Dr. Anna Karina Sennefelder

10/2018 – 07/2022 Postdoc and Coordinator, Graduate Research Group “New Travel – New Media”

Since April 2022 Research assistant at the Institute for Media Cultural Studies at the University of Freiburg

 Orcid-ID: 0000-0001-7367-9411

Postdoc Research Project

How do we tell of travel experience today and how is the digital communication culture changing our travel narratives? At the heart of the postdoc-project is the thesis that we mainly tell our travel stories in a highly conformist way today, which means that we have to grasp narrated travel experiences as commodified and standardised products in the context of aesthetic capitalism (Böhme 2016).

Drawing on the sociological findings of an affect based singularisation in late modernity (Reckwitz 2018), Sennefelder elaborated the notion of ‘conformist narratives’, which refers to a profit-oriented narrative decision by informed producers in the digitally networked society. The decision for conformist narratives is routed in our affect-based economy (Mühlhoff, Breljak, Slaby 2019) and the literary topos of the travelling subject that wants do discovery its true self is completely absorbed by the act of self-branding and the same story is told over and over again, using the exact same images.

The thesis of conformist storytelling was tested on different media formats, such as blogs, vlogs, travelogues or graphic novels, with a focus on cinematic travel documentaries for the cinema screen. One of the most important results was that the four economically relevant desires according to Gernot Böhme – which are mobility, being heard and seen, endowment of life and fame (Böhme 2016, 12) – correlate very much with the medialisation of travel experience (Sennefelder 2020). Moreover, an  image based comparative study was able to demonstrate the immense impact of the Instagram aesthetic, which is also increasingly asserting itself in less participatory formats, such as travel documentary for cinema (Sennefelder 2022a). An important aspect of this media convergence is that the popularisation of the ‘Insta-aesthetic’ is often at the expense of the representation of female travellers because it reinforces problematic representations of the perfect female body. Finally, it was also possible to show the extent to which the documentary pact is changed by conformist narratives and that the new compulsion for absolute authenticity often provokes simplistic representations of “cultural identity” (Renz 2019) and reproduces visual stereotypes that should belong to the past (Sennefelder 2020b).


Anna Karina Sennefelder is working as research assistant at the Instutute of Media Cultural Studiesd at the University of Freiburg. Between 10/2018 and 07/2022 she was postdoc and coordinator of the Graduate Research Group “New Travel – New Media” and examined ideological and aesthetic figurations of contemporary travel representations. Between 2017 and 2018, she was the coordinator of the Research Training Group, SFB 1015 “Muße. Konzepte – Räume – Figuren”, and responsible for its department for Equal Rights and Gender and Diversity. In 2017, Sennefelder completed her doctorate with Prof. Thomas Klinkert (summa cum laude). In 2016, she took parental leave; between 2013 and 2016, she was an academic staff member at the SFB 1015. In 2012,  Sennefelder was an employee at Freiburg University’s “Frankreich-Zentrum” and worked as an academic assistant to Prof. Thomas Klinkert. Between 2009 and 2012, she curated the “Arthur-Schnitzler-Archive” and worked as a student assistant to Prof. Achim Aurnhammer. Between 2008 and 2009,  Sennefelder worked as a foreign-language assistant in Fontainebleau, Paris. She did her state board exams in German and French Studies at the University of Freiburg, from which she graduated in 2012.

Scholarschip, Awards and Third-Party Funding

  • 2022: Age-independent partial scholarship of the Thales Academy within the programme CAS (Certificate of AdvancedStudies) Digital Ethics.
  • 2019: Elise-Richter-Prize of the German Romanist Association for the dissertation Rückzugsorte des Erzählens. Muße als Modus autobiographischer Selbstreflexion. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2018 (Otium 7).
  • 2016: Prize awarded by the Association International des Études Françaises for the essay ‘Otium, mémoire du lieu et écriture de soi. Le cas Henry Brulard’ in L’otium et l’écriture. Ed. by Thomas Klinkert. Grenoble 2016 (Recherches et Travaux), pp. 51–70.
  • 2015: Funding received for the foundation and publication of the online magazine Muße. Ein Magazin.
  • 2014: Approval of travel funds for a research stay at the national library of France (BnF) in Paris.
  • 2009–2012: German National Academic Foundation; scholarship holder in the Basic Grant programme.



  • Rückzugsorte des Erzählens. Muße als Modus autobiographischer Selbstreflexion. Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen 2018 (Otium 7). [Awarded with the Elise Richter Preis 2019]. E-Book, Open Access: Rückzugsorte des Erzählens.

