"Hello, I Say, It's Me": (Re)Constructions of Subjectivity

 in Contemporary Literature and Culture
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Speaker Bios

 Alexander Dunst (Nottingham)

Alexander Dunst holds a Mag. Phil. in English and American literature from Vienna University and is a PhD student at the Department of Cultural Studies, The University of Nottingham, where he will be teaching a module on postmodernism from January 2008. He is the co-founder of the university’s Karl Marx Reading Group and before coming to the UK was a staff writer at “Profil,” Austria’s leading political magazine. His writing has appeared in Textual Practice, and he is a contributor to the Annotated Bibliography of English Studies (ABES), published by Routledge.


Eva Gruber (Konstanz)

Eva Gruber studied English and Biology at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Guelph, Ontario, and the University of Constance. Her PhD thesis, for which she conducted research at the University of Arizona, Tucson, will be published in 2008 under the title Humor in Contemporary Native North American Literature: Reimagining Nativeness. She has been teaching at the University of Constance since 2004 and currently works there as an assistant professor at the Department of American Studies. Her research interests include Native North American writing and conceptualizations of 'race' in 20th- and 21st-century American literature. She has published on Thomas King's short fiction, on Native literature in translation, on humor and identity politics in Native North American writing, on Native oral traditions, and on the road movie. Currently, she is working on a new project on race in the American novel after 2000.


Dennis Kersten (Nijmegen)

Dennis Kersten, M.A. (1976) reads English Language and Literature at Nijmegen and Liverpool, with a special interest in Victorian literature (his M.A. thesis was about the primacy of speech in the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins). He is currently writing a dissertation on the depiction of three nineteenth-century authors in neo-Victorian fiction at Radboud University Nijmegen. He also teaches courses that are part of the curriculum of the department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.


Sirkka Knuuttila (Helsinki)


Dr. Sirkka Knuuttila is a literary researcher, medical doctor, and advanced cognitive therapist, who is writing her dissertation in Comparative Literature for the University of Helsinki on Marguerite Duras’s India Cycle as trauma fiction. She has given lectures in the University of Joensuu, Tampere, Helsinki, and Alberta, as her main topics feminist literary theory, narratology of trauma fiction, and the semiotics of medical narratives. She has published a number of articles on Duras’s aesthetics, questions of trauma fiction, and emotion in literary semiotics. She is currently lecturing in Helsinki on Roland Barthes’s writings on visual image and subjectivity. She has also translated and published the poems of Mayröcker into Finnish, later to be extended into a collection.


Katy Massey (Newcastle)

Katy Massey is a second year Phd candidate on the Creative Writing programme at Newcastle University, England. Her academic focus is the theoretical challenges presented by mixed-race literature. She is writing a family memoir as an accompanying work to her thesis. Before returning to study she worked as a national newspaper and magazine journalist for twelve years. She has recently had a pamphlet of poetry published and has contributed to anthologies, performed her creative work at literary festivals and readings and has been awarded several commissions, most recently for a poem celebrating the bi-centenary of the end of slavery in British territories.

 Hanna Meretoja (Turku)

Hanna Meretoja, Phil. Lic., is a Research Fellow at the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Turku, Finland. She is currently completing her doctoral thesis on the problematics of subjectivity and narrativity in the French postwar novel, focusing on novels by Alain Robbe-Grillet and Michel Tournier and relating them to such central twentieth-century philosophical traditions as phenomenology, existentialism, (post)structuralism and hermeneutics, as well as to the postwar social and cultural situation. She has also pursued doctoral studies in the universities of Tübingen (Germany) and Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III). She has published several articles and book chapters in international publications (e.g. ”The Ethical Ambiguity of the Monster: Good and Evil as Human Possibilities in Michel Tournier’s Le Roi des Aulnes” in Monsters and the Monstrous: Myths and Metaphors of Enduring Evil, ed. P. L. Yoder & P. M. Kreuter. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2004; “On the Ethical Significance of Encountering the Otherness of Literary Worlds” in Chiasmatic Encounters. Textures: Philosophy/Literature/Culture Series, ed. Hugh J. Silverman, Lexington Books, 2007; “Hermeneutics of Narrative Identity in Michel Tournier’s The Erl-King” in Narrative and Identities, ed. Ansgar Nünning, Trier: WVT, 2008; ”Alain Robbe-Grillet and Phenomenology” in Phenomenology and Modernism, ed. Ariane Mildenberg & Carole Bourne-Taylor, Oxford: Peter Lang, 2008).


