Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sylvia Mieszkowski

Professor of British Literature

Humans are semiotic creatures. Exploring literary – sometimes historically or culturally foreign, sometimes challenging – texts, genres, traditions, innovations as well as their social and ideological contexts helps us ‘read’ and understand the world. I specialise in British literature and its interaction with cultural theories, non-literary discourses, as well as cultural, political and popular debates and audio-visual media.

Office hours summer term 2024 (from 7 March to 28 June):

Mondays, 14:00-15:00
Thursdays, 14:00-15:00
Fridays, 12:00-13:00

Online meetings upon appointment.

Please make an appointment via sylvia.mieszkowski@univie.ac.at (cc ulrike.zillinger@univie.ac.at).

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4251-9180

Web of Science researcher ID: GQB-2432-2022

Research interests

  • 19th and 20th century literature in English
  • Relation of Victorian and neo-Victorian narratives, neo-Victorian biofiction
  • Short Fiction
  • Gender studies
  • Queer theory, intersectional feminism, gender in-visibilities
  • Sound studies
  • Serial narration & theories of seriality
  • Life writing
  • Refugee tales




Published as series co-editor:


  • since 2022 — Deputy Head of Department, Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna
  • since 2021 — Member of Research Platform SOLE (The Stress of Life)
  • since 2020 — Book series Editor Dutch Quarterly Review (Brill Rodopi; together with Eva Zettelmann)
  • since 2020 — Book series Editor Literatur - Theater - Medien (Lit-Verlag; together with Ralph Poole)
  • since 2020 — Deputy Head of Research Platform GAIN (Gender: Ambivalent In_Visibilities)
  • 2020-22 — Head of Department, Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna
  • 2018-20 — Deputy Head of Department, Department of English and American Studies, University of Vienna
  • 2018-20 — Spokesperson for Professorial Curia, University of Vienna
  • 2018-20 — Member of Faculty Conference of the Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies, University of Vienna
  • since 2017 — Full Professor for "British Literature" at the University of Vienna
  • 2016/17 — Guest Professor for English Literature, University of Vienna
  • 2015/16 — Guest Professor for English Literature, University of Bayreuth
  • 2014/15 — Guest Professor for English Literature of the long Nineteenth Century, University of Zurich
  • 2013 — Associate Professor at Department of English and Comparative Literature, American University of Paris
  • 2012 — Guest Professor for English Literature, Humboldt University of Berlin
  • 2012 — Associate Professor at Department of English and Comparative Literature, American University of Paris
  • 2011/12 — Docent at Amsterdam University College
  • 2011 — Habilitation at Goethe University Frankfurt
  • 2004/05 — Postdoc at Goethe University Frankfurt
  • 2004 — Postdoc at Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis
  • 2003 — Doctorate at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • 1997 — Magistra Artium at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
  • 1993/94 — Year abroad at Unversity of St. Andrews
  • 1991-97 — Studies at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

International Experience 

Before coming to Vienna, I taught in Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Zürich, Bayreuth and Salzburg.


Select Talks

up to 2018, for more see main page

"The Cosmopolitan Wife: Isabel Burton's Ghostwriting of The Life as Creative Self-Othering." International Conference "Transnational Lives and Cosmopolitan Biographies" (Centre for Life-Writing, Wolfson College, Oxford, UK): 17 March 2018.

"'What's this cheery singing all about?: Reading the Musical Episode in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer." International Conference "When the Music Takes Over. Musical Numbers in Film and Television" (University of Salzburg, 8-10 March 2018): 10 March 2018.

"Cultural Crossovers: Transmedial Adaptation and Activist Appropriation of The Handmaid's Tale." Annual Conference of the Austrian Association for American Studies (AAAS) (University of Salzburg, 3-5 Nov. 2017): 5 Nov. 2017.

"Acts of Resistance: Female Counter-Conduct in Transnational Dystopian Narratives." Invited talk (University of Salzburg): 5 May 2017.

"Making/s of the Self: Governmentality, Resistance and Subjectification in Dystopian Narratives." Invited talk (University of Zurich, Switzerland): 1 March 2017.

