Graduate Students

The graduate students and post-docs organize a monthly Colloquium, at which one of them presents a piece of their writing in order to receive peer feedback. Those who are working on their dissertation proposal or are ABD join the Dissertation Writing Group, which meets every week to discuss the work of one of their members. Contact anyone on this page to learn more.

Mirjam Berg

Mirjam Berg received a Magister in German Literature and Political Science from the University of Bonn in 2010 with a thesis on the poetological significance of taking a walk in the works of Robert Walser, Thomas Bernhard, and Peter Waterhouse. Before joining the department in 2011, she spent a year as a visiting student at the German Graduate Program of Johns Hopkins University. Mirjam is currently working on a dissertation, which investigates the concept of 'home' and its proliferation in diaristic novels by women writers of the early twentieth century. Primary authors include Margarete Böhme, Emmy Hennings, Irmgard Keun, and Annemarie Schwarzenbach. Publications on the correlation between the perception of the city and of the text in works by Rilke and Keun as well as on the significance of the writing room in Rilke, Woolf, and Keun are forthcoming. Mirjam is also a passionate language instructor and has taught elementary classes as well as self-designed intermediate and advanced courses. 

Ethan Blass

Ethan Blass graduated from Middlebury College in 2012 with a double major in German and Russian. He spent the fall semester of junior year studying at Irkutsk State University in Irkutsk, Russia, and the spring semester studying at Johannes Gutenberg Universität in Mainz, Germany. During senior year he began an independent study on the works of Franz Kafka, and wrote his German thesis on the role of language in Kafka’s Briefe an Felice and the 1914 story “In der Strafkolonie.”  In addition to German literature, Ethan has also studied Russian, Latin, and Ancient Greek literature and is interested in how these various traditions intersect. His main interests are the relationship between philosophy and literature, the role of music in the German literary tradition, and the nature of literary language.

Daniel Burnfin

Daniel Burnfin joined the department in 2015 after studying in Leuven, Heidelberg and Amherst. He received his B.A. and M.A. in philosophy from the Catholic University of Leuven and his M.A. in German studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Historical-thematic areas of interest to him include the relation between classical German literature, the sciences and 19th century German philosophy—the relation between ‘critical’ and ‘speculative’ thought, Jena 1794-1807, the history of Hegel-reception and the influence of neo-Kantianism on the latter. Specific authors of interest to him include Hölderlin, von Kleist and Kafka; Hegel, Marx and Freud. At present he is interested in the relation between poetics and ‘speculative’ thought, the notion of speculative criticism, as well as contemporary implications of Hegel’s account of abstraction and ‘understanding’ (Verstand).

Daniel Carranza

Daniel Carranza graduated from Reed College in 2012 with a B.A. in German Literature. In 2011, he studied abroad in Tübingen. His senior thesis was on the ethical project of Theodor W. Adorno’s Minima Moralia and explored the role played by aphoristic form in that project. He then spent the 2012-2013 academic year in Konstanz on a Fulbright English teaching assistantship. His current interests include the filiations between German poetry and Idealist philosophy in the long eighteenth-century, theories of rhythm, and the history of philology and hermeneutics, in particular the reception history of Hölderlin’s poetry.

Junhao Chen

Junhao Chen joined the Department in 2016. He graduated from New York University in 2014 with a B.A. in German Literature and Culture. In 2015, Junhao was awarded an MA in Comparative Literature from NYU where he wrote on the figure of the counselor in Shakespeare’s Richard II and Schiller’s Maria Stuart. He spent the 2015-2016 academic year at the University of Tübingen, studying Idealism, Arendt and Adorno. His interests include: literary, philosophical and visual discourses; microphenomenology of the political; Gerechtigkeit; psychoanalysis; political theology; Classicism; system theory.