Markus M. Müller

Dr. Markus M. Müller studied creative writing at the University of Manitoba (1992/93), was a research visitor at the University of Ottawa's Institute for Canadian Studies (1997/98) and joined the Department of English Studies at the University of Trier in 1999. Since 2000, he has also been teaching at the Summer (or Spring) Schools on the New Literatures in English at Kiel, Berlin, and Frankfurt. He has published and lectured mostly on Canadian writing (and, on the internet, on other literatures and on pop music), edited a poetic journal (Dennis Cooley, Passwords; 1996 and 1999) and, together with David Parris and Robert C. Thomsen, a collection of essays (Passages to Canada; 2002). His post-doctoral thesis (Habilitation) is a comparative study entitled "Sixty & Beyond? Old Age and Aging in Current Canadian and American Novels." Other interests in teaching and research are modern North American literature and mythologies; gender and (trans)cultural studies; historiographies; fairy tales; freaks; poetry and/as music.

 Anja Müller-Wood (Mainz)

Anja Müller-Wood is Professor of English Literature and Anglophone Cultures at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Germany). Her fields of research, in which she has published widely, are early modern English and twentieth-century and contemporary Anglophone cultures and literatures. The author of Angela Carter: Identity Constructed/Deconstructed (1997) and The Theatre of Civilised Excess: New Interpretations of Jacobean Tragedy (2007), she has also co-edited two essay collections on teaching literature in the secondary and tertiary sector. She is currently working on a study about contemporary confessional literature.


Sascha Pöhlmann (München)

Sascha Pöhlmann, M.A., studied English literature, linguistics and philosophy at the University of Bayreuth and Trinity College Dublin. Having graduated in 2004 with a thesis on identity and self in Ulysses and Gravity's Rainbow, he moved on to work as a lecturer in Bayreuth, at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and currently at the
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. He has just finished his dissertation entitled "Pynchon's Postnational Imagination," and is organizing the 2008 International Pynchon week.


Nicole Schröder (Paderborn)


Studies of English, American, and German language and literature and history of art at Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Duke University, NC, and the University of California, Davis.

1999: 1. Staatsexamen in English and German

1999-2004: teaching assistant and lecturer in the American Studies Department, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

2002: DAAD fellow, visiting scholar, Comparative Literature Department, Stanford University

2004: PhD in American Studies with a thesis on Spatial Concepts and 20th Century American Literature

2005: 2. Staatsexamen in English and German

2005-2007: assistant professor, American Studies Department, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

2007: visiting scholar, Charles Warren Center, Harvard University

Since October 2007: assistant professor, English and American Studies Department,

Universität Paderborn.

Research and teaching interests lie in the area of 19th and 20th century American literature, space theory (space, place, landscape),space and gender, cultural studies, regionalism and film. Publications include books and articles on postcolonial concepts, culture and Native American literature, space and gender as well as on transatlantic dialogues in literature and art and Hollywood movies. A current project involves reading practices in 19th century American literature and culture.



Pieter Vermeulen (Leuven)


Pieter Vermeulen is a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of literary studies at the university of Leuven, Belgium. He has published numerous articles on critical theory (especially on the work of Geoffrey Hartman and Erich Auerbach) and on contemporary literature (especially J.M. Coetzee). Current research projects are an investigation of the relation between materiality and the aesthetic in literary studies and a critique of the melancholic constitution of recent novelistic and theoretical discourse.

Eva Zehelein

Dr. Eva-Sabine Zehelein teaches American literature and history at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main. She received her PhD in 2003 with a study on John Updike’s Rabbit novels (“’Space as Symbol’: John Updikes “country of ideas” in den Rabbit Romanen.” Die Blaue Eule, Essen, 2003). She is currently working on her second book, dealing with science and theater. She has published e.g. on Johnny Cash, Carl Djerassi, T.C. Boyle and Siri Hustvedt.