Dr. phil. Deborah de Muijnck

Personal Information

Deborah de Muijnck is a research and teaching fellow at the Department of English Literature with a focus on Cognitive Narratology and British Literature. She has worked as an online editor in Cologne, Berlin, Dortmund, Munich and Aachen, and travelled around the globe as an analogue photographer until she settled in academia in 2019.

In September 2022, she completed her dissertation, "Cultural Models of Narrative Identity: The Case of Military Autobiographical Writing," in which she outlines how British soldiers reconstruct their narrative identities after wartime experiences through non-fictional autobiographical narrative using cultural models of narrative identities, as well as narrative methods of trauma incorporation, and narrative neutralization techniques.

Her other research interests include contemporary literature and literary history, narrative medicine, narrative criminology, and postcolonial/indigenous literature.


de Muijnck, Deborah. “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me: Narrative Dynamics Between Maya Angelou’s Poetry and selected Drawings of Jean-Michel Basquiat” (Language and Literature, in progress).

de Muijnck, Deborah. “Challenging Chrononormative Cultural Life-Scripts: Queer Temporality in Bernardine Evaristo’s Novel Girl, Woman, Other (2020)” (Studies in the Novel Special Issue – “Strange Temporalities: Gender, Time, and the Novel”, edited by Angela Du, and Tara McDonald, in progress).

de Muijnck, Deborah, Jan Alber, Jessica Jumpertz. Introduction (Working Title)’. Pandemic Storytelling, Brill, forthcoming.

---, editors. Pandemic Storytelling. Brill, forthcoming.

de Muijnck, Deborah, et. al. ‘Introduction: 4E Cognition, Phenomenology, and the Body-Mind-Nexus (Working Title)’. Poetics of Disturbances - Narratives of Non-Normative Minds and Bodies, Brill, forthcoming.

---. Poetics of Disturbances - Narratives of Non-Normative Minds and Bodies. Brill, forthcoming.

de Muijnck, Deborah. ‘Narrative, Memory and PTSD. A Case Study of Autobiographical Narration After Trauma’. European Journal of Life Writing, vol. 11, Apr. 2022, pp. AN75–95. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.21827/ejlw.11.38659.

de Muijnck, Deborah, Francesca Wessing, Nalin Camur, and Linda Wetzel. ‘Plot’. Introduction to Cognitive Narratology, edited by Jan Alber and Peter Wenzel, vol. 24, WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2021, pp. 119–42.

de Muijnck, Deborah. ‘Lena Linne. 2019. Unlived Lives in English Literature: A Typological Study. Anglistische Forschungen 467. Heidelberg: Winter, 287 Pp., € 48.00/£ 43.00.’ Anglia, vol. 138, no. 4, Nov. 2020, pp. 730–33. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2020-0062.

Schneider, Ralf, and Deborah De Muijnck. ‘Methods of Reception Theory and Cognitive Approaches - From Reception Aesthetics to Cognitive Poetics’. Methods of Textual Analysis in Literary Studies - Approaches, Basics, Model Interpretations, edited by Vera Nünning and Ansgar Nünning, vol. 23, WVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag trier, 2020, pp. 251–72.

de Muijnck, Deborah De. When Breath Becomes Air: Constructing Stable Narrative Identity during Terminal Illness. 2019, p. 236723 Bytes. DOI.org (Datacite), https://doi.org/10.26180/5DF19808D7EC3.


WS 2022/23
An Exploration of Fear: Gothic and Horror Literature of the 18th-20th Century (Universität Witten-Herdecke, Studium Fundamentale)

SS 2022
Contemporary Black British Writing

WS 2021/22
“If you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain”: Contemporary Maori Literature

WS 2020/21
Shakespeare's Tragedies

Practical Introduction to Literary Studies

The Gothic Novel: Cognitive Approaches to Horror in Literature

WS 2019/20
Dickens and the Victorian Era

Since WS 2019/20 annually
Applications of Periods of English and American Literature

Since SS 2019 annually
Practical Introduction to Literary Studies

Research Interests

  • Cognitive Narratology
  • Econarratology
  • Narrative Medicine
  • Literary History
  • Narrative Criminology
  • Empirical approaches towards literature and culture