Emily Dreyfus

Emily Dreyfus graduated from Oxford University in 2011 with a joint degree in Classics and German. During her B.A. she spent a year studying baroque violin at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Leipzig. Her senior thesis explored Romantic distance in Robert Schumann’s Eichendorff settings. In 2011 she received the Toepfer Foundation Hanseatic scholarship to study Comparative Literature at the University of Göttingen, where she gained an M.A. with distinction in 2013 with a thesis on the role of music in works of Arthur Schnitzler. Emily is a fourth year student in the department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago and an active performing musician. Her current research engages with intermediality in the 19th and 20th century. She is particularly interested in citation practices in film and the cross-cultural traffic of Romantic musical referents in Berlin and Hollywood from 1920 onwards. In 2015, Emily was awarded the Wayne C. Booth Graduate Student Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

Jake Fraser

Jake Fraser received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 and joined the German Department in the fall of 2011. He has also studied at Berlin’s Humboldt and Freie Universitäten as well as the IKKM of Weimar. His dissertation attempts a media-history of Nachträglichkeit; research interests include 18th-20th century German literature, media theory and history, Begriffsgeschichte, structuralist and post-structuralist literary theory, German and French lyric poetry, and systems theory. Publications on structuralism and Lévi-Strauss, Kleist and information warfare, and the conceptual history of media usage are forthcoming; published academic translations include Friedrich Kittler, Anselm Haverkamp and Bernhard Waldenfels. From 2016-17, he will be a fellow in the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies. 

Simon Friedland

Simon Friedland graduated from Reed College in 2013 with a B.A. in German Literature. During his junior year he studied in Munich at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. He wrote his senior thesis on the delineation of a women’s Romantic tradition in the works of Karoline von Günderrode, Bettina von Arnim, and Christa Wolf. His interests are largely centered around German Romanticism, with a particular focus on theories of reading in Friedrich Schlegel and Novalis, Schleiermacher’s hermeneutics, and women writers around 1800. Other points of exploration include the Frankfurt School and the German Student Movement, literary responses to the Shoah, and theories of lyric poetry.

Ena Marija Gojak

Ena M. Gojak’s current research concerns German Idealist aesthetics, the philosophy of nature and Cavell. These theoretical interests help to orient her in the study of literary and visual art, focusing on the question of  genre and form on the one hand and the appeal to ethical imagination on the other. She received her MPhil from KU Leuven in Philosophy in 2016 with a thesis on analogical thought and aἰών  (meaning life and/or eternity) in Plato's Timaeus, addressing the problem of classifying the mode of discourse used to talk about the natural world. She completed her B.A. in the Humanities from Bard College in Berlin in 2012 where she wrote her thesis on the relation between lyric poetry and philosophy in the Phaedrus. In addition, she studied history of philosophy, comparative literature and art history at the New School for Social Research, Peter Szondi Institut at the Freie Universität and the University of Zagreb.

Joseph Haydt

Joseph Haydt graduated in 2014 from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a B.A. in German. He is currently working on a joint degree in Theology, with an emphasis on the thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Erich Przywara. His dissertation investigates developments in the concept of revelation by way of studies of Goethe, Kant and Hegel. Related thinkers of interest include Thomas Aquinas, René Descartes, Johann Georg Hamann and Jean-Luc Marion.

Greg Hedin

Greg Hedin joined the Department in 2008 after receiving his BA from Amherst College and then studying one year at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen through a Fulbright Fellowship. His dissertation on the works of Grimmelshausen and Jean Paul demonstrates continuity in ways of telling life stories from the early modern period to the late 18th- and early 19th centuries. Topics on which he has presented include the origins of narratology in Günther Müller and Käte Hamburger, it-narratives in Grimmelshausen and the concept of literary “Stoff” in the 18th century. At the University of Chicago, he has taught the introductory language sequence, as well as courses on terrorism in post-war German cinema and the image of America in German socialist drama.

Georginna Hinnebusch

Georginna Hinnebusch received her B.A. from Yale University. She joined the Department in 2006 after studying extensively in Germany and received her M.A. from the University of Chicago in the spring of 2007. Her interests include Weimar Classicism, early German Romanticism and Aesthetics, focusing particular attention on the productive interface between literature and philosophy. She is currently working on a dissertation that attempts to reinterpret Goethe’s insights on ‘Bildung.’ Taking her point of departure from Goethe’s conception of the natural production of organic forms as well as his thoughts on the mimetic creation of artistic forms, she seeks to elaborate the process of human development as a dynamic interplay between form and intuition by embedding it in the tradition of philosophical perfectionism.

