New Faculty:  Rafael Balling

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Rafael Balling


Born and raised in Franconia, Rafael has lived in Germany, Spain, Bolivia, Israel and several states in the US (Texas, Tennessee, and California) before arriving in Seattle and beginning his appointment at the University of Washington. He has previously taught at such different places as the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder and the University of Texas, El Paso. In 2023, he received his PhD in German studies and a minor PhD in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality studies from Stanford University.

Rafael works on and teaches (20th- and 21st-century) German Jewish literature and culture, Yiddish literature, as well as trans and queer studies. His current book project looks at the question of how traditional modes of storytelling become a resource for agency in Jewish trans narratives in the writings of 20th-century writers such as Else Lasker-Schüler, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and N.O. Body. Rafael is also working on other publications, including an article exploring trans Jewish methodology, as well as the edition of a journal issue that discusses the intersections of German studies and trans studies.

He is very excited about teaching and continuing his research at UW and exploring Seattle as a place to live and thrive. A passionate lover of outdoor sports, he instantly fell in love with the many possibilities for outdoor adventures in and around Seattle and found that the Green Lake is the perfect training ground for his preparation for the Triathlon age group nationals.

Besides moving his body at any weather (and especially in the rain!), he loves reading, writing, and studying Talmud at the many stunning places in the city with a view on the waters.


Featured course: Bodies in Transition (Winter 2024)