News from our Graduate Students: PhD Candidate Kristina Pilz

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Kristina Pilz, 2018

I am excited to continue working on my dissertation Writing Across the Margins: Contemporary Afro-German Literature that describes innovative writing practices in contemporary Afro-German literature. My project focuses on rhetorical, intertextual and aesthetic strategies as creative devices for a diasporic literary history. My analysis includes fictional/non-fictional texts comprised of Afro-German poetry and autobiographies. The greater evolution of Afro-German writing, with roots in poetry (1980s) and the development towards autobiographical narratives (late 1990s/ early 2000s), informs the structure of my project. My analysis illustrates how Afro-German literature emerges and develops across genres and time. I argue that Afro-German writing practices transcend the role of ‘writing from the margins’.

After drafting my third dissertation chapter on Afro-German celebrity autobiography, I am now working on my final chapter with a focus on memoirs of Afro-Germans who lived through Germany’s social and political upheavals in the twentieth century. In October 2017, it was my pleasure to present some of my research at the 41th Annual GSA Conference in Atlanta, GA. This coming spring, I will continue to focus on my dissertation and take a break from language teaching. The past two quarters, I enjoyed working with our students and I was nominated for the UW Excellence in Teaching Award 2018. In my continuing role as a Mellon Fellow for Reaching New Publics, I will have the chance to share and develop my thoughts on how to engage students with issues of racial equity through drama pedagogy.