Maeve Hooper

Maeve Hooper graduated with a B.A. in German Literature from Reed College (2009), where she wrote her senior thesis on the representation of technology and the First World War in the works of Thomas Mann and Ernst Jünger. After spending a year as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Baden-Württemberg, Maeve joined the Department in 2010, and was awarded her M.A. the following spring. She is currently working on a dissertation that investigates the notion of ‘framing’ as narrative strategy in the novellas of German Romanticism and poetic realism. Primary authors include Clemens Brentano, Ludwig Tieck, Adalbert Stifter, and Conrad Ferdinand Meyer. Maeve is also a dedicated instructor. In addition to teaching and designing courses in the German Department, she has worked as a Teaching Consultant at the Chicago Center for Teaching since 2015. In 2017, Maeve was awarded the Wayne C. Booth Graduate Student Prize for Excellence in Teaching. 

Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson graduated from New York University in 2014 with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and German, and joined the Department in 2015. He also studied at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the Uriel Weinreich Program in Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at the YIVO Institute. As an undergraduate, he also completed internships at the Leo Baeck Institute, part of the Center for Jewish History in New York, and at the Archiv des Jüdischen Museums in Berlin. His current interests include 20th- and 21st-century German- and Yiddish-language literature and thought, comparative poetics, literary theory, and Jewish thought. 

Tamara Kamatović

Tamara Kamatović joined the department in 2011 after receiving her B.A. in German Literature from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 2008-2009, she spent the academic year at the University of Leipzig on a DAAD undergraduate study grant. She was awarded a Fulbright Ernst Mach scholarship for dissertation research in Vienna in 2015-2016. Her dissertation, titled “Caught Between Four Walls: Censorship, Autobiography, Lust, and Melancholy in Biedermeier Austria,” is a cultural history of the Biedermeier period in Vienna, which spanned the years after the Vienna Congress to the revolutions in Europe around 1848. Tamara has taught courses on German literature and language and has served as a Teaching Assistant in the Vienna-Chicago Human Rights Program.

Clémence Kavanaugh

Clémence Kavanaugh graduated from Harvard University in 2010 with a B.A. in Literature. She thinks of form and materiality as opposite poles of a continuum along which bodies-- organic, poetic, or both-- travel. It isn't, however, the sort of traveling you do for fun, as it frequently involves undergoing a kind of violence.  This is almost all she thinks about, whether in connection to the enduringly and universally popular Lohenstein or to lesser known authors such as Goethe, Rilke, and Novalis. Following her reading of Auerbach's Mimesis, she also thinks a great deal about what has been nicknamed the "Athens versus Jerusalem" problem, particularly the ways in which the Judeo-Christian and classical strains of Western culture might inform the aforementioned material-formal dynamic.

Tae Ho Kim

Tae Ho Kim graduated from Columbia University in 2016 with a B.A. in German literature and cultural history. He also studied at Freie Universität Berlin in his junior year, taking part in the exchange program Berlin Consortium for German Studies. His senior thesis was on the model of interpersonal desire in Franz Kafka’s novel Das Schloß. His current interests include German and Austrian modernist novels, aesthetic theories, psychoanalysis, and poetics of E.T.A. Hoffmann.

Peter Metzel

Peter Metzel joined the department in 2017. After receiving a B.A. in Germanistik and Politikwissenschaft from the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald in 2014, he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a M.A. in German Studies. In his B.A. thesis he worked on disgust as a problem in the depiction of nature in early Enlightenment poetry, focusing on poets such as B.H. Brockes, B. Feind, J.J. Ebeling, and A. von Haller. From this project stems his interest in the problem of all-encompassing affirmation of the world in poetry of different historical contexts as well as the influence of Enlightenment thinking on authors as diverse as Friedrich Schlegel and Arno Schmidt. His current interests also include the development of semiotics since the 18th century and the interplay of ethics and aesthetics in G.E. Lessing’s dramatic work.

