The team behind and the DFG-funded research network “Economy and Epistemology of Gossip in 19th– and early 20th-century US-American Literature and Culture” currently consists of project leader Katrin Horn and research associate Selina Foltinek (both of whom work at the University of Bayreuth).

For more about us, see below.

Hey there, I’m Katrin Horn, American Studies teacher, pop culture enthusiast, and gossip researcher. The idea behind ArchivalGossip originally developed as my postdoc-project – back in 2015, when I didn’t really know yet, what it would mean to go hunt for traces of gossip in the archives. Since then, in late 2018 and early 2019 and thanks to generous funding from the GAAS, the German Fulbright Commission, the BAA, and the Bavarian State Chancellery, I have been able to spend several months at the Libray of Congress, New York Public Library, as well as the Pennsylvania Historical Society to find magazines, conduct literature, letters, and diaries, which would help me learn about the uses and value of gossip. (And to catch #ArchiveFever.) The results of these trips will serve as the basis for our digital collection here. 

A research grant by the German Research Council enabled me to invite Selina to the team in April 2019, who has been invaluable in sorting through, transcribing, and making sense of the wealth of material I had gathered.

When I am not tracing and theorizing gossip, I teach American Studies at the University of Bayreuth with a focus on queer and gender studies, cultural studies, and media studies. Beyond these thematic fields, my research interests include transnational American Studies, narratology, and the history of knowledge.

Before coming to Bayreuth in 2018, I received my PhD from the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg with a thesis on camp in contemporary popular culture. A revised version came out with Palgrave in 2017 as Women, Camp, and Popular: Serious Excess. In it, I explore camp as a form of serious excess which allows queer audiences to experience intense attachment and critical distance simultaneously in their encounter with post-ought’s popular culture. Despite the jump in timeframe (21st vs 19th century) and media (TV, film, and pop music vs novels, diaries, and magazines) there are intriguing continuities between the two projects: most obviously, a concern with gender and sexuality, and a cultural studies interest in ideological and socio-historical context. But also: the investigation of insider-outsider dynamics in communication and an interest in the ‘weird mixture,’ so to say, of feelings of intimacy with something that we encounter in a mediated or public setting.

You can follow me on Twitter: @ArchivalGossip, where you’ll find travel and research updates, highly subjective takes on queer media representation, and the occasional insight into my successes and failures in baking and parenting.

A full CV, including a list of publications, is coming soon.

Hi there, my name is Selina Foltinek. I completed my first state exam at the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg in 2018/19. I hold a B.A. in English and History and worked on “The Elite College as Social Microcosm in Campus Narratives of the 20th and 21st Century.” In 2015/16, I spent ten months as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. Currently, I have started my Ph.D. project that is tentatively titled “Knowledge Production and Negotiations of Agency in Semi-Autobiographical Fiction about Female Same-Sex Relationships” and my research interests include gender and queer studies, campus narratives and elite education, knowledge production, and US-American literatures from the 19th and 20th century. Lately, I have also started to dive into the digital humanities (#newbie), a fascinating yet confusing field for a literary scholar: there is so much to learn! In April 2019, I started working for this DFG project on gossip. A real game changer for me, as I fully committed to academia and devoted my…well, my life, basically, to researching on gossip and, additionally, working on my Ph.D. Exciting times ahead! As a side project, I am currently investigating how gossip traveled within the boundaries of all-female colleges and how it was circulated as a form of knowledge to manage the colleges’ reputation.