As Editor

  • With Barbara Korte: Travel, Writing, and the Media: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. New York: Routledge 2022 (Routledge Studies in Cultural History). E-Book: Travel, Writing and the Media.
  • Muße. Ein Magazin. mussemagazin.de (with: Bianca Blum, Martin Büdel, Kerstin Fest, Heidi Liedke, Pia Masurczak, Tobias Keiling)

Academic papers

  1. Harmful or empowering convergence? The female Traveller and Insta-Aesthetics. Selfies and Documentaries. In: Travel, Writing, and the Media: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. Edited by Barbara Korte and Anna Karina Sennefelder. New York: Routledge 2022 (Routledge Studies in Cultural History, 177–205.
  2. (Review) Astrid Grewe: Die Zeitschriftstellerin Marie d’Agoult alias Daniel Stern (1805–1876) (Studia Romanica 223). Heidelberg: Winter 2020. In: Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift 71 (2021, 4), 475–477.
  3. Revival of the cultural stereotype? The personalised travel documentaries from a multimodal perspective. ›Weit‹ (2017) and ›Reiss aus‹ (2019). In: Mobile Culture Studies. The Journal, Vol. 6 (2020), 91–110. Open Access: Revival of the Cultural Stereotype?
  4. Langsam reisen, schnell vermarkten? Ideologie und Medialität zeitgenössischer Reiserepräsentationen am Beispiel von „Weit“. In: Strategien und Konzepte im globalen Tourismus. Edited by Christina Vaih-Baur and Dominik Pietzcker. Wiesbaden: Springer Gabler.
  5. Muße im Manga? Jiro Taniguchi gelang das schier Unmögliche. In. Muße. Ein Magazin. Freiburg 2017 (1). Online unter: http://mussemagazin.de/2017/09/musse-im-manga-jiro-taniguchi-gelang-das-schier-unmoegliche/
  6. Otium, mémoire du lieu et écriture de soi. Le cas Henry Brulard. In: Otium et écriture dans la littérature du XIXe et du XXe siècles. Hg. von Thomas Klinkert. Grenoble 2016 (Recherches & Travaux 88), S. 51–70. Online unter: https://journals.openedition.org/recherchestravaux/809 [prize awarded by the AIEF]
  7. Oisiveté. In: Dictionnaire de la fatigue. Hg. Von Philippe Zawieja. Genf 2016, S. 605–616. (mit Georg Feitscher)
  8. Zum autobiographischen Geltungsanspruch und der Stabilisierung des ›Tons‹ in Victor Hugos Pauca Meæ. In: Lyrische Trauernarrative. Erzählte Verlusterfahrung in autofiktionalen Gedichtzyklen. Hg. von Achim Aurnhammer und Thorsten Fitzon. Würzburg 2016, S. 193–214.
  9. Muße im Senegal. Interview mit dem Erzähler und Schriftsteller Zoumba (mit Thomas Klinkert). In: Muße. Ein Magazin. Freiburg 2016 (2). Online unter: http://mussemagazin.de/2016/10/musse-im-senegal/
  10. Faule Frauen. Ein Videointerview mit dem Missy-Magazin (mit Pia Masurczak). In: Muße. Ein Magazin. Freiburg 2016 (1). Online unter: http://mussemagazin.de/2016/02/faule-frauen/
  11. Kann Mode müßig sein? Im Gespräch mit Lisa Sänger über Luxus, Tufting und den Charme des Dude. In: Muße. Ein Magazin. Freiburg 2016 (1). Online unter: http://mussemagazin.de/2016/03/kann-mode-muessig-sein/
  12. Ich bin raus! Erstmal. Wie die Werbung alte Aussteiger-Ideen neu kodiert. In: Muße. Ein Magazin. Freiburg 2015 (2). Online unter: http://mussemagazin.de/2015/08/ich-bin-raus-erstmal/
  13. Schreibaschram. Über einen Ort für Pausengestörte und Schreibkurbedürftige. Anna Karina Sennefelder im Gespräch mit Ingrid Scherübl. In: Muße. Ein Magazin. Freiburg 2015 (1). Online unter: http://mussemagazin.de/2015/01/schreibaschram/
  14. Fernsehverweigerer und Techno-Philosophen. Konzeptionen medialer Muße bei Rainald Goetz, Adam Wilson und Jean-Philippe Toussaint. In: Ökonomie des Glücks. Muße, Müßiggang und Faulheit in der Literatur. Hg. von Mirko Gemmel und Claudia Löschner. Berlin 2014, S. 31–56. (mit Georg Feitscher)
  15. Ich sehe nichts Besseres. Der Nachlass-Roman Rausch der Verwandlung und Arthur Schnitzlers Fräulein Else. In: Stefan Zweig – Abschied von Europa. Wien 2014, S. 159–167.
  16. (Review) Ott, Christine: Feinschmecker und Bücherfresser. Esskulturen und literarische Einverleibung als Mythen der Moderne. München: Fink 2011. In: Comparatio 5 (2013), S. 173–175.

