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Matthew Childs (he/him/his)

Graduate Student
Matthew Childs

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M.A., German Studies, Florida State University, 2015
B.A., German and Classical Civilizations, Florida State University, 2013
PDF icon Curriculum Vitae (180.12 KB)

Matthew Childs is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of German Studies.

Matthew's dissertation, titled Era of Uncertainty: Catastrophe in Nineteenth-Century German Literature, provides an analysis of four texts published in the Nineteenth Century: Heinrich von Kleist’s Das Erdbeben in Chili, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust, Wilhelm Raabe’s Pfisters Mühle: Ein Sommerferienheft, and Theodor Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter. Following a theoretical discussion on the use of catastrophe in literature more broadly, the project pursues two lines of inquiry: (1) what are the defining qualities of literary representations of catastrophe in literature and (2) the causes behind the use of catastrophe in literature in the first place. The dissertation ends with a discussion of the significance of these literary catastrophes for the understanding of German society in the Nineteenth Century as well as a brief speculation of what contemporary representations of disaster might mean for the current perception of a world affected by climate change.

Matthew has taught at all levels of the German language program. He was Lead TA for academic year 2022-23. He has taught non-traditional students at Language Strides German school and was a coordinator for high school exchange students from German-speaking countries at the NorthWest Student Exchange. 

Matthew has organized and participated in several conferences and workshops for research and teaching: "Internationaler Ferienkurs für deutsche Sprache und Kultur der Universität Heidelberg 2022" (participant); UW graduate student conference "Conceiving the (Un)quiet Mind: Representations of Mental Health in Literature, Media, and Art" (2021, lead organizer); Goethe Society of North America Dissertation Workshop (2020); MLA annual conference paper "Irony and Colonial Subversion in Goethe's Faust" (2020, presenter); GSA annual conference paper "'Zuckungen' and Gefühlsader': The Desire and Impossibility of Literary Realism in Georg Büchner's Lenz" (2019, presenter); UW graduate student conference "Residues and Remnants: (re)Presenting Cultural Memory, Contamination, and Destruction" (2019, co-organizer); DAAD-Fortbildungskurs "DaF in den USA: Grundzüge und Perspektiven" (2018, participant).

Matthew has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships: Heidelberg University Association Scholarship (2022), Society of Scholars Summer Fellowship (2022), Antoinette Wills Endowed Scholarship (2022–21), Gloria Flaherty Scholarship (2020), Joff Hanauer Fellowship for Excellence in Western Civilizations (2019–20), Max Kade Foundation Fellowship (2015–16), and Sauerlander Scholarship (2015). 

Matthew will be at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster for the 2022-23 academic year. 

Courses Taught

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Professional Affiliations: 
German Studies Association, Modern Languages Association, Goethe Society of North America, American Association of Teachers of German, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment