Graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies, Rahul Koonathara, celebrates the spectacular South Indian shadow puppet traditions of Tolu Bommalatta and Tholpavakoothu, as well as recent innovations reflecting the changing nature of the form, in a show he has curated called Tradition and Revolution in Indian Shadow Puppetry.
Rahul Koonathara is completing his MA in Comparative Literature which is focused on tradition and transformation in shadow puppetry. He is himself an accomplished shadow puppeteer, a tradition in his family. This past summer he toured extensively through the US with his father, Padmashri Ramachandra Pulavar, also a master and keeper of this form. They performed across the country.
The exhibition’s opening took place on August 4th. It featured a tour of the Ballard Institute, a gathering to celebrate the opening, followed by a 45-minute-long performance of Tholpava Koothu: The Shadow Puppet Play of Kerala by Padmashri Ramachandra Pulavar and Rahul Koonathara. This ancient, ritual-based performance was based on selected verses from the epic Kamba Ramayana. On August 5th Rahul and Ramachandra Pulavar hosted an Indian Shadow Puppetry Workshop. The day-long event featured shadow puppet design, carving, and manipulation.
For over thirteen generations Indian puppeteers have performed myths, customs, and rituals based on two Hindu epics, The Ramayana and The Mahābhārata. In recent years new variations in design, construction, and content have re-shaped traditional performances, which in many cases have shifted from temple performances to secular locales and included new subjects such as the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus, and the animal characters of the Panchatantra, as well as contemporary social and political themes.
Tradition and Revolution in Indian Shadow Puppetry will remain on exhibit at the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry through December 17, 2023
Congratulations to Katerina Gonzalez Seligmann on her 2023-24 academic year Humanities Institute fellowship!
Katerina, an Associate Professor of Spanish Studies, will bring a project entitled “Aimé Césaire and His Cuban Comrades in Art.” Katerina writes that the project “examines the relationships of solidarity and translation between Martinican poet, dramatist, essayist, and politician Aimé Césaire and a set of Black and white translators and artists in Cuba who shaped Césaire’s Spanish-language legacy. Césaire’s collaborative legacy notably includes the contemporary Spanish-language adoption of his 1935 neologism, “negritude,” so that this radical intervention in French to name blackness in defiance of anti-Black racism has become part of Spanish-language Black consciousness discourse. This book examines the practices of solidarity and translation that gave rise to Césaire’s impact on the circulation of the Spanish-language race-proud discourse of “negritud” and contributes to understanding how practices of solidarity and translation create social and aesthetic meaning and impact beyond the framework of fidelity.”
In general Katerina works with Caribbean literature and intellectual history more broadly, with a special focus on the routes of circulation and translation of anticolonial, Black consciousness, and anti-racist poetics and discourse in addition to the dynamics of gender and sexuality in these routes of circulation and translation. She initiated the project she’ll bring to UCHI with her 2012 Comparative Literature MA thesis, “Cabrera’s Césaire: Notes on an Afro-Caribbean Crossing,” which went on to become my 2019 article for MLN, “Cabrera’s Césaire: The Making of a Trans-Caribbean Zone.” As she studied archives for my first book, Writing the Caribbean in Magazine Time (Rutgers UP, 2021), she found most of the primary source materials that I work with for this project. Katerina has also recently published another essay from this project, available open access at Continents manuscrits, “Colombes et Menfenil in Text and Image: Taking Flight from Conquest in Aimé Césaire and Wifredo Lam’s Collaborative Aesthetics.”
Valérie Saugera, Associate Professor of French and Director of the Language Program in French, has been awarded a National Endowment of for the Humanities (NEH) grant for her project, “Chronicling Louchébem, the Resilient Secret Language of the Butchers of Paris.” This Fellowship, one of the most prestigious in the humanities, will allow Professor Saugera time to complete her current book project on Louchébem, a secret, endangered language (argot) spoken by Paris butchers since the nineteenth century.
Saugera has expertise in lexical borrowing and has published widely on Anglicisms in the French language. She is the author of Remade In France: Anglicisms in the Lexicon and Morphology of French published with Oxford University Press in 2017. In this new project, she marries linguistic and ethnographic research to explore a trade argot that many considered dead. Saugera’s research shows that it is still alive and used by a significant number of traditional butchers in Paris.
