Silke Gräfnitz

UConn Graduate Assistant


Ph.D. (ABD) Department of Literatures, Cultures & Languages, German Section, University of Connecticut, 2018

Dissertation: Female, Foreign, Flee(t)ing: Female Voices from War and Conflict Zones

Graduate Certificate, Human Rights Institute, University of Connecticut, 2018

M.A./B.A.   German Literature, Comparative Literature and Japanese Studies, Faculty of Philosophy – Department of New Philology & Department of Asian-Orient Studies, University of Tübingen, 2013


Areas of Expertise

  • Women and Gender Studies
    • Area of specialty: Women’s Leadership Education; Women’s Testimony and Agency
    • Related Courses: Transcultural Feminist Self-Writing in German Literature (course instructor, spring 2015 & summer 2016)
  • Human Rights
    • Area of specialty: Human Rights in Action; Women in War; Feminist (Critical) War Studies; Women, Peace & Security
    • Related Courses:
      • Theory and Practice for Human Rights in Action (course instructor, academic year 2015/16, 2016/17)
      • German Literature & Human Rights (course instructor, summer 2015)
  • Student Engagement and Leadership
    • Area of specialty: Community Outreach; Service Learning; Living & Learning Communities; First Year Experience
    • Related Courses:
      • Navigating the First Year Experience through Leadership & Engagement (course instructor, academic year 2015/16, 2016/17)
      • Student Leadership and Community Outreach (course instructor, academic year 2015/16, 2016/17)
  • Comparative Studies and Intercultural Competence
    • Diversity in Practice; Multicultural Education; Intercultural Competence in Foreign Language Education; The Ideology behind Supreme Leaders: A Comparative Approach to Hitler and Hirohito (interdisciplinary research)
    • Related Courses:
      • German I through German IV (course instructor, Fall 2013 -present)
      • German-African Connections (substitute instructor, Spring 2015 and 2017)
      • German(y)—Africa(n): Dialogic Constructions of Self and Other in German Literature (guest speaker, graduate course, Fall 2016 and 2017)
  • Digital Humanities
    • Area of specialty: Film as Text; Digital Media and UIX Design
    • Related courses: The German Film (TA, Spring 2015)



Silke Gräfnitz is a Ph.D. student (ABD) and Graduate Assistant with the departments of Literatures, Cultures & Languages and the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut. She is currently completing her dissertation Female, Foreign, Flee(t)ing: Female Voices from War and Conflict Zones. Focusing on how women writers of marginalized cultural groups use testimonial narratives to bear witness and draw attention to issues related to gender and ethnicity in times of war and violent conflict.

As Graduate Assistant in liaison with UConn’s Human Rights Institute, Community Outreach Office and First Year Programs, she kicked off, instructed, and coordinated the Human Rights and Action Learning Community, a brand new residential learning community for students interested in human rights and community outreach. For the past two years she has been teaching courses on Student Leadership and Community Outreach and Theory and Practice for Human Rights in Action. Silke also works as an instructor for German language classes across all levels and writing intense courses on German literature and human rights. Silke has further published on Teaching Intercultural Competence and works with several organizations on student engagement, intercultural competence and multicultural education.



PublicationsAwards & Scholarships (most recent selection)

  • “Houses Around the World.” Teaching Intercultural Competence Across the Age Range. From Theory to Practice, Manuela Wagner, Dorie Conlon Perugini, Michael Byram (Eds.), Multilingual Matters, Oct 31, 2017
  • MLA Connected Academics Proseminar Fellow, Modern Language Association, New York City, Academic Year 2017/18
  • 2017 LCL Excellence in Research Award, University of Connecticut, Department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages, Spring 2017
  • Summer Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Connecticut, Department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages


  • Student Engagement & Promotions Committee, University of Connecticut, Department of Student Affairs, Academic Year 2016/17
  • Planning Committee, Assistant and Facilitator for the “Exhibition on Implicit Bias”, University of Connecticut and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati), Academic Year 2016/17
  • Planning Committee and Facilitator for the Exploring Race, Leadership through the Art  Exhibit “Race and Revolution”, University of Connecticut at Storrs and Stamford, Fall 2016
  • 2016 Institute for Curricular Innovation Conference Committee, University of Connecticut, Institute for Student Success & Office of First Year Programs & Learning Communities
  • Vice President, LANGSA – Languages Graduate Student Association, University of Connecticut, August 2017 – present
  • Public Relations/Events Coordinator, LANGSA – Languages Graduate Student Association, University of Connecticut, August 2014 – July 2015


Memberships & Affiliations

Acting Vice President Languages Graduate Student Association (LANGSA)
Coalition of Women in German (WiG); NASPA- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, Modern Language Association (MLA); Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA); National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME); Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA); Goethe Institute; Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals; UConn Sailing Team

Contact Information
Mailing AddressDepartment of Literatures, Cultures & Languages Oak Hall East SSHB Room 207 365 Fairfield Way U-1057 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT 06269
Office LocationOak Hall 255
Office HoursWednesdays 9:30-11:00 (by appointment)