Background and activities

Since March 2020, I have been Associate Professor of English Literature in the Department of Language and Literature. My research interests are the study of the contemporary novel (in historical perspective), narrative studies, readers and reading, as well as the politics of space in contemporary British theatre.

At the moment, I am particularly interested in digital reading cultures. While we often hear that digitalization is `killing` book culture, the actual relationship between old and new media practices is far more complex. My work is concerned with their intersection, especially in social media, where readers celebrate their love of books and, instead of turning their back to older reading practices, revive and modify them.

My second larger current project inquires how the current housing crisis is represented on the contemporary British stage. To my mind, the (surprisingly large) body of housing crisis plays is an ideal test case for examining the specific role and the political claims of theatre and drama in larger media environment. As a spatial form, theatre offers special opportunities for addressing issues of spatial hierarchies and spatial distribution.

Together with Jan-Noël Thon, I coordinate the research group Narrative Across Media here at NTNU. 



I studied German and English language and literature at the University of Freiburg (Germany) and Trinity College, Dublin. I hold a PhD in English literature from the University of Giessen and received my habilitation from the University of Freiburg. Besides working as interim and visiting professor at the Universities of Giessen, Freiburg, and Innsbruck, I have also held positions as a junior research fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) and as a fellow sponsored by the Marie Curie COFUND programme at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS).

My publications include two monographs – Memory´s Fragile Power: Crises of Memory, Identity and Narrative in Contemporary British Novels and Writing the Reader: Configurations of a Cultural Practice in the English Novel – as well as six edited volumes and special issues and numerous book chapters and articles, some of them in international peer-reviewed journals such as NarrativeStyle, and Poetics Today.


External Roles

Member of the Executive Council of the International Society for the Study of Narrative 

Member of the Editorial Board of the journals Anglistik and the Nordic Journal of English Studies 

Member of the Research Network “Methodologies of Economic Criticism” (EconCrit), funded by the German Research Foundation

Scientific, academic and artistic work

Journal publications


  • Birke, Dorothee. (2020) Comfort in Contemporary Culture: The Challenges of a Concept. Transcript Verlag. 2020. ISBN 978-3-8376-4902-4.

Part of book/report

  • Birke, Dorothee; Butter, Stella. (2020) Introduction: Challenging Comfort in Contemporary Literature and Culture. Comfort in Contemporary Culture: The Challenges of a Concept.