Natalie Kruse


I hold a binational master’s degree in American Studies from the University of Mainz and English Literature from Clark University (Worcester, MA, USA), where I also worked as a teaching assistant. During my studies I discovered the fascinating areas of life writing, disability studies, narrative ethics, and medical humanities. Particularly, the interplay of literature, medicine, psychology, philosophy, the neurosciences, and its depiction in (auto)biographical narratives increasingly triggered my deep curiosity. It urged me to study more in those very fields in order to explore how and where those — apparently unrelated and sometimes even contradictory — disciplines intersect and may possibly benefit from one another.


…a competitive research and training program, which provides a unique opportunity for me to deepen my knowledge and pursue both my academic and private passion for literature and medical topics. The interdisciplinary character of the graduate college equips me with the medical, philosophical, and ethical knowledge to develop a scientific view on literary representations of illness and human boundary experiences. The continuous exchange and lively discussions fostered by all members of the GRK represent a vital and equally intriguing part of the program. It encourages mutual learning and the expansion of our personal conceptual horizons.


…to explore how different representations of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) — both in biomedical debates and (auto)biographical narratives — shape the way we perceive and treat the condition. I will investigate what the prevailing omnipresence of the discourse and society’s apparent fascination with autism says about the current zeitgeist, in which the (scientific) debates around this condition seem to be well embedded.


…approaches representations of Autism Spectrum Disorders in life writing narratives and life sciences debates from an epistemological and phenomenological perspective and examines them in terms of their oscillation between fact and fiction and the inherent co-construction that constitutes those narratives and professional debates.