The research training group examines forms and functions of the sentimental in synchronic and diachronic perspectives. We conceive of the sentimental as a communicative and relational code which can draw on emotional knowledge and activate empathy. This code can be observed and studied in different fields of symbolic interaction, i.e. aesthetic-literary, politico-rhetorical, medially staged and as part of socially effective discourses and practices. With a comparative perspective, the research training group focuses both on culturally specific uses and on inter- and transcultural processes of appropriation of this code in national and transnational contexts. The sentimental unfolds its power as aesthetic mode of representation and as sociopolitical strategy of interpellation in literary and non-literary texts, as a means of cultural crisis- and contingency-management, and as a strategy of political mobilization, for example in protest movements and populist rhetoric. The research training group wants to analyze how this code unfolds its power at the nexus of supposedly private emotional worlds and their public display, and how it is used in different situations with diverging intentions. Our research question is of utmost relevance: the often-proclaimed crisis of political communication and its new sentimentality (not only) in Western democracies as well as the long history of the use of sentimental registers in generating empathy and solidarity in the face of individual and collective suffering attest to this. The aim of our work is to systematically relate the discourses on the sentimental in literary and cultural studies as well as sociology and political science, which have so far been disciplinarily confined and in some cases merely exist in a scattered way or a rudimentary form. Our research program offers an innovative and ambitious professional training for doctoral and postdoctoral scholars, which combines an interdisciplinary research-oriented agenda with practice-oriented skills. In addition to the established formats of project presentations, guest lectures as well as interdisciplinary workshops on methodology, the program incorporates an internship (funded by FAU), which the PhD-students complete in order to gain insights into professional fields outside academia. The research training group builds on our well-established interdisciplinary cooperation and is embedded in a research context which programmatically connects culture-specific and intercultural expertise to fundamental theoretical reflection.