"Governmentality and Acts of Counter-Conduct in Kate Atkinson's 'The War on Women' (2009)." International Conference "Governance, Governmentality and the State: Postcolonial, Queer and Feminist Interventions" (University of Vienna, 17-18 Nov. 2016): 18 Nov. 2016.

"Un-gendering Voice and Re-genderinig Affect in AL Kennedy's Short Fiction." Contribution to Round Table 4 at ESSE Conference (Galway, Ireland, 22-26 Aug. 2016): 24 Aug. 2016.

"Angry Women, Crying Men - Representations of Gendered Affect in A.L. Kennedy's Short Fiction." Invited talk (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, April 2016).

"Family Likeness & Bad Blood: Truth Discourses in Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist and Sarah Waters's Fingersmith." Lecture as part of an appointment procedure (Vienna): 18 March 2016.

"Emotion as the Organising Principle in ALK's All the Rage (2014)." Invited talk (University of Warwick, Feb. 2016).


Select Publications

up to 2015, for more see main page

Resonant Alterities: Sound, Desire and Anxiety in Non-Realist Fiction, Bielefeld: [transcript], 2014. 

Teasing Narratives: Europäische Verführungsgeschichten nach ihrem Goldenen Zeitalter. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2003.

Sound-Effects: The Object Voice in English Fiction. Hg. mit Jorge Sacido Romero. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2015.

Disturbing Bodies. Hg. mit Christine Vogt-William. Berlin: Trafo, 2008.

Sonic Interventions. Hg. Mit Joy Smith und Marijke de Valck. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007.

Gendered Academia. Wissenschaft und Geschlechterdifferenz 1890-1940. Hg. mit Miriam Kauko und Alexandra Tischel. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2005. Rezensiert in: Zeitschrift für Germanistik Nr. 3 (2006)

“Transnational heterotopia and death-driven narcissism in A.L. Kennedy’s ‘Made over, made out’” in: Short Fiction in Theory and Practice 5.1/2, eds. Philip Coleman and Clare Hayes-Brady, 2016, S. 45-56.

"Kitsch als Kitt – preposterously? Mike Leighs Topsy-Turvy (1999) und Gilbert & Sullivans The Mikado (1885)”, in: Kitsch und Nation: Zur kulturellen Modellierung eines polemischen Begriffs, hg. von Kathrin Ackermann und Christopher F. Laferl; Bielefeld: [transcript], 2016, S. 271-303.

“‘That which cannot be said’: voice, desire and the uncanny in Armistead Maupin’s The Night Listener,” in: Sound Effects: The Object Voice in English Fiction. Hg. von Jorge Sacido Romero und Sylvia Mieszkowski, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2015, S. 243-267.

“QueerIng Ads? Imagepflege (in) der heteronormativen Gesellschaft,” in: Jörn Ahrens, Lutz Hieber und York Kautt (Hg.), Kampf um Images: Visuelle Kommunikation in gesellschaftlichen Konfliktlagen, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2015, S. 117-136.

“Was war und ist Homosexualitätsforschung?” in: Was ist Homosexualität?: Forschungsgeschichte, gesellschaftliche Entwicklungen und Perspektiven, hg. von Jenniver Evans/Rüdiger Lautmann/Florian Mildenberger/Jakob Pastötter. Hamburg: Männerschwarm Verlag, 2014, S. 41-7

“Feudal Furies: Interpellation and Tragic Irony in Shakespeare’s Coriolanus”, in: Zeitsprünge 18 (2014), Heft 3/4, S. 333-348.

“Unauthorised Intercourse: Early Modern Bed Tricks and their Under-Lying Ideologies”, in: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik 61.4 (2013), S. 319-340.

“Bruising Bodies, Crashing Cars: Cultural Inoculations of the ‘Death Drive’ in Ballard and Palahniuk” in: Hard Bodies. Hg. Ralph Poole et al. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2011, S. 53-78.

“The CHILD – Reproductive Futurism and Queer Critique in Pearl Harbor and Breakfast on Pluto,” in: Queer Studies in Deutschland: Interdisziplinäre Beiträge zur Kritischen Heteronormativitätsforschung, hg. Andreas Kraß. Berlin: Trafo, 2009, S. 201-223.