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MemberMarlo Burks

I work on philosophies of representation and aesthetics in literature, especially in Viennese Modernism and post-war German and Austrian literature. I am currently making revisions to my monograph, Troubling Art: The Aesthetic Encounter in Hofmannsthal and European Modernism and writing an article on poetological strategies in Uwe Johnson’s politically-charged Mutmassungen über Jakob for the Johnson-Jahrbuch. My next book project, Und die Welt hebt an zu singen: A History of Musical Mimesis in German Literature will survey representative examples of literature that try to describe music in poetic language — much like ekphrastic literature describes visual works of art. Tracing such examples from the Romantic Era to postwar Literature (e.g. ETA Hoffmann to  Thomas Bernhard) will result in a new narrative of German literary and cultural history.  

MemberErvin Malakaj

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.

MemberMoritz Wedell

I am a historian of premodern german literature and culture. My current focus is on medieval concepts of aesthetics of production. Methodologically, my work draws largely on historical semantics and recent historical narratology. More generally, I am interested in the history of literary forms and forms of production, in the light of contemporary intellectual history on the one hand, and in relation to rhetorical, religious and social practices on the other. My research areas include: · Current Book Project: The Poetics of Genesis-Reception and the Problem of Literary Creativity in the Middle Ages
· Anthropological Perspectives: Space, Image, Gift
· Telling and Counting (Zählen und sagen): The Interference of Numerical and Narrative Knowledge in the Middle Ages

MemberPeter Schweppe

I received my PhD from McGill University in June 2017 after completing my dissertation, Out of Line: Print and Materiality in the West German Protest Movement. At present I am a Visiting Assistant Professor of German at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where I will be teaching courses in German language as well as an upper-level interdisciplinary seminar titled: “Protest: West Germany, 1968.” My research interests include theories of media, materiality, performativity, protest and visual culture. I am an avid radio/podcast listener and enjoy the great outdoors where and when I can.

MemberMichael Saman

My research focuses on German literary and intellectual history of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and on intersections of German and Africana intellectual culture.
My current work in progress includes a book manuscript on classical German thought in W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk; studies of the reception of Kant in Goethe’s late literary and scientific work; a study of intertextuality and systemic closure in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit; a comparative methodological study of the thought of Goethe and of Lévi-Strauss; and a contextualization of the work of Kraftwerk within postwar German politics and aesthetics.
I have been a fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Fulbright Foundation, and have taught at Princeton University, UCLA, Brown University, the College of William & Mary, and the College of the Holy Cross.

MemberKarin Anneliese Wurst

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).  

MemberJoela Jacobs

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.