Katharina Donn

researching the literature of the present


pic_to use_blogA teacher, lecturer and author in 20th century and contemporary literature, I am interested in the ways in which textual cultures develop innovative modes of reading, writing and thinking. In A Poetics of Trauma after 9/11. Representing Vulnerability in a Digitized Present (Routledge, 2016), I explore  the entanglement of intimate vulnerability and virtual spectacle that is typical of the globalized present. I teach at the Universität Augsburg in Germany and the University of Texas at Austin in the US, and have held research fellowships at the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL and the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library.

The question how writers respond to moments of historical crisis drives my research not only in memory studies. It is also at the heart of my current project, “Risking Thought. Modernist Practices of Transgressive Prose Writing.” I propose that liminal, often marginalized writing practices such as the prose fragment or aphorism offer key insights into the interconnectedness of language, representation and politics. They develop dimensions of resistance to dominant vocabularies that are that are textual and embodied in one.

I am interested in developing opportunities for public outreach. My experience in secondary education  is a key asset in this, and besides full-time appointments at secondary schools, I have worked with the educational charity Brilliant Club. I also publish journalistic articles alongside more traditionally  academic texts, for instance as associate editor with the literary magazine Litro. I serve as European editor with the Blog ‘U.S. Studies Online’, curating topics of international interest for the British Association of American Studies’ PhD and early careers’ forum.

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