Science transfer, PR

  1. Travelling in times of Corona. Interview in the video podcast of the University of Freiburg. Available online at:  https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm/online-magazin/forschen-und-entdecken/corona-im-kaleidoskop
  2. Interview with Radio Lotte Weimar about “medial travelogues”. Broadcast on 3.9.2020. Available online at: https://www.freie-radios.net/104231
  3. Me and the world – travel and self-marketing. Film lecture and discussion with iz3w, Anna Sennefelder, Pia Masurczak and Lisa Westhäußer. 8.2020, https://www.koki-freiburg.de/insweite/reisen-und-selbstvermarktung/
  4. Not without clichés. Research on contemporary travelogues and their narratives. Interview for Freiburg University’s Magazine Uni’Wissen 1 (2020), S. 40–43. Online unter: http://www.pr2.uni-freiburg.de/publikationen/uniwissen/uniwissen-2020-1/#0
  5. Around the world in a van. The literary scholar Anna Sennefelder examines films in which people set out on a journey. Video-Interview for the PR-departement https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm/online-magazin/forschen-und-entdecken/mit-dem-bulli-um-die-welt?set_language=de; Videoportal Uni Freiburg
  6. Interview with the laureates of the Elise Richter-Preis 2019. DRV-Mitteilungsheft Spring 2020, p. 10–12. Available online at: http://deutscher-romanistenverband.de/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/Mitteilungsheft_Fr%C3%BChjahr2020.pdf
  7. Interview about the boom of travel documentaries with Bayern 2 Radio, “Magazin am Mittag.” Broadcast on 20.12.2019, 13:05. Available online at: https://www.br.de/radio/bayern2/programmkalender/ausstrahlung-1968544.html
  8. The Commodification of Self Discovery. Interview for a radio feature by Deutschlandfunk Kultur. Broadcast on 10.12.2019, 19:30. Available online at: https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/ueber-den-boom-von-reisedokus-die-vermarktung-der.976.de.html?dram:article_id=465458
  9.  Doing your PhD within an Integrated Graduate Research Group. In: Elisabeth Cheauré and Gregor Dobler (ed.): Otium. Boundaries, Chronotopes, Practices. An overview of the Collaborative Research Centre of Freiburg. Second funding phase (2017-2020). Freiburg 2018, S. 46-47.
  10. Idyllic, ambivalent Spaces of Retreat. Interview with the magazine Uni’Wissen 1/2014, S. 36–38 (with Prof. Klinkert, Prof. Martin and Georg Feitscher). Available online at: http://www.pr2.uni-freiburg.de/publikationen/uniwissen/uniwissen-2014-1/
  11. Suspended Time and Spaces of Retreat. Otiose Leisure and authorship within autobiographical  storytelling. In: Burkhard Hasebrink and Thomas Klinkert (ed.): Otium. Concepts, Spaces, Figures. An overview of the Collaborative Research Centre of Freiburg. First funding phase (2013–2016). Freiburg 2014, S. 38–39. (with Georg Feitscher)

Teaching material

  • Stefan Zweig. Schachnovelle. Cornelsen Literathek. Berlin 2013. (with Dr. Stefan Rogal)

Papers (Selection)