Although Louchébem is often classified as extinct, Saugera’s recent fieldwork reveals that the secret language of Parisian butchers survives, although in decline. An argot borrowed from thieves’ slang that emerged in the nineteenth-century, in a slaughterhouse located in Villette. Louchébem is still spoken in butcher shops. The pressures on the butchers’ profession since the late 1980s lend urgency to the task of documenting Louchébem, especially given that scholarly research has overlooked this singular argot. Based on ethno-linguistic fieldwork, including data collected from 227 Parisian butchers, Sugéra’s book project chronicles Louchébem by tracing it to its origin, recording its history, and evaluating its current status. This project investigates an endangered cultural and linguistic phenomenon while shedding light on wider issues of modernity, including the role of tradition, the relationship between language and consumption, and the value of linguistic diversity in a world where languages are rapidly dying off.
We are providing a link to an overview of a talk about Louchébem that Professor Saugéra delivered in 2018 in the context of an annual LCL colloquia series. It provides a helpful overview of what the NEH committee obviously recognized as a fascinating, urgent, and highly innovative project.
Starting in the spring 2020 semester, the University of Connecticut began offering a minor that allows students to explore literary translation while learning how to interact with people from other cultures or those who speak different languages, according to the minor’s website.
The literary translation minor is interdisciplinary, incorporating many majors outside of its own department.
Translation classes, currently capped at 90 students, will allow for a hands-on environment in which students can work closely with professors and classmates.
The prerequisite for the minor is knowledge of a non-English language well enough to read literature and translate it. Most students in the program can be divided into three categories: fluent in their first language, intermediate to fluent in their heritage language and American students studying a foreign language.
The literary translation minor requires a minimum of 15 credits at the 2000-level or above, with two required translation courses (TRST 3010 and 3011), two literary or cultural courses from areas like Japanese or German, and one creative writing or related genre course from English (ENGL 3701, 3703, 2407, 4407W). Students may count up to six credit hours in independent study in the place of courses in literary and cultural or creative writing.
Peter Constantine, the director of the literary translation minor, said the program is popular because of its low pressure and enjoyable environment, where students have the opportunity to take classes they wouldn’t normally take.
“I was surprised at how many students come from outside literatures, cultures and languages, and I think that’s because we’re fun. It’s enjoyable, not high intensity; it’s like a writing course without some of the pressure,” Constantine said. “There seems to be a lot of students who were passionate about things like mathematics but are also passionate about literature or culture, and this is one way of really exploring that in a way that’s useful academically.”
“There seems to be a lot of students who were passionate about things like mathematics but are also passionate about literature or culture, and this is one way of really exploring that in a way that’s useful academically.”
Peter Constantine, the director of the literary translation minor
The purpose of the required courses is to have students engage with literature and have the opportunity to gain experience in fields like publishing, translating or editing. Constantine described the minor as a whole as a “gateway to world culture and literature.”
Constantine added that having international cultural understanding is a unique skill and opens doors for many areas, but specifically international relations, business, diplomacy and education.
David Lassy, a junior UConn student double majoring in Chinese and history as well as pursuing a literary translation minor, said he’s been taught relevant skills he can utilize post-grad. He plans to teach English as a foreign language as a career and continue his current contemporary Chinese poetry translation work, and this minor helped him to improve both his Chinese and English understanding and translating abilities, whether it be reading comprehension or writing.
“The minor not only gave me a better understanding of Mandarin idioms and cultures, but also developed my English writing abilities as I worked to create accurate and colorful translations,” said Lassy. “Literary translation gave me an avenue to improve my reading comprehension in Mandarin. I’ve found it to be one of the most helpful skills to combine with language learning because the study of one compliments the other.”
“Literary translation gave me an avenue to improve my reading comprehension in Mandarin. I’ve found it to be one of the most helpful skills to combine with language learning because the study of one compliments the other.”
David Lassy, a junior UConn student double majoring in Chinese and history as well as pursuing a literary translation minor
Professor Brian Sneeden, who will be leaving UConn for the University of Manchester, UK in the spring of 2022, also said the global connectivity of the modern world requires knowledge of other cultures and the ability to interact with those who are different from us.
“As our world becomes increasingly connected, it’s more important than ever for students to gain skills for navigating multilingual texts and settings,” said Sneeden. “UConn’s Literary Translation Minor is designed to offer students comprehensive instruction in the major theoretical approaches to translation — while putting those theories to practice creating our own literary translations.”
