Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences Experts

Anna Katharina Schaffner

European Culture and Languages
University of Kent


Before taking up a post in the Department of Comparative Literature at Kent in 2007, I studied General and Comparative Literature and English and American Studies in Berlin, and then completed both my MSc and my PhD at the University of Edinburgh. I have published a monograph on language dissection in avant-garde, concrete, and digital poetry, as well as a monograph entitled Modernism and Perversion: Sexual Deviance in Sexology and Literature, 1850-1930 (Palgrave, 2012). This study charts the construction of the sexual perversions in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century medical, psychiatric, and psychological discourse. It argues that the sexologists’ preoccupation with the perversions is a response to specifically modern concerns, and illuminates the role played by literary texts in the formation of sexological knowledge. I have also published articles on David Lynch, Franz Kafka, Frank Schulz, Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Thomas Mann, and nineteenth-century sexology. My current research interests are situated in the fields of the medical humanities, cultural history, the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, and mind-body theory. My third monograph, Exhaustion: A History (Columbia University Press in 2016) charts the forgotten history of exhaustion from classical antiquity to the present day, examining the role of exhaustion symptoms in syndromes including melancholia, acedia, nervousness, neurasthenia, depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and burnout.

Research Interest

Literature and Medical Humanities

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