The Popular Seriality Research Unit (PSRU), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), brings together researchers from the fields of American Studies, German Philology, Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology, Empirical Cultural Studies, and Media Studies. From 2010 to 2016, thirteen sub-projects investigate a narrative format that has become a defining feature of popular aesthetics: the series. The PSRU addresses questions concerning the wide distribution and broad appeal of series since the 19th century and asks which new narrative formats have emerged through serialization. Further questions are: How do series influence the way we perceive and structure social reality? How are serial characters revised when they undergo one or more media shifts? How can we explain the progressively shrinking boundaries between producers and recipients in long running series? Which transformations in the field of cultural distinctions are produced by complex serial narratives, which are increasingly embedded in highbrow lifestyles and canonization practices?
In addition to its base at Freie Universität Berlin, the PSRU has sub-projects at the Universities of Göttingen, Hannover, Siegen, Karlsruhe, Tübingen, and at Duke University, as well as associated projects at the Universities of Bonn and Bern (Switzerland). International fellows are hosted by the Lichtenberg-Kolleg in Göttingen and the John F. Kennedy Institute (FU Berlin). In the first funding period (2010-2013), the PSRU received approximately € 1.85 million, and in the second funding period (2013-2016) approximatley € 2.15 million, from the German Research Foundation (DFG).