Jessica Resvick

Jessica Resvick joined the Department in 2013. She received an Sc.B. in Neuroscience and German Studies from Brown University in 2011 and spent the 2009-2010 academic year at the Humboldt University in Berlin. After completing her undergraduate studies, she worked as an AAEC/Fulbright English teaching assistant in Linz, Austria. In 2013, Jessica received an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College, where she wrote her thesis on temporal constructions of home/Heimat in Walter Benjamin’s “Moscow” and Vladimir Nabokov’s “A Guide to Berlin.” Jessica’s current research is centered on the 19th century, and her dissertation examines links between anagnorisis and reading practices in the works of Gottfried Keller, Adalbert Stifter, and Wilhelm Raabe. Other research interests include Goethe reception, media theory, the history of philology, architecture in literature, and the history of science.

Alex Sorenson

Alex Sorenson received his B.A. from the Honors College of Portland State University. During his undergraduate study, he spent a DAAD-supported semester at the University of Heidelberg, and completed an internship in the European Reading Room of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He received his M.A. from the University of Chicago in Spring 2013. His dissertation investigates the topos of drowning in key texts of Poetic Realism as a motivic repository for contemporary philosophical and literary conceptualizations of law, sacrifice and subjective perception. He has most recently published an article on visual narration in Rilke’s Neue Gedichte (The German Quarterly), and is currently conducting research for a future project on the spatial and lyric concept of sanctuary in modern German poetry. Additional interests include the German Ghost Story from 1800 to the present, ekphrasis and the Bildgedicht, and nineteenth-century forms of philosophical narrativity (as found in the work of thinkers such as Schelling, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche).

Amy Stebbins

Amy Stebbins graduated from Harvard University in 2007 with a B.A. in History and Literature. Her scholarship explores issues pertinent to theater, film, and opera, focusing in particular on the ethical parameters of acting, conceptual dissensus between American performance studies and German Theaterwissenschaft, and the public role of theater in the age of post-politics. Her dissertation "Theater of the Turns: The Dialectics of Acting and Identity at Frank Castorf's Volksbühne" attends to acting practices at the Berlin Volksbühne from 1992 to 2017, and demonstrates how actors function as representations  (and symptoms) of the reconfiguration of German and European identity structures after 1989. Stebbins is also a director and librettist. Recent projects include: "Mauerschau" an evening-length opera commissioned by the Bavarian State Opera; "Musical Land" commissioned by the Deutsche Oper Berlin in cooperation with the Deutsche Bank Foundation; and “MAKING A (RE)ENTRANCE PARTS I & II", a performance piece featuring male ex-offenders from the Crossroads Adult Transition Center that investigated the performative demands of prisoner rehabilitation programs in the United States. From 2011-2013 Stebbins was a dramaturgy fellow at the Deutsche Bank Foundation's Akademie Musiktheater heute.

Ella Wilhelm

Ella Wilhelm graduated from the University of Toronto in 2016 with an H.B.A in Literature & Critical Theory. Before joining the Germanic Studies department in 2017, she also received an M.A. from the University of Toronto's Centre for Comparative Literature, where she had focused on studies of Walter Benjamin, modern urban literature, phenomenology, political theology, and visual culture. Her interests remain broadly focused on the semiotics, politics, and theology of image and text, specifically in terms of the problems of idolatry and superstition. She hopes to focus her dissertation on the confessional and iconoclastic conflicts of the Protestant Reformation, especially as they relate to the process of secularization in Early Modern German thought and literature. 

Noah Zeldin

Noah Zeldin graduated in 2011 from Northwestern University with a B.Mus. in Composition and spent a semester in Tübingen on a DAAD scholarship. After graduation, he lived in Vienna, where he studied comparative literature and worked as a translator, primarily for the record label KAIROS. Noah joined the department in the fall of 2013 and earned his M.A. from the department the following spring. Current scholarly interests include the acoustic and formal analysis of verse and prose and the topics of holism, pluralism and reductionism in 19th and 20th century philosophy. Noah continues to compose music and perform on saxophone and electronics in various experimental groups.