Dissertation Project

"Cultural Models of Narrative Identity: The Case of Military Autobiographical Writing"
Supervisors: apl. Prof. Dr. phil. Sven-Knut Strasen (RWTH Aachen), Prof. Dr. phil. Ralf Schneider (RWTH Aachen)


"How to finish your dissertation under extreme time constraints". Invited guest speaker to the conference Troubling Time(s): Questioning Prevailing Notions of Time in the Study of Literature and Culture, Justus-Liebig Universität, Gießen (Germany). 28.10.2022

"A Story of War and All That Follows - Time and Temporality in Post-Trauma Narratives". Narrative2022 Conference, University of Chichester, Chichester (United Kingdom). 29.06.2022

"Narratives of Displacement - Altruistic Sense-Making through Autobiographical Storytelling in (Former) Refugees". Konferenz der International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (IGEL), University of Liverpool, Liverpool (United Kingdoms). 23.06.2021

"Cultural Models, Narrative Identity and Literary Genre - Narrative Life Through Culturally Conventionalized Plots". Narrative2021 Konferenz, Ohio State University, Online-Konferenz. 27.05.2021

“Cultural Models and Narrative Identity: The Case of Military, Autobiographical Writing“. Invited Guest Speaker at the Aston Literary Linguistics Research Seminar Series, Aston University, Birmingham (United Kingdom, held online). 03.03.2021

"Autobiographical Storytelling: Constructing Relatively Stable Narrative Selfhood During Terminal Illness". Narrative 2020 Conference, Mississippi State University, New Orleans. 06.03.2020

"Mission Narratives: Creating Purpose-Driven Narrative Identity through Autobiographical Storytelling after War-Experience". Narratives of Displacement Conference, St. Anne's College, University of Oxford. Organizer: London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, 26. October 2019

"Potentially Stable Narrative Self - Creating a Model for Literary Analyses", Summerschool in Narrative Studies (SINS), Aarhus Universitet, Dänemark, 28. July - 2nd of August 2018

"Narrative Identity (Re-)Construction and Trauma Communication", Anglistics Colloquium, RWTH Aachen

Projects and Scientific Positions of Administration

since 09/2020
Foundation and management of the event series "Pandemic Storytelling - Finding New Narratives" together with Jessica Jumpertz, M.A.

03/2020 - 04/2021
Management and co-ordination of the online young researchers' conference Narratives of Body and Mind

Co-Coordination of the workshop "The Study of Literature, Reading and Cognition: Interdisciplinary Approaches, Concepts, and Terms"

05/2019 - 01/2020
Co-Coordination of the lecture series "Empirical Approaches to Literature - Chances and Challenges"

Academic Education

04/2019 - 09/2022
Ph.D. student at the Chair of English literature

10/2013 – 04/2016
Master's degree in English Studies, Linguistics and Communication Science
RWTH Aachen University

Chinese Language and Culture, Summer School
Shanghai University, China

08/2011 – 02/2012
International Cultural Studies
Aalborg University, Denmark

10/2008 – 09/2012
Bachelor's degree in Applied Literature and Cultural Studies, Applied Linguistics, Psychology
TU Dortmund

Professional career

Since 10/2022
Guest lecturer in the Studium Fundamentale, University of Witten/Herdecke

Since 04/2019
Research Assistant at the Chair of English Literature with a focus on Cognitive Narratology at the RWTH Aachen University

2015 – 2018
Self-employed analog and travel photographer, social media presence: Mint & Copper, photographic projects in Europe, Australasia/Polynesia, and North America.

01/2017 – 03/2019
Content Manager, comprigo GmbH Bauer Media Group, Cologne

11/2013 – 12/2016
Research assistant, FH Aachen, Department of Design, Chair of Marketing and PR, Aachen

05 – 09/2013
Project Assistant Head of Communications, Deutschlandstiftung Integration, Berlin


RWTH promotion for doctoral candidates

RWTH promotion for doctoral candidates

NRW-China Excellence Initiative

08/2011 - 02/2012
ERASMUS scholarship abroad


Member of the Deutschen Gesellschaft für kognitive Linguistik (DKGL)

Member of the International Association of Literary Semantics

Member of the International Society for the Study of Narrative