I studied English and Biology at the Freie Universität Berlin (FUB) and Duke University and obtained my doctoral and postdoctoral degrees at the FUBs John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, supported by grants and fellowships from, among others, the DAAD, the American Council of the Learned Societies, the German Research Council, and Harvard University. Having taught at the universities of Lodz and Freiburg as well as the Szondi Institute (FUB), I accepted, in 2001, the Chair position for American Literature and Culture and became Director of the North American Studies Program and the German-Canadian Centre at the University of Bonn. I act as a spokesperson for the Zentrum für Kulturwissenschaft/Cultural Studies in Bonn, serve as a member of the advisory board at the Center for Modernist Studies at Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China), and, for many years, was a fellow and
associate at Harvard Universitys W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Studies. Among my long-standing research interests are the interfaces between the (cognitive) sciences