Cultural Zoology

Our interests in Cultural Zoology revolve around the biological and cultural history of the bedbug, and the history of chitin.

The cultural and natural history of the bedbug is covered in the book Literarische Wanzen. Antje is currently exploring the connotation of bedbugs in the German-speaking fiction literature in the twentieth century.

How long does it take for scientific facts to perfuse into fiction (e.g., 20 years in the case of traumatic insemination)? How much does fiction literature feed back into popular science reporting? And how much of this still correct after this transformation. For example, recent statements about bedbug biology can be traced to fiction (e.g., ‘200 times sex per day’ as reported by the Focus is entirely based on Bernard Werber’s novel). This happens when natural scientists are completely underrepresented in the German media…

Other aspects of our historical, medical and cultural research on the bedbug are largely covered under Insects and Man on this website.

Finally, here is the not so atypical career of an East German entomologist and early evolutionary ecologist, Günter Köhler from Jena.