretical model, which then functions as a reference basis for analyzing selected works of contemporary literature. Combining Literary Criticism and Model Theory into an integrated analytic approach, I attempt to react to two desiderata that are formulated in the research literature of both fields:

  1. Systematizing Ecofeminist, Queer-Ecological Literary Criticism, which often focuses on ideological rather than methodological questions
  2. Analytic Application of the Model-Theoretical Approach, whose applicability to literary phenomena has so far mainly been postulated theoretically


  • Late Romanticism: Past and Present. Bericht zur Tagung der KU Leuven English Literature Research Group, 12.-14.12.2019, Leuven, in: Gestern | Romantik | Heute 14.01.2020
  • Rezension zu Arno Hellers "Wilderness: Innere Landschaften in amerikanischer Literatur", in: Gestern | Romantik | Heute, 11.10.2022



From Otherization to Identification? Re-Modeling the Romantic Self-Nature-Relation in (Proto-) Ecofeminist and Queer-Ecological Writings. [Internationaler Workshop: Ecocritical Life Writing in the Dystopic Present, Augsburg, 05.-06.12.2019]

The Climate Crisis and the Literary Imagination: A Reading and Discussion with the Ecocriticism Research Collective. [Public Climate School 3.0, online, 24.11.20]

Ecofeminist Revisions of Romantic and Transcendental Nature Writing. [Caroline Rosenthals Vorlesung Nature Writing and Ecocriticism am Institut für Anglistik/Amerikanistik der FSU Jena, online, 07.01.21]