Rafael Balling (he/ his/ him)

Assistant Professor
Photo of Rafael Balling

Contact Information

Denny Hall 333
Office Hours
Wednesdays, 12.30-1.30 and by appt.


Ph.D., German Studies, Ph.D. Minor Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Stanford University, 2023
M.A., Comparative Literature, Spanish Literature, Religious Studies, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, 2013
Curriculum Vitae (79.73 KB)

In my research and teaching, I focus on German Jewish and Yiddish literature, LGBTIQ+ narratives and (auto)biographical writing.

My first book project, A Story Of Their Own, considers the role of storytelling in 20th-century Jewish trans narratives as a means to counter the dominant psychopathological framework of Western discourse on gender variance. Through the works of Else Lasker-Schüler, N.O. Body, and Isaac Bashevis Singer, I show that authors turn to the classic narrative forms of Homeric epic, Yiddish folklore, and Biblical tales to narrate gender diversity through social encounters rather than a medical-scientific response, creating the possibility of self-understanding on a foundation of collaborative worldmaking.

Recent publications include Feminist German Studies 39.1 (Spring 2023: "Intimate Associations: Reading Community in Sasha Marianna Salzmann's Außer Sich (2017) and Else Lasker Schüler's Der Malik (1919)"and Dibur 12-13 (Spring 2021-Fall 2022): Between Times: The Case of Yiddish Transness".