A.B., M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University
Assistant Professor of German
Focuses on gender, identity, and subjectivity in Germany; teaches at all levels of German curriculum; research on horror films from the 1920s.
On leave Fall of 2013.
My area of specialization is German literature, cultural production, and film of the late 19th and the 20th century, and my interests are focused on questions of gender, identity, and subjectivity. In my current project, I focus on “uncanny” films from the Weimar Republic, looking at the way that these films, through their narratives and representations, engage with anxieties coalescing around changing concepts of gender and national identity. In the years after World War I, German society was marked by radical change: Traditional structures of government and social stratification were fast disappearing, while the norms and ideals that had previously defined gender and personal identity were openly challenged. These far-reaching changes found their expression in cinematic narratives that focused on the challenges posed by new notions of personal agency, social mobility, and erotic liberation. At the same time, these films take part in the project of developing the medium itself, self-consciously reflecting on the cinematic process.
I teach all levels of German language, as well as courses on literature and culture of the 19th and 20th centuries and on film. In language classes, I hope to help my students gain not only proficiency in German, but also a sense of German culture and society and an awareness of the connection between languages and culture. I teach literature and culture classes both in German, aimed at German majors, and in English, intended to offer students without familiarity with the German language a forum in which they can gain an understanding of German culture and the ways in which it has affected and is connected to the world community.
Because my current work focuses on sometimes lesser-known Weimar films, and because of my interest in the way popular culture reflects crucial cultural anxieties, I spend a lot of time doing research in Germany. I have worked at the Berlin Kinemathek, gathering material on films that are unavailable outside of the archives. I find that my students are often particularly interested in the most current developments in German culture; my time spent in Berlin allows me not only to advance my research projects, but also to stay connected to the culture in which I grew up and to observe cultural changes that I can integrate into my teaching.
I love to travel. There is a fascination in German culture with that peculiarly American notion of the “road trip;” when traveling in the United States, I share that fascination and find that the process of getting there is often the best part of a trip. In my rare free time, I like to paint, watch old movies, occasionally read a non-academic book, and cook.