Last September I moved to Berlin, where I am taking part in the exchange program between the UW Germanics and the Humboldt Universität. It is my first time living in Berlin and it has been a great experience so far. Here I am researching and writing my dissertation, which investigates narrative practices in German-language novels of the 2000s. Berlin is really a gold mine of resources for someone working on contemporary German literature. In the past months, I had the chance to attend lectures and readings by Yoko Tawada, Sibylle Lewitscharoff, Saša Stanišić, and Robert Menasse, as well as events organized by the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung and the Akademie der Künste. During the week, you can find me in the Staatsbibliothek, in the Grimm Zentrum, or one of the university libraries. These offer a great number of resources, which are often enclosed in architecturally impressive buildings.
Since October I have also been attending the weekly colloquium of the PhD-Net “Das Wissen der Literatur,” hosted by the Department of German Literature at the Humboldt Universität. The colloquium focuses on topics that highlight the connections between literature and other forms and fields of knowledge and also gives doctoral students the chance to present and discuss their dissertation projects. It has been an enriching experience to join this group of doctoral students and scholars and I am very thankful for this opportunity.
In its historical and cultural uniqueness, Berlin has something for all tastes. For sure one would need more than 24 hours in a day to profit from everything happening in the city. From the Berlinale and Biennale, to the numerous festivals and exhibits, events are taking place all the time. Throughout the year, I could indulge in my passion for theater by seeing performances at the Berliner Ensemble, Volksbühne, Deutsches Theater and Neuköllner Oper.
Summer seems finally to be on its way (even though last week we went back to 46 F!) and Berlin has been flaunting its best side. On sunny days, it is delightful to stroll along the Spree, walk through the different neighborhoods or sit in the little Monbijou Park. I am excited about my remaining weeks in Berlin, before I head back to Seattle, where I will be teaching in the summer and working as Lead TA starting in September.
Warm greetings from Berlin and see you soon in Seattle!