Anna Zimmer, Ph.D. Candidate
After completing her B.A. in German at Carleton College (Northfield, Minnesota), Anna joined the German Department in the fall of 2006. During the summer of 2008, she studied and conducted research at the Technische Universität Dresden. There she explored one of her main research interests: the intersection between history and stories (Geschichte und Geschichten) and wrote her Master’s Thesis, “’Wirklicher als die Wirklichkeit’: Traumatic Stories in Dieter Forte’s Der Junge mit den blutigen Schuhen.”
More recently, Anna has shifted her attention away from the air war and its literary representations, and turned to the portrayal of late twentieth and early twenty-first century violent conflicts in contemporary German-language literature. Anna is currently in the final stages of completing her dissertation titled “The Past, Politics, and Prose: Memories of War and Migration in Early 21st Century German-language Novels,” which she is scheduled to complete and defend by December 2012. Her dissertation examines the forms and functions of memory—especially of the Second World War—as presented in German-language novels that prominently figure violent conflicts and wars since 1990, including the Rwandan civil war, the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the NATO mission in Kosovo, 9/11, and the Iraq War. Anna asks whether German, Austrian, and Swiss authors problematize or propagate the evocation of historical events commonly found in political rhetoric or utilize past conflicts to push their own political agendas. Informed by the interdisciplinary fields of migration studies and memory studies, in particular comparativist Michael Rothberg’s Multidirectional Memory (2009), her research illustrates how the concept of multidirectional memory can be applied to the German-speaking context and demonstrates how multi-perspectival literary texts utilize the past not only as a lens through which more recent conflicts are understood, but also to confront current social issues, ranging from the deployment of troops to the tightening of immigration law. In addition, Anna argues that the texts under consideration remember not only violent conflicts since 1990, but also interrogate the use of global Holocaust (WWII) memory as a means to spread human rights.
In the fall of 2011, Anna was awarded a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) scholarship, thus enabling her to conduct research at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin toward the completion of her dissertation. This fall, Anna presented some of her dissertation research at the German Studies Association Conference in Milwaukee and this winter looks forward to expanding upon her dissertation work on German 9/11 novels and engaging in comparative studies with American 9/11 novels. She will present her findings at the University of Cincinnati in March 2013 at a symposium on interdisciplinary perspectives on catastrophe and catharsis. Finally, upon completion of her dissertation, Anna is interested in continuing her interdisciplinary research on narratives about recent violent conflicts and wars. She plans to focus specifically on the intersection of literature and international law, ranging from documentary novels on immigration proceedings in Austria to German feature films about international war tribunals.
In addition to maintaining an active research agenda, Anna has had the opportunity to teach beginning, intermediate and advanced undergraduate students in the Georgetown German Department’s integrated language and culture program. During the Summer of 2010, she taught an upper-level German course and co-taught a course titled Modernity and Image with Prof. Peter Pfeiffer at the Universität Trier for Georgetown’s study abroad program. She also enjoys engaging in curricular development. For example, together with Lone Petersen, she presented proposed first-year curricular revisions at the ACTFL conference in November 2007 and during the Spring Semester 2008, put the curricular materials to action in the classroom. In addition, she participated in a foreign language program evaluation project in 2007 and is currently serving on a humanities assessment committee led by Georgetown’s German Department. Anna's CV is available here.
- There are no upcoming events scheduled at this time.
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