Foto: M.Weiss


Nicole Falkenhayner

Senior Lecturer
University of Freiburg
Freiburg Germany

Nicole Falkenhayner is a scholar of British Cultural Studies and Cultural Theory. She has worked on the cultural relevance of surveillance images (Media, Surveillance, and Affect, Routledge, 2019), on the representational history of British Muslims (Making the British Muslim, Palgrave Machmillan, 2014), on aesthetic ideology and spatiality, and the heroic in popular culture. Alumna of the University of Constance, currently holds a position as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Freiburg.

Literature, Media and Cultural Studies, Media, Journalism and Communications
I studied English and American Literature, Cultural Sociology and Linguistics at the University of Constance and at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Through my Constance education, I was early in my studies introduced to a highly theoretical, constructivist approach to the everyday, and the fascination created by understanding how malleable our realities are by words, metaphors and images has remained with me ever since. This was also the main motivation for investigating how Muslims where turned from an invisible to a “suspect community” in Britain in the span of only 20 years. After my PhD in Constance, flanked by research stays at the University of California at Riverside and the National University of Australia at Canberra, I pursued my second larger research project on affects and stories evoked by surveillance camera images at the University of Freiburg, where I am currently a senior lecturer in English Literature and Cultural Studies and co-head a research project on heroizations in British television series. I live with my daughter, my husband and our dog.
PhD, University of Constance, 2012
M.A., University of Constance, 2006
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
cultural studies, cultural theory, cultural translation, British literature, Muslim minorities in Europe, surveillance, memory studies, popular cultural studies, narratology, visual cultural studies.
Personal Interests
I like hiking in the black forest, playing video games, and writing short fiction.

On this site, you will find links and updates of projects I have coordinated or am involved in, student forums for ongoing seminars, new publications and links to interesting studies in my fields of interest.


  1. Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg i. Br.
    The Detective in British Television Series (Dr. Nicole Falkenhayner)
    Anna-Mareike Bergmann (4130421)
    13th May, 2017

    Response 1 – Question 2 (Television Analysis)

    When looking at some kind of ‘text’, in this case television or film, there are many more factors to take into consideration than just the story and plot. Textual analysis is the key. According to Glen Creeber’s text ‘Analysing Television – Issues and Methods in Textual Analysis’, textual analysis is basically “the means by which all texts […] are interpreted” (Creeber 2006: 26). By ‘texts’ not only written documents are meant but also fashion, photography, painting, plays, films, television, and so on. It is almost completely based on critical interpretation and “attempts to uncover [a text’s] potential meaning through detailed close readings” (ibid.). This “educated ‘guess work’” is therefore highly subjective which leads to a great debate about whether a text’s ‘real’ meaning lies within the text itself or whether it can be derived through the audiences interpretation. Their reading is culturally specific and, “[a]s society and the individuals within [them] change, […] the meanings of the texts change also” (Selby 1995: 30).
    Nowadays textual analysis is rather complex and includes numerous different methods. One example is semiotics, another is narratology which “attempts to unravel the means by which narratives are constructed, attempting to locate exactly what it is that turns a flow of words and images into a story” (Creeber 2006: 26). For example, it can reveal how a complex, multilayered TV drama can still be reduced to a surprisingly straightforward narrative structure. Closely related to this is genre theory which aims to understand and categorise the fundamental characteristics of textual groups. All of the above are tied up with various forms of ideological analysis. This method “focuses on the way that the text produces and perpetuates a distorted perception of the world; it prescribes and constructs reality in such a way that it maintains the structural inequalities of a capitalist society” (ibid. 32). Psychoanalytical theory can be useful in “unravelling the possible means by which desire and pleasure are unconsciously activated by audiences” (ibid.). More commonly used is content analysis. These many (and more) different forms of textual analysis available to a TV critic, make it essential that one distinguishes the form employed from the beginning and also states why this particular form is chosen. Regardless of the approach chosen, one must always be aware that all methods have benefits and deficits. The approach chosen then has a great impact on what the audience “gets out” of a text. Looking for the ‘visual text’ enables the viewer to “read between the lines”, not only in the literal sense of what is said by the characters on screen. One can make oneself aware of the methods that are actually being used by the creators of a text (visual literacy). These include various camera movements, framing, ways of editing, camera angles, and many more. They serve to influence the viewer’s perception – what one sees and what one feels about what is seen. Without these means a film or other motion picture would be very simple and rather boring. They represent cultural codes, also non-verbal ones. By addressing various senses at the same time (multimodality) a film or similar, requires the viewers concentration and attention and can therefore capture them completely and make them feel as if they had actually been part of the plot, i.e. take them to a different world.
    Personally, I find sound one of the most fascinating features used in film making. I feel like it makes me so much more emotional when watching a film and I have found myself linking films to music very much. When I hear a song that has been part of a movies soundtrack it immediately reminds me of that film. One of the best examples is probably the song “Inner Smile” which has been part of the movie “Bend it like Beckham” or goosebumps I get whenever the Harry Potter intro is played, even though it might just be on someone’s phone.

    (653 words)

    Creeber, Glen. Tele-Visions. An Introduction to Studying Television. British Film Institue, 2006. Print.
    Selby, Keith and Ron Cowdery. How to Study Television. MacMillan Press, 1995. Print.

    • Hello Mareike, you posted on the “about” site, could you please post again on the site where the questions are, the site for the seminar? That way, everyone can find it.
      Thank you

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