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Julia Böckling


Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies

Raum    01 022

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Julia Böckling studied English Literatures and Literary Theory and Business Administration at the University of Freiburg and at Connecticut College in New London (USA). She wrote her MA thesis on Intertextuality and currently pursues her PhD as a member of the ERC-funded project “Lists in Literature and Culture”. Her research interests include intertextual theory, especially the way canonical works shape popular culture and literature, representations of consumerism, and online narratives.




Lists and Consumerism in Novels and Online
My research focuses on lists and consumerism in novels ranging from the 19th century to the postmodern period and online lists. Through monetization and affiliate links as well as product advertisement and the promotion of self-improvement, online lists are inherently part of consumerism. Novels often portray consumerism by using the form of the list to mention statistics, business reports, enumerations of goods and brand names, and genealogies of influential families. In my project, I will scrutinize the intersections of lists and consumerism by looking at the manifold ways in which lists order and structure but also include and exclude, grant and deny access in relation to goods and symbols. In this context, lists serve as a narrative tool to highlight the emergence of a seemingly infinite amount of goods, the ordering and organization of products, attempts at classifying and using the first marketing strategies in the 19th century up to an over-supply of goods and symbols in the 21st century. Above all, lists charge goods or consumer practices with cultural meaning. 
The aim of my research project is to trace the way consumerism and the importance of goods and status symbols have developed in a diachronic trajectory through the lens of the list, showing that lists have played a significant role in the portrayal as well as the performance of consumerism and its cultural significance since the 19th century, and that their influence on narrative has only increased with the introduction of the world wide web.