Gratzke, Michael


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Personal profile


I studied at the University of Hamburg for my undergraduate degree and doctorate, and have worked at Cambridge, St Andrews, Hull and now Dundee. My background is in German literature, but I have subsequently changed designation to Comparative Literature which reflects better my approach which is informed by themes, tropes and transformations rather than nationalist imaginations of individual, single-language traditions.

Apart from teaching and researching in these fields, I have been working in various academic leadership roles at School, Faculty and University level such as Head of School, Associate Dean for Research, Director of Educational Transformation and Director of the Doctoral College.

At Dundee my focus is on leading the Doctoral Academy.


I do not currently teach on UG or PGT programmes, as my job as the Academic Director of the Doctoral Academy keeps me busy.


I work across genres of "high" and "popular" culture. My work combines methodologies from the arts & humanities and social sciences. In terms of themes, my research explores representations of gendered subjectivity in literature, on film and on the Internet. I am particularly interested in the aesthetic representation of extreme experiences and altered states of mind such as in war, love and masochism. I am currently working on a comparative study of 'romantic' love and intimacy (erotically charged intimate love between non-related adults) in 21st century literature. My comparative work addresses German-, English- and Finnish-language prose. I facilitate community-based participatory research into love and 'healthy relationships'.

My own creative practice sits in the realm of DIY culture. I describe myself as a zine maker rather than a creative writer.

Research interests

Love Research, Relationships Research, History of Emotions, DIY Cultures, Popular Culture, Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, Modern Literature, Critical Theory, Queer Theory, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, Gender History, Comparative Cultural Studies, Participatory Research

If you are interested in PhD supervision or research collaboration, please contact me via email. I welcome PhD project proposals in German and comparative literature or cultural studies on any period from the 1750s onwards. Ideas for contemporary studies are also very welcome. Your research interests should broadly match mine so that you can get the most out of my supervision.

I especially welcome applicants with an interest in researching experiences of love which involve issues of physical disability, mental health, non-neurotypical people, non-conformist expressions of gender or sexualilty, age (young & old), or migration.

The following (non-funded) project is advertised through the 100 PhDs initiative:

‘Creative Responses to Sex and Relationship Education. Facilitating young people's expression of complex emotions through creative writing.’

The UK and Scottish governments have recently established new guidelines for Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). It is striking that in the consultation phases only a tiny fraction of the respondents disclosed that they were pupils. The guidelines go to great lengths to establish why SRE is needed, how it links with Health and Wellbeing, and how to balance the civic rights of a diverse population with religious sensibilities. The views of pupils before and after they have reached the age of consent do not appear to have been of great concern in these processes.

This research projects aims at a local level (potentially Dundee, Angus or Fife) to engage with young people in secondary schools and community groups in order to explore their views on matters of SRE specifically and friendship, love and sexuality more generally. Particular attention will be paid to marginalised groups and individuals such as LGBTQ+ youth and youth who are neuro-diverse.

The Postgraduate Researcher will establish under the guidance of Professor Michael Gratzke a participatory action-research project in collaboration with local schools and community groups. They will facilitate creative writing groups and – if the participants agree – public readings, zine making, exhibitions or podcasts. The Postgraduate Researcher will further develop an evaluation tool, a toolkit for schools and community groups and pathways to impact on best practice in schools.


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