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Telling Stories to Survive: The Writings of Saša Stanišić
An Approach to Decolonizing Discourses in German Studies
"Emotionale Landschaften der Migration: Von unsichtbaren Grenzen, Nicht-Ankommen und dem Tod in Stanišićs Herkunft und Varatharajahs Vor der Zunahme der Zeichen", Transit Vol. 12, No. 2, 2020. [Access here]
This article analyzes the literary figuration and effect of emotional landscapes of migration as well as their intersections with geographical landscapes in the novels Herkunft (2019) by Saša Stanišić and Vor der Zunahme der Zeichen (2016) by Senthuran Varatharajah. Literary landscapes of migration are created by the interplay of different factors: invisible borders within the individual (shame), in-between the individual and family (alienation), and between the individual and society (racism) which are characterized by an in-between, a continuous non-arriving. Further factors are the apparent contrast of detailed, varnished past and the localization in the here and now of the present, and death as the essential base of lived reality. Whether temporal, psychological, or physical, the possibilities of arrival are suspended by invisible borders. Live happens in a state of non-arriving. This non-arrival is the singular event of the landscapes of migration which both Stanišić and Varatharajah explore in their novels.
"Marc-Uwe Kling’s QualityLand: ‘Funny dystopia’ as Pressing Social and Political Commentary." In: Cornils, Ingo, Lars Schmeink [eds.]. New Perspectives on Contemporary German Science Fiction. Palgrave Macmillan, 2021. (In press)
My chapter analyzes the critical function of Marc-Uwe Kling's "funny dystopia" QualityLand (2017). I argue that Kling's proposed notion of the "funny dystopia" can be located in the conflict of utopia and dystopia - especially in what Tom Moylan in Scraps of the Untainted Sky (2000) describes as “critical dystopia.” By exploring the idea of the critical dystopia, Kling makes use of both satire and anxiety which allows his novel to forcefully critique the status quo, by obscuring the diegetic world’s relation to our lived reality, only to then more fully reveal its strong proximity. This analysis, then, highlights the novel as both a timely and effective commentary on our modern capitalist consumer-driven society, showing potential trajectories of technology and the ongoing exploitation of the public that it is used for.
“Michael Endes “Momo” (1973): Zeitkonzept als pädagogisches Potential im DaF-Unterricht." In: Bernhardt, Sebastian, Johanna Tönsing [eds.]. Zeitnutzung in der aktuellen Kinder- und Jugendliteratur. Literaturwissenschaftliche und literaturdidaktische Perspektiven. Frank & Timme, 2021, pp. 203-225. (with Lisa Höller)
This chapter analyzes the potential of the German children's book Momo (1973) by Michael Ende in the DaF-classroom (Deutsch als Fremdsprache; German as Foreign Language), particularly with focus on the questions of time and usage of time. The chapter highlights this potential in the context of German language-teaching at a university in the US capitalist context where questions of time usage are especially prevalent. Therefore, this chapter not only reflects on the authors' usage of the novel in the DaF-classroom and gives further suggestion on the use of the novel. But it also highlights the twofold potential of this use. On the one hand, Momo is an adequate and enjoyable book for German language learners of approximately B1-level, providing a literary approach to learning vocabulary, grammar, reading, and communication. On the other hand, it encourages the students to reflect on their own use of time, thus creating a direct and meaningful applicability and connection to their own lives.
"Zwischen Natur, Mensch und Empfinden: Das anthropozäne Individuum in den Gedichten Yevgeniy Breygers und Verena Stauffers." In: Hayer, Björn [ed.]. Gegenwartslyrik. Entwürfe - Strömungen - Kontexte. Büchner Verlag, 2021, pp. 105-130.
How to understand yourself in a world in which culture, technology, and nature are almost inseparably linked, a hybrid merging - a world in which species extinction is a painfully commonplace? How can poetry depict and, more importantly, make perceptible this understanding? This chapter sets out to answer these questions by analyzing the poetry of Yevgeniy Breyger (flüchtige monde , Gestohlene Luft ) and Verena Stauffer (Ousia, 2020) with focus on the engagement with the individual in the era of the anthropocene. More specifically, this chapter pays specific attention to the hybrid, ambivalent, and turbulent relation between human and nature, language, non-understanding, and sensation. The chapter's thesis is that both Breyger and Stauffer create poetry that intends to be not only objects of indulgence, but - going off the perception of the anthropocene as an essential fact of our lives - fundamentally postulates reflection. The telos of this reflection is not merely understanding, but a rousing from a lethargic habit, a scrutinizing consciousness, and thus a potential reorientation of the reader in the context of the anthropocene.
“Book Review: Manlio Graziano – What is a Border?” Konturen, 2020. [Access here]
“’Three poems from 'fugitive moons'”. Translation of poems by Yevgeniy Breyger. No Man's Land, 2021. [Access here]
“‘We Can Do It’ [Wir schaffen das] – Creative Impulses Through Migration (a Report from September 2017, with an Afterword on the Situation Today)”. Translation of a lecture given by Sabine Scholl. Konturen, 2020. [Access here]
"Orientation and Disorientation in New Media: Senthuran Varatharajah’s Vor der Zunahme der Zeichen." Seminar, GSA, Virtual, 10/01-10/03/2021.
“The Power of Naming. A Decolonial Approach to German Studies.” NeMLA Conference, Virtual, 03/13/2021.
The Power of Documentation in German Literature of Migration.” Virtual Conference, Association of Borderland Studies. 06/05/2020.
“'Heimat', Borders, and Cobelonging in Stanišic's Herkunft (2019) and Varatharajah's Vor der Zunahme der Zeichen (2016).” PAMLA, San Diego, California. 11/14-11/17/2019.
Vogel, M., Klueppel, J., Vigeant, C. “Being human: Examinations of the human condition at the example of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s Der Besuch der alten Dame.” RMMLA, El Paso, Texas. 10/10-10/12/2019.
“The power of impressionism: Gender roles in Herman Bang’s Ved Vejen.” Poster Presentation at the Graduate Forum, University of Oregon. 05/17/2019.
“Beyond copyright: The Literary Concept of Authorship on YouTube.” Graduate Data/Media/Digital Symposium, University of Oregon. 04/05/2019.
Organization, Chairing & Research Assistant
Graduate Conference Committee Chair, “Ideologies of Convenience: Cynicism and Irony”; responsible for:
Call for Papers
Housing the participants
Panel Chair: “Decolonizing German Studies: Literature of Migration as Catalyst?” NeMLA, Virtual, 03/13/2021.
Panel Chair: “Dystopia and Utopia in Contemporary German Literature and Film.” PAMLA, Virtual, 11/11-11/14/2021.
Graduate Representative, Department of German and Scandinavian, University of Oregon (since September 2017):
Spearheaded the initiative to create the opportunity for graduate students to teach a content class in the summer; successfully adopted by the department in Summer 2021
Organizing Graduate Writing Retreats
Organizing Graduate Writing Group
Attending faculty meetings to communicate Graduate Student concerns and suggestions
Research Assistant to Professor Gantt Gurley, University of Oregon, 08/2019
Researching the topos of the Eternal Jew with specific focus on Goethe's fragment "Der Ewige Jude"