Contemporary Literature and Social Invisibility: Special Issue of ZAA out now


Two years after I organised a workshop on The Literature of Invisibility at the Center for Advanced Studies of LMU Munich, a selection of contributions on the state of invisibility studies and its particular relevance for contemporary literature has come out as a special issue of Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik. Many thanks to all the contributors and editors!

Follow this DOI for my introduction:

Esther Peeren’s „Afterword: Running with the Metaphor of Social Invisibility“ is available open source:


“Contemporary Literature and Social Invisibility: Introduction” (Gero Guttzeit)

“Thresholds of In/Visibility and the Scopic Power of Literature” (Françoise Král)

“The Poetics of (Un)Mournability: Emma Donoghue’s Hood (1995) as an Elegy in Invisible Ink” (Héloïse Lecomte)

“Experience(s) of Decorporation: The Invisibilisation of Care in John Lanchester’s Capital (2012)” (Alice Borrego)

“Becoming (In)Visible: Self-Assertion and Disappearance of the Self in Contemporary Surveillance Narratives” (Betiel Wasihun)

“‘Perced to the roote’: Refugee Tales and the Poetics of In/Visibility” (Sibylle Baumbach)

“Afterword: Running with the Metaphor of Social Invisibility” (Esther Peeren)

Habilitationsschrift submitted


Looking for proposals for „The Agency of Invisibility“ at ESSE 2022


Alice Borrego, Héloïse Lecomte and I are looking for proposals for a seminar on „The Agency of Invisibility in Contemporary Fiction and Theory“. The deadline for proposals of 250 words plus short CV is 31 January, 2022. Please see the description of the panel and a link to the general Call for Papers below. ESSE 2022 will take place in Mainz from 29 August to 2 September 2022.

„The Agency of Invisibility in Contemporary Fiction and Theory“

Alice Borrego (Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier 3, France,
Gero Guttzeit (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany,
Héloïse Lecomte (ENS de Lyon, France,

Invisibility is a prominent conceptual metaphor of social marginalisation, encompassing ideas of death, reification, and disregard (Le Blanc, L’invisibilité sociale, 2009). Yet, Esther Peeren argues, there is also an empowering “agency of invisibility” (2014), which becomes apparent in the contemporary figure of the living ghost. In order to contribute to the emerging field of invisibility studies from the perspective of literary studies, our seminar asks the following questions: To what extent does (the agency of) invisibility inform contemporary novels and short stories? What is the significance of literary narratives for aesthetic, social, political, and ethical concepts of invisibility? What uses can we make of concepts and metaphors of invisibility in our critical readings?