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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Nicole M. Mueller

Nicole M. Mueller
Sociology of Literature, Cultural Sociology, Digital Humanities
Since October 2023

Profile on ORCID

As a literary scholar specializing in Japanese literature, I am particularly interested in the relationship between literary texts and their cultural, social and historical context, which I approach through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods in the framework of digital humanities.

The starting point for this was a double degree program at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and Keiō University Tōkyō which I successfully completed in August 2016: Analyzing three Japanese translations based on Thomas Mann’s novel Tonio Kröger for my Master’s project, I was already able to identify characteristic translation priorities and strategies for different time periods. During my PhD studies at Halle University (which included two stays as a Junior Visiting Research Fellow at Keiō University Tōkyō in 2017 and 2022), I developed an innovative method for a digitally augmented translation analysis. This allowed me to significantly broaden the scope of my analysis, i.e., to map 15 Japanese full texts of Tonio Kröger against the backdrop of Japan’s 20th century intellectual history.

After obtaining my doctoral degree in March 2023, I have been continuing my work in the field of sociology of literature and digital humanities as a Senior Research Fellow in the Research Cluster “Digital Transformation” at the German Institute for Japanese Studies in Tōkyō since October 2023. In my current project, I shifted my focus from primarily analyzing the influence of social and historical context on literature to studying how literature influences society: Examining Japanese future imaginaries of extended reality (XR) as well as corresponding literary narratives, I aim to deepen our understanding of how narratives might have shaped the digital transformation of contemporary Japanese society with special regard to the cultural specificity of narratives, imaginaries, and potentially even Japan’s digital transformation itself.