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DFG Individual Research Grant: The Upsurge of the Manifesto in Contemporary Debates on Diversity in the United States

Prize: Fellow/scholarship › Research projects/Networks


The project is designed to contribute to foundational research in transnational American Literary and Cultural Studies by working through formalizations of current controversial debates on demographic diversity and social unity in scenarios of inequality in the US and beyond, especially by interrogating the uses of the sociopolitical manifesto and its function of positioning subjects and groups in these debates. Taking the recent upsurge of the manifesto as its cue, the project interrogates how the manifesto as a generic form highlights tensions between a decreasing tolerance for demographic diversity and urgent calls for its recognition. As a specific form of public refutation, the manifesto has been researched from various angles and through different approaches. What requires close examination yet is its function as an important instrument for the discursive positioning of manifestors, not least in the polarized landscape of the post-Obama years. To thematically map debates on diversity as carried out in the manifesto and gain a better sense of the function of the genre to position discursive actors, it is necessary to combine state-of-the-art approaches from a politicized theory of generic form with innovative conceptual and methodical approaches from research areas in Diversity Studies. The project relates questions that pertain to generic form with questions concerning recent dynamics of activism and the authorizing strategies associated with it. It thus aims to contribute both to a better understanding of how subjects and groups position themselves in debates on diversity through the strategic use of a genre, and to a theory of form that takes historical specificities and structural and discursive relations of power seriously.
Degree of recognitionInternational
Granting OrganisationsGerman Research Foundation


Research priority areas of TU Dresden

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