In order to get my “Seattle fix” and visit old friends, I had planned a trip for spring break of 2020, which, of course, got derailed by the beginning pandemic. Now there’s hope to return to Seattle in the near future to take in cherry blossoms in the quad, marvel at the “magic mountain” Rainier in the distance, and eat lots of tasty PNW food. While life in Southern California is quite pleasant and the great outdoors always beckon, Seattle and UW continue to be my personal North Star.
In my professional life at UC Irvine, my interests have morphed more and more in the direction of Critical European Studies, which was partly due to developments in our undergraduate and graduate programs. My current book project (which I hope to finish soon!) centers on “Europe” as well and analyzes prose texts by a number of transcultural German-language writers (among others Terézia Mora, Marica Bodrožić, and Olga Grjasnowa). I ask how narrating memories of European migration, arrival, and conflicts supports a model of multidirectional memory that releases cultural memories form national and territorial frameworks, thereby shaping the European memory project (which has been primarily centered on the Shoat) in novel and important ways. My latest articles focus on journalistic texts by Sibylle Berg (Text und Kritik, 2020) and European Refuge narratives in Germany and France (EuropeNow, 2020). A recent double issue of Colloquia Germanica (co-edited with Friederike Eigler, 2020) also deals with "Europe in Contemporary German Literature” and contains my essay on recent letter exchanges between European writers.
Apart from doing research, teaching, and directing the European Studies program, I also continue to serve as Study Abroad Director on the UCI campus.