  1. Germanistentag 2022, Panel  “Policy of Identities”, University of PADERBORN (25.-28.9. 2022): Diskrete Zirkel und zentrierte punchlines. Innovative Forms of Narrating Identity: Jackie Thomae’s “Brothers” and Bernadine Evaristo’s “Girl, Woman, Other” in comparison [accepted]
  2. Gutenberg-Institut für Weltliteratur und schriftorientierte Medien, MAINZ (23.-24.1.2020): Walking, self-discovery and mediality. Two exemplary analyses of contemporary Walking Tours. Tagung: European travel writing in context: strategies of negotiating identity in travel writing – a comparative approach.
  3. Wolfson College, Oxford (19.–20.10.2019) Overperforming boundaries. Felicitas Hoppe’s autofictional travelogue »Prawda« as a question mark on the possibilities of autofiction. Conference: Autofiction – Theory, Practices, Cultures. A Comparative Perspective.
  4. Sorbonne Université, PARIS (27.–28.9.2019) “The word ‘home’ sits in my mouth like foreign food”. On the personal limits of reframing in Teju Coles »Every day is for the thief«. Conference: At the Crossroads of Doubt: Anthropology and Anglophone Travel Writing (XIXth-XXIth Century)
  5. University of Freiburg, Freiburg (25.–26.11. 2016): Nach der Revolution und nach Rousseau. Zum neuen Rückzugs- und Mußeverständnis in Senancours »Rêveries sur la nature primitive de l’homme« (1797–1833).
  6. Università degli Studi, Verona (29.6.2015–1.7.2015): Chaste héroïne ou artiste séduisante? Le discours d’identité de la femme auteur et son chiffrage spatio-sémantique dans les »Lettres écrites d’une cellule« par Marie d’Agoult. Conference: George Sand et ses consœurs: la femme artiste et intellectuelle au XIXe siècle. 20e Colloque International George Sand, avec le soutien de la George Sand Association USA.
  7. Frias, Freiburg (7.2.2014): Zur Stabilisierung des ›Tons‹ in Victor Hugos »Pauca Meæ«. Lecture at the conference: Lyrische Trauernarrative. Erzählte Verlusterfahrung in autofiktionalen Gedichtzyklen.
  8. Stefan Zweig Centre, Salzburg (21.11.2013): »…froh neben ihnen wirken und vollenden zu dürfen«. Intertextuelle Bezüge zwischen Stefan Zweig und Arthur Schnitzler. Lecture at the conference: Stefan Zweig. Neue Forschung Nr. 4.
  9. Université de Strasbourg, Straßburg (21.6.2013): Temps arrêté et lieux de retraite. Oisiveté et statut d’auteur dans des textes à structure autobiographique de Senancour à Proust. Lecture at a Journée d’études doctorales commune.
  10. University of Freiburg, Freiburg (6.11.2012): Flauberts »Bouvard et Pécuchet« unter dem Aspekt der Medienkonkurrenz. Lecture at a workshop of the graduate school Humanities with the topic: Geschichte(n) intermedial. Wahrnehmung, Inszenierung, Gedächtnis.


  • Masterseminar at the Institute for Media Culture Studies: Berweeb Selfie Harm and Empowerment. Representations of the demale body in contemporary media (summer term 2022)
  • Masterseminar at the Institute for Media Culture Studies: Attention EconomyAesthetic Capitalism and Contemporary Media Design (winter term 2020/2021).
  • Advanced Seminar at the Institute for Modern German Literature: The Travelling Me. On the Development of Literary Representation of Travel Experience (summer term 2020).
  • Masterseminar at the Institute of Media Culture Studies: From the Grand Tour to the Vlog. Representations of Travel Experience within different media (winter term 2019/2020).
  • Proseminar II of French literary studies at the University of Freiburg: (S)’écrire à loisir. Zum Verhältnis von Muße und Autorschaft in Autobiographien der französischen Literatur des 19. und 20. (summer term 2014)
  • German classes at the Lycée François Premier and the Collège International de Fontainebleau; courses from fifth grade (CM2) to graduating class (Terminale) and lessons for the classes préparatoires. (2008–2009)

Organisation of conferences and events (Selection)

  • International Conference »Travel and Media – past and present« (19.–21.5.2021) together with the research unit for historical travel literature at the Landesbibliothek Eutin
  • Summer School within the Conference »Travel and Media – past and present« (19.–22.5.2021)
  • Online symposium about Science Communication with Dr. Julika Greim (DFG), Viola van Melis (Münster) and the graduate Research Group »City Scripts« (2020)
  • Master Classes with Prof.  Isabell Otto (Konstanz), Prof. Tim Youngs (Nottingham) andf Prof. Katharina Lobinger (Lugano) for the Graduate Research Group »New Travel – New Media« (2019-2021)
  • Summer academys of the RTG within the CRC Muße (2017-2018)
  • Winter academy of the CRC 1015 Muße; work-retreat and excursion to Vitra (2018)
  • Workshop »Introduction to Anti-Bias«with a special focus on gender (2018)
  • Guest lecture, Philippe Lejeune (Paris): Rater sa Vie. L’autobiographie en échec (2014).
  • Guest lecture, Prof. Franziska Meier (Göttingen): Mußestunden in der Französischen Revolution? (2014)
  • Supporting preparations of the conference »Arthur Schnitzler and the Music« (2012)d