Sneeden emphasized the importance of having a skill for translating.
“Often our students find that the skills for translating works of literature carry over to other types of translation,” Sneeden said. “If you can translate a nuanced text like a poem, for instance, you’ll also likely be able to translate a speech from a politician, or a report for the United Nations.”
Students interested in pursuing a minor in literary translation should contact program director Peter Constantine.
Many have heard about the sad news that our dear colleague, Laurietz Seda Ramirez, passed away on December 7, 2021.
Her trajectory as a researcher was, and will continue to be, a source of pride for our Spanish section and the department of Literatures, Cultures & Languages. Those of you who have read her books, such as Teatro contra el olvido (U Científica del Sur 2012), La nueva dramaturgia puertorriqueña (Ateneo Puertorriqueño 2003, 2007), Travesías trifrontes: Teatro de vanguardia en el Perú, Trans/Acting: Latin American and Latino Performing Arts (Bucknell UP 2009) and Teatro de frontera 11/12 (U de San Marcos 2008) understand this statement perfectly. She was internationally renowned, as one of the most prominent figures in the field of Spanish American theater.
Her work as editor, critic, and scholar of dramaturgical theater leaves a significant mark. She always interpreted textual theater together with dramatic practice, ritual, and human presence. Pre-pandemic, this perspective forged an itinerary of remarkable travels and residencies. She had an adventurous spirit and this led her to seek fearlessly out theatrical life in unexpected places: in abandoned factories, in urban ruins, in squares and streets, in destitute neighborhoods, in mountain ranges and tropical jungles. Her journeys informed her academic writing; she was able to understand the intimate relationship between globalization and theater, particularly in late capitalism and liquid modernity. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she studied synchronously performed virtual theater and managed to teach her last graduate seminar while facing a grueling illness. Despite this, her conversations with colleagues and students stemmed from a need to understand how these forces were reshaping the lines of an art form she knew intimately.
Above all, she taught us in the classroom and through her publications. We celebrate the traces she has left in the history of our section and in our department. The study of Spanish American theater was of great importance in our curriculum. Her graduate students found themselves acting and directing as a way of investigating theater as a bodily practice, a social event, a live act. The importance of her contribution to Latin American theater and its presence in the United States can be gauged by the LATT (Latin American Theatre Today) conference in 2005, in which Storrs turned into the epicenter of Latin American theater for a few days. The hemisphere’s main voices in criticism and dramaturgy, as well as renowned actors and theatrical collectives, collected for the gathering. It was one of the most successful Latin American theater conferences and festivals held in the northeastern United States. Laurietz seized on the occasion of this intellectual and artistic meeting to create the prestigious George Woodyard Latin American Theater Award in an effort to celebrate the achievements of Latin American playwrights.
In addition to her academic work, she was a great mentor, colleague and friend. We will remember her humanity: her professionalism, her camaraderie, her ability to work in a group, and to listen and understand students and colleagues. Laurietz was kind and creative, elegant. She was a reserved and loyal friend, with an endearing and cordial manner. She made her home in several countries and continents from her beloved island, Puerto Rico to Peru, from Connecticut to Granada (Spain).
We have lost not only a member of our Spanish section, but someone who has marked our lives in countless ways over the last twenty-four years. One way to honor her memory is not only to continue reading the works she bequeathed to us, but also to keep her in mind as an example of the best that our profession has to offer.
Last summer, LCL’s Professors Anke Finger, Professor and Manuela Wagner along with Graduate Student Isabell Sluka won a grant in an initiative sponsored by CLAS in order to develop anti-racist courses, to enable insights into racism on college campuses, and to facilitate direct interaction with anti-racist activists.
The focus of the grant, called Decolonizing Area Studies: Towards Intercultural Citizenship and Social Justice was to de-center whiteness in language education and help uncover the oppression that minoritized students often suffer and that dominant groups perpetuate. This project involves different complementary activities and was designed to solicit participation by active language teachers, including graduate students through a series of lectures, a symposium, and a graduate student working group. The participant-driven project aimed to develop a plan for implementing theories, approaches, practices, and assessments that would help decolonize language curricula by taking a hands-on approach. The organizers hoped that students and faculty could work towards actually implementing new curricula and developing learning materials and teaching methods that truly reflect the diversity and cultural variety of modern-day societies.
