18th and 19th century German literature, gender studies, performance studies, intersections of music/sound and literature
inclusive pedagogy, Disability Studies, 19th and 20th century German literature, American literature
19th, 20th, and 21st century German Literature, Environmental and Ecocriticism, Women and Gender studies, Digital Humanities, language pedagogy, teaching writing
Spanish literature (1700-contemporary), Queer Studies and Theory, Gender Studies (in particular, Masculinity Studies), Post-modernism, Reception Theory, German philosophical influences on 19th-century Spanish cultural discourse, and the intersections of law, medicine, science, culture, art, and literature in 18th- and 19th-century Spanish discourse.
19 and 20th century German literature, theater, poetry, music (art song); second language acquisition, critical pedagogy, intercultural communication, curriculum development, teaching of foreign languages, literatures, cultures
My main interests are 19th Century « fin-de-siècle » French literature and its relations to the Arts and other literature (German, English, Italian, etc). I am also interested in the Obscene and the Grotesque, Myths, Mythologies, and the evolution of Fairy Tales like the Gebrüder Grimm (Brothers Grimm) to Disney’s productions.
I am Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of British Columbia. Prior to my appointment at UBC, I served as Assistant Professor of German and Coordinator of the German Program at Sam Houston State University. I received my Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures and Film & Media Studies at Washington University in St. Louis (2015) and hold a B.A. (2007) and M.A. (2009) in German Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
I specialize in late-18th to 21st-century German media and cultural history. In particular, my research focuses on 19th-century literary cultures, film history (Imperial Germany, Weimar Germany, cinema of the 60s and 70s), narrative theory, queer theory, and critical pedagogy.
Currently, I am writing a book examining the influence of fluctuating literary markets on authorial agency and narrative form provisionally titled Fragile Literary Cultures in Early Imperial Germany. Part and parcel of this research is my work on a volume titled The Becoming and Afterlife of Literature: Agents in the German Literary Field (co-edited with Vance Byrd).
My scholarship in film studies includes a book project examining the primacy of melodramatic form in the articulation of queer experiences in popular culture and the intellectual sphere of Weimar Germany. In addition, I am completing an article, which examines the queer potential of slapstick in Ernst Lubitsch’s early comedies. This article is part of my work on an edited volume titled An Interdisciplinary Companion to Slapstick Cultures (co-edited with Alena Lyons and under advanced contract with de Gruyter).
In 2016, I co-founded the international scholarly collective “Diversity, Decolonialization, and the German Curriculum” (DDGC). Following DDGC’s inaugural conference March 2017 at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, DDGC has been institutionalized into a biannual conference (the next conference will take place Spring 2019 at St. Olaf College). I also serve as the co-editor of DDGC’s official blog.
WORK and EDUCATION I joined the University of Arizona as Assistant Professor of German Studies in 2015, and I am affiliated with the Institute of the Environment, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and the Arizona Center of Judaic Studies. I earned my Ph.D. in Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago, where I subsequently held a postdoctoral position as Humanities Teaching Scholar. Prior to coming to the US from Germany, I studied at the Universities of Bonn, St. Andrews, and the Freie Universität Berlin to receive my M.A. in German and English Philology. RESEARCH My research focuses on 19th-21st century German literature and film, Animal Studies, Environmental Humanities, Jewish Studies, the History of Sexuality, and the History of Science. I have published articles on monstrosity, multilingualism, literary censorship, biopolitics, animal epistemology, zoopoetics, critical plant studies, cultural environmentalism, and contemporary German Jewish identity. In my time at UChicago, I brought together an interdisciplinary community of scholars interested in Animal Studies, which turned into an on-going funded workshop and produced its first conference in 2014. BOOK PROJECT Currently, I am working on a monograph that examines a preoccupation with non-human forms of life in the micro-genre of the literary grotesque (die Groteske) around 1900 that begins with Oskar Panizza’s neo-romantic work in the 1890s, becomes a central element of modernism with authors such as Hanns Heinz Ewers and Salomo Friedlaender, and culminates in Franz Kafka’s unique oeuvre. This genre creates a field of artistic experimentation that allows for the transgression of categories such as species, race, and gender by introducing a non-human perspective on sexual and linguistic normativity. The vegetal, animal, and liminal human figures at the center of these grotesque texts challenge biopolitical measures of control through, for instance, their non-conformity with standard human language. This linguistic limitation is reinforced by the genre’s response to mechanisms of literary censorship, which resulted in new modes of expressing political dissent during modernity’s language crisis. One of these central strategies is the texts’ provocative use of grotesque humor vis-à-vis normative conceptions of what it means to be human, which also marks the genre’s distinct historical scope, as it perceptively critiques the rise of ‘the New Human’ from 19th century physiognomy to the wake of the Nazi rule. TEACHING I enjoy being in the classroom, both to teach the intricacies of German literature and language and to explore interdisciplinary connections surrounding fundamental questions about life and living beings with students. I have taught a wide range of courses on all levels of the German college curriculum and in adult education on topics such as German environmentalism, transatlantic perspectives on national trauma, (a)typical emotions in poetry, fairy tales, Kafka’s oeuvre, expressionist film, and German Jewish literature. As a certified Teaching Consultant, I am always happy to talk pedagogy and classroom technology.
