Oscar von Seth

Postdoktor vid Centrum för genusvetenskap

Villavägen 6
752 36 UPPSALA
Box 527
751 20 Uppsala

Kort presentation

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Gender Research. My research interests are at the intersection of literature, cinema, and queer theories. I am also interested in masculinities, disability studies, human-animal studies, and the homosexual emancipation movement and sexology discourse in the German-speaking world before the Second World War.


  • comparative literature
  • disability studies
  • film
  • gender and sexuality
  • german literature
  • history of sexuality
  • human-animal studies
  • masculinities
  • queer kinship
  • queer theory


I have a background as a contemporary dancer. I also used to work in theatre as a prompter and assistant director to Lars Norén. In 2014, I was awarded second place in Umeå novellpris, Sweden's biggest competition for short stories, and in 2017, I debuted as a novelist with Snö som föll i fjol (Yesterday's News, Calidris).

In 2019, during my doctoral studies, I took part in founding "Ratatoskr Research Group for Literary Animal Studies" at Södetörn University. That same year, I was also a visiting researcher at Nordeuropa-Institut at Humboldt University in Berlin for six weeks.

I got my PhD in Comparative Literature in 2022 with the dissertation Outsiders and Others: Queer Friendships in Novels by Hermann Hesse. Before commencing my current postdoc project (in January 2024), I taught in Gender Studies and at the Police Training Program at Södertörn University, and in Comparative Literature at Umeå University.


My current postdoc project, "Queer Waiting in Literature and Film" (funded by the Swedish Research Council), poses the question if waiting, a universal human activity and an unavoidable aspect of life, can be understood as a queer cultural phenomenon. The project introduces “queer waiting,” a concept that is defined as waiting that is both awkward and unusual, and interwoven with non-normative sexuality and gender. The hypothesis is that queer characters often wait for a better future and experience waiting in ways that are directly linked with their queerness.

To provide a broad account of queer waiting, the project's corpus is comprised of openly queer texts (from the 20th and 21st centuries), such as Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (1912), Michael Cunningham's The Hours (1998), Abdallah Taïa’s queer autobiography An Arab Melancholia (2008), and Akwaeke Emezi’s The Death of Vivek Oji (2020). Theories on "queer time" formulated by José Esteban Muñoz, and Martin Heidegger’s Gelassenheit (releasement), are drawn on. All in all, the project proposes that while waiting, to everyone, can make the present seem unbearable, queers experience it, and handle it, in unique ways.

In my dissertation Outsiders and Others (2022), I examine friendships between men in novels by Hermann Hesse. Male friendship is a key theme for Hesse, one of the most widely read German-language authors of the twentieth century and recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. Hesse’s protagonists are usually depicted as outsiders who come to know themselves in an intimate bond with another man. The friend is almost always portrayed as rebellious, beautiful, enigmatic, and inspiring, and comes to play a key role in the protagonist’s personal development and journey through life. Outsiders and Others draws on queer theories and queer concepts to explore how characters in Hesse’s fiction intersect with and connote queerness—such as homoeroticism and non-conformism—and argues that the friendships at the center of Hesse’s stories are “queer friendships” that challenge heteronormative conceptions of relationality, sexuality, and desire.

Link to list of publications


Outsiders and Others: Queer Friendships in Novels by Hermann Hesse

This dissertation explores how characters who embody outsiderness and/or otherness intersect with and connote queerness—such as homoeroticism and nonconformism—in two novels by Hermann Hesse.


Oscar von Seth