March 16, 2021, 4:00 pm-5:30 pm.
Double Lecture with Q&A
Nicole Coleman, Assistant Professor of German, Wayne State University
“‘We are all more alike than not’: Moving Beyond Universalism for Anti-Racist Pedagogies in the Literature Classroom”
José Aldemar Álvarez Valencia, Professor, School of Language Sciences Universidad del Valle, Cali (Colombia)
“‘Doing Research with University Indigenous Students: From ‘rationalizing the decolonial to feeling the decolonial’”
This symposium brings together important scholars in the area of Cuban studies to analyze the Cuban period between 1902 and 1959. The presentations will investigate translations and the exercise of translation in relation to the formation of various humanistic or scientific disciplines on the island, such as anthropology, medicine, political science, literature, and psychoanalysis. The symposium will allow, on the one hand, to expand critical studies on translation in Cuba, and on the other, to implement the concept of translation as a vehicle to investigate the racial, gender, or post-colonial constructions put into practice in the Republican period.
Organized by Jacqueline Loss, Professor, Literatures, Cultures & Languages and Reynaldo Lastre, PhD Student and Jorgensen Fellowship Recipient
March 2-March 5, 2021
Department of Literatures, Cultures & Languages
El Instituto Seed Grant
John N. Plank Lecture Series
When the pandemic struck, few of Ana Maria Diaz-Marcos’ 50 students in her Span 3232: Literature of Crisis in Modern Spain course imagined that the spread of a worldwide virus would lead to a meeting with a living Spanish playwright over Zoom. Yet when the crisis hit, Professor Diaz-Marcos, an expert in contemporary Spanish theater, saw an opportunity for learning on many levels. She contacted Gracia Morales, author of the play NN12 that deals with historical memory and the drama of the “desaparecidos” (missing people) to invite her to create a special event for her class. Gracia Morales also happens to be a professor at the University of Granada (Spain). On April 15th both professors joined online to lead a virtual discussion on the importance of historical memory during and in the aftermath of any crisis. Graduate students and faculty along with other students in LCL, many majoring and minoring in Spanish, joined Diaz-Marcos’s class for the virtual meeting. Students were given the opportunity to ask Prof. Morales questions about her dedication to theater, her academic life, and her thoughts on the current crisis. The event turned the challenge of the pandemic into an occasion of transnational teaching, learning, collaboration, and hope. Gracia Morales concluded on a positive note when she commented that “art is deeply human (…) This pandemic is going to change society as we know it. Hopefully it will bring about a more lucid society.”
UConn is lucky to host Sinéad Murray as this year’s Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant in Irish (Gaelic). Sinéad is a passionate advocate for the Irish language and for Irish Studies both at home, in Ireland, and among those here abroad who are interested in the history, language and culture of Ireland.
There is a political and cultural battle to keep traditional Irish culture alive within Ireland but the omnipresence of English makes the effort of integrating Irish more difficult. Sinéad explained that an Ghaeilge (Irish) is an official language of Ireland along with English and that all students learn it and over 70,000 use it in their daily lives, but these live mostly in rural areas. She also points to the traditional class politics surrounding the Irish language, which has complicated the status of an Ghaeilge even more, since it has historically been associated with the rural poor. This being said, at the primary-school level, many children in Ireland today are educated in Gaelscoileanna (Irish-language Schools) schools. This was also Sinéad’s experience; her family was committed to transmitting her Irish cultural heritage to her, and her dad especially considers Irish culture indissociable from the spoken language. The development of Gaelscoileanna has helped spread a working knowledge of the language beyond rural counties into urban areas like Dublin, where it has become more fashionable among the highly-educated middle class. Despite these efforts, there has been a slight decrease in the number of people who use Irish in their daily lives over the last few decades, but this trend has been variable since with every generation of parents, teachers, and students new cultural investments become apparent which have turned the tide in other Celtic-language communities in Europe, for instance in Wales or Brittany. Sinéad who is a primary school teacher, plans to return to teaching Irish language to elementary school children in Dublin and it was this commitment to Irish education that prompted her to pursue her MA and venture to the US to fine-tune her experience by teaching Irish at the college level thanks to the Fulbright Program. She just completed masters in ‘Scríobh agus Cumarsáid na Gaeilge’ at University College Dublin in December.