I am currently serving as the Acting Chair of German Literature at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, while on leave from my position as Akademische Oberrätin (untenured) at LMU Munich. Between 2016 and 2018 I served as Acting Chair of German Philology at the German Department of Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, focussing on the teacher training program (Literaturdidaktik) and collaborating intensely with colleagues from Linguistics to design an introductory lecture for students preparing to become German teachers. My research interests span the cosmos of European literatures from the early modern era to the 19th century (and occasional adventures into the realm of contemporary authors). I am a currently a member of the research network »Lutheran Orthodoxy Revisited« (https://luthorth.hypotheses.org/), working on a subbproject on the poetic popularization of erudite Lutheran discourses. In 2015 I finished my habilitation thesis (i.e. my second major monograph) »Erzählgeheimnisse: Funktionen unzugänglichen und vorenthaltenen Wissens in der Erzählliteratur des mittleren 19. Jahrhunderts« (»Narrated Secrets – Narrative Secrets: Functions of withheld and inaccessible knowledge in mid-19th-Century Prose Fiction«), which I am currently preparing for its print publication. Another project I have been juggling in my mind for quite some time and recently returned to is a major paper on the connections between the fictional, factual and autobiographical writings of Per Olov Enquist, which follows the genealogy of his autobiography through his entire oeuvre and along a long tradition of critical self-examination that dates back to the Moravian Church, Bunyan’s »A Pilgrim’s Progress« and beyond. Apart from such interactions between literature and spirituality, books for children and young adults have been an interest of mine for many years. In 2016 and 2017 I served in the jury for Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, the most renowned German awards in the area of children’s and young adult literature, organised by the German branch of IBBY. I have co-organised conferences on hybrid literary genres and »geographic non-fiction« in 2014 and remain fascinated by the recently booming genre of geographic wimmelbooks (Städte-Wimmelbücher, Bymyldrebøker, …) and its implications for the presentation of encylopedic knowledge. Between 2009 and 2017 I was a member of the board of LMU’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and have been affiliated both with the Collaborative Research Center 573 (»Pluralisation and Authority in the Early Modern Period«) and the international research project Eurolab (Dynamik der Volkssprachigkeit im Europa der Renaissance/Dynamique des langues vernaculaires dans l’Europe de la renaissance). Besides, I regularly serve on the selection committee for the German National Merit Foundation and the Elite Network of Bavaria (Max Weber Programme). My teaching covers the area of German literature from the Reformation era to the 21th century. I have been the first academic teacher ever to earn the Bavarian Certificate of Academic Teaching (»Zertifikat Hochschullehre Bayern«) at my home university.
Karin A. Wurst, is Professor of German Literature and Culture. She received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Her books have focused on representations of the family, women’s drama, cultural consumption in 18th Century-Germany, and J.M.R. Lenz : Das Schlaraffenland verwilderter Ideen. Narrative Strategien in den Prosaerzählungen von J. M. R. Lenz (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2014); Fabricating Pleasure: Fashion, Entertainment, and Consumption in Germany (1780-1830), German Literary Theory and Cultural Studies (Wayne State University Press, 2005). Karin A. Wurst and Alan Leidner, Unpopular Virtues: J. M. R. Lenz and the Critics. A Reception History (Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1999). Edited and introduced Eleonore Thon’s “Adelheit von Rastenberg.” Texts and Translation Series. (New York: MLA, 1996). Edited and introduced J.M.R. Lenz als Alternative? Positionsanalysen zum 200. Todestag (Köln, Wien, Weimar: Böhlau, 1992). Frau und Drama im achtzehnten Jahrhundert (Köln, Wien: Böhlau, 1991). “Familiale Liebe ist die wahre Gewalt.” Zur Repräsentation der Familie in Lessings dramatischem Werk” (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988). Her articles focus on 17th and 18th century Germany and issues of gender, cultural and aesthetic representation. The have appeared in German Quarterly, Daphnis, German Studies Review, Lessing Yearbook, Text + Kritik, Seminar, Women in German Yearbook, Goethe Yearbook, Lenz Jahrbuch. Her teaching interests include literary and cultural theories, feminist theory, women’s literature and material culture. From 2006 to 2014 she served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at MSU; she served as Special Advisor to the Provost on Intercultural Learning and Student Engagement (2014-2016).