The tfm | Department for Theater, Film and Media Studies is one of the premier research institutions of its kind in the German-speaking world. Research at the tfm is initially carried out within the framework of the basic development of research-led teaching in five academic disciplines (professorships with associated academic staff). In terms of content, the integrated theater, film and media studies approach is pursued as well as the systematic development of research fields within the three subject areas. In addition to the five academic disciplines, basic research in cultural studies and applied research are carried out in overarching research areas. Here, too, there are integrative focal points (such as gender and queer studies or intersectionality research) as well as focal points related to specific subject areas (such as the anthropology of theater). The promotion of young researchers, a particularly important interest of the tfm, is reflected in the large number of third-party funded projects in the area of career advancement programs. Finally, the tfm maintains numerous publication organs for the dissemination of internationally acclaimed research results, including the multilingual journal Maske und Kothurn, numerous book series in international publishing houses and other publication projects such as the peer-reviewed journal SYN.


The central research fields of the department are:

  • History and culture of audiovisual media
  • Intermediality studies
  • Theater and media cultures of the modern era
  • Theater and cultural studies
  • Theory of film

Furthermore, the following are integral research areas:

  • Fundamental research in cultural studies
  • Analysis of theater, film and digital media through arts and culture theory
  • Research on popular culture in the past and present / cultural studies
  • Theater anthropology
  • Performance and dance theater research
  • Analysis of dramaturgies in art and everyday life
  • Staging analysis
  • Gender research
  • Opera and musical  theater research
  • Impact and reception research
  • eLearning and eResearch
  • Documentation: Creation of scientific databases for source indexing and archiving