The Irish program is helmed by two very distinguished Irish specialists, Professors Brendan Kane from the departments of History and Litetatures, Cultures, and Languages and Mary Burke of the Department of English. The prominence and reach of the Irish language within the Irish Studies Program at UConn is something that sets it apart, since it is one of the rare places in the US where students can study Old, Early Modern and Modern Irish language and culture. In fact, thanks to the initiatives of Brendan Kane, UConn is now leading an international, multi-institutional effort to recover and codify the Irish language as it evolved in the mediaeval to early modern period. Irish has the distinction of being one of Europe’s oldest, extant written vernaculars and there is an abundant written record of Old (and Middle) Irish documents dating from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries. This distinction earned the attention of nineteenth and early twentieth philologists who longed to trace the origins of Indo-European languages and cultures in Europe. For this reason, Old Irish has been available to scholars in a way that the texts from the period that follow it, the thirteenth to seventeenth centuries, have not been. After the tenth century many European vernaculars began to crystalize and in the geopolitical story that Europeans began to tell themselves, the new languages—English, Italian, French, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, and German—began to take center stage, although this period continued to be a remarkably rich one in terms of Irish cultural production. Scholarly attention moved on, leaving Irish without the supports that help reproduce any language: dictionaries, guides and grammars. Professor Kane has mobilized an international effort partnering with many key institutions in the US including the Universities of Notre Dame and Harvard University as well as many of the major universities in Ireland including Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork, to create a web-based platform, Léamh.org, to develop an online dictionary, grammar and reading guide using texts from the period. Undergraduates, graduate students and Irish specialists have spent thousands of hours scanning and categorizing period manuscripts with software designed to help specialists sort through the data. Thanks to these efforts to introduce people to the language, this year the first Early Modern Irish grammar game will be beta-launched through Greenhouse Studios. This project has had the corollary benefit of creating many links for our graduate and undergraduate programs: a new exchange program with the National University of Ireland, in Galway, coming online that has a strong emphasis on Irish language learning, and Emmet de Barra, an Irish national who did his undergraduate degree at Trinity College, Dublin, is here pursuing an MA degree and working on the Léamh.org platform. Besides teaching introductory Irish here at UConn for a couple of years to help shore up the program, Professor Kane will be co-teaching a course on Irish language and its historical contexts at Harvard University next fall.
Professor Burke, how specializes in Modern and contemporary Irish literature and drama, Irish identities and Irish material history and culture, anchors the literary side of the Irish Studies program. English majors may pursue a concentration in Irish Literature by taking four courses focusing on Irish Literature, Language or History. Every semester, courses in Contemporary and Modern Irish Literature are offered, alongside more specialized courses that touch on subjects like the theater, poetry, and the history of Ireland across three campuses and two departments. The Fulbright Program at UConn has been instrumental in ensuring that Irish language courses are also available every semester (Mary Burke actually sits on the Fulbright National Screening Committee).
The graduate program is prestigious and fairly large for such a specialized program. It is typically home to as many as seven students at a time preparing dissertations in Irish literature or history from the medieval era to the eighteenth-century to the contemporary period. Recent alumni of the program include a current Director of Irish Studies at Villanova, and Heads of the English Departments at Miami University, William Paterson University, and University of New Haven in Connecticut. Most recently Matthew Shelton, a Ph.D. candidate in Irish poetry, was awarded the Krause Research Fellowship for his translations of contemporary Irish-language poet Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh at the American Conference for Irish Studies. The Irish Studies Alliance, a graduate organization sponsors a Working Paper Series and works with faculty to coordinate conference participation at regional and national Irish conferences. An average of three to six public talks or readings related to Irish literature occur every semester at UConn, usually through the English and History Departments. The Gerson Reading, organized by Professor Burke, is a premier event in Irish Studies at UConn. The Gerson Reading has hosted most of the best-known Irish writers of recent years including Colm Toibin, Edna O’Brien, Colum McCann, Paul Muldoon. This year’s reader will be Emilie Pine on March 31 at Alumni House. Emilie Pine is the author of bestseller Notes to Self which is considered the most important Irish memoir in decades.
A variety of extra-curricular societies contribute to keeping the Irish community at UConn vibrant. There is An Cumann Gaelach (Irish Language Society) that serves both undergrads and graduate students; the UConn Irish Club, just for undergraduates; UConn Gaelic Football; UConn Irish Dance and Husky Hurling also for undergraduates. Meanwhile, Sinéad Murray and Dr. Kane run a UNIV course on Irish Culture and there are plans in the works to establish Irish Studies as a minor.
Dr. Stefan Bronner, Assistant Professor in Residence of German Studies, obtained his PhD in Germanistik at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg and has published on a wide range of topics including German literature and culture, postmodernism, continental philosophy, spirituality, and the contemporary world.
Bronner’s work is deeply rooted to his passion for literary scholarship. Bronner has become increasingly invested in the concept of “passion” itself and recently he has been collaborating with an international group of like-minded thinkers to actualize new intersections between literature and different ideas about passion. Together, they are at the forefront of a conceptual movement that he calls “Passionate Humanities.” Passionate Humanities is about getting away from stale modes of scholarship and teaching in the traditional academic system. Bronner is interested in “Literaturvermittlung” or the “mediation of literature for the real world.” The group is interrogating subjects like how the widespread availability of media such as Netflix affects the role of literature and reading more generally in everyday life and whether, given this changing context, literature can stay relevant for new generations. At their first gathering in Munich, Bronner and his colleagues brainstormed creative ways of bringing literature to life. The conference focused on strategies for reinventing the humanities and increasing passion for study in today’s corporatized world. Presenters explored ideas for re-thinking the traditional dissertation and for finding ways to engage the importance of irrationality, and the value of Eros and body to teaching and the classroom. The collective is currently drafting a manifesto, planning a US gathering for 2020, and archiving their discussions in an audiovisual blog that can be accessed at https://untiefen.blog.
Bronner’s ideas about passion stem, in part, from his own experiences as a student and teacher. In his teaching and his research, Bronner is interested how personal relationships, impulse, and affect can motivate students to study and to learn. Bronner affectionally refers to Dr. Klaus Post, a “fairytale uncle,” whose lectures were more like epic orations than passive presentations of knowledge. He studied continental philosophy with another professor he admired intensely who has been equally important in shaping his interests. There was also the German professor whom he loathed: Bronner remembers working equally hard for that professor because he would not let that person ruin German studies for him. Bronner would like to create what he calls an “Academy of Passions” which would involve projects like creating a belletristic and liberal humanities curriculum for inmates or survivors of trauma. Another initiative would be the development of a “spiritual university,” a reading program focused on global works of scripture or theology that give readers a break from the contemporary world.
Bronner is not sure he will be a “professor for life.” Working as a professor in residence at UCONN, however, has given him a great opportunity to advance his research and connect with both grads and undergrads. Whatever he ends up doing, he knows literature and culture will be constants in his life. In his hometown, Augsburg, he founded Literaturhaus, or “Literature House,” a creative, virtual space for the enjoyment of literature and the arts. Literaturhaus is mainly a virtual space, but Bronner’s family residence in Augsburg-Oberhausen, a working-class neighborhood, sometimes becomes an actual space for hosting literary events, exhibitions, and readings. Bronner decorated his residence with plastic letters and he photoshopped famous German authors attending the opening of Literaturhaus —with their permission, of course—blending the virtual and the actual in unexpected combinations. In another example, they hosted a book launch for Eckhart Nickel and recreated a “scent bar.” Visitors could smell the peculiar odors that Nickel’s characters had smelled in his novel. Bronner and his colleagues also furnish the Literaturhaus to model specific literary settings.
Augsburg is known for its reserve and even a tendency toward grumpiness, but the city nonetheless remains indispensable to Bronner. He divides his life between Storrs and Augsburg, and being a German studies professor has made it possible for him to travel back and forth frequently. The in-between very much shapes who Bronner is, always in transit between Storrs and Augsburg, between professional and passionate intellectual, between literature and the real world.
His dissertation was on the popular Swiss novelist Christian Kracht and was published as a full-length monograph in 2012. The book analyzes what he calls the “spiritual turn” in German culture, and he reads Kracht alongside an eclectic range of popular works from the films of David Lynch’s to Confucius’s Book of Changes or I Ching. Recently, he co-edited a collection of essays on Kracht, all of which examine the topographical breadth of Kracht’s literary settings and the theme of living the “in-between” space. He also co-edited a collection of essays that explore the symbolic dimension of terrorism in 2012.