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Jana Zündel

Movies and memeability: appropriation and exploitation of moving images through memetic paratexts

Jana Zündel’s research project zooms in on the ubiquitous practice of reproducing, reworking and sharing movie images or sounds via memetic paratexts such as images macros, thumbnails, GIFs or lipsyncs on TikTok. Memes are central to the pop-cultural relevance and resonance of movies with a media-savvy audience. Zündel examines what makes a movie ‘meme-able’, i.e. appropriable, relatable and sharable within digital media contexts. Drawing upon the research on movie and TV paratexts (see Stanitzek 2005, Böhnke 2007, Gray 2010, Grainge 2011, Geraghty 2015, Pesce/Noto 2016) and thus re-evaluating the concept of the paratext itself, the project focuses on how memes appropriate and exploit moving images for diverse cultural, social and commercial purposes.

Fig. 1:
Meme aus HARRY POTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE, Facebook-Post von NetflixDACH am 01. Januar 2022, URL:, last accessed February 3, 2022.
Fig. 2:
Fig. 3:
Variation des One-does-not-simply-walk-into-Mordor-Memes aus THE LORD OF THE RINGS – THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, URL:, last accessed February 3, 2022.
Fig. 4:
Fig. 5:
Period-Humor-Meme aus THE SHINING, URL:">/gallery/YehaE3A, last accessed February 3, 2022.


Jana Zündel is a postdoctoral fellow in the Graduate Research Training Program “Configurations of Film” at Goethe University Frankfurt. Her research focuses on moving images in digital media culture(s), television studies and seriality. She holds an MA and a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Bonn. Her dissertation examined television and serial paratexts, i.e. title sequences, recaps and outros, as indicators of media cultural change. It was published in 2022 under the title “Fernsehserien im medienkulturellen Wandel”. Jana Zündel is a spokesperson for the work group “Television” (German Society for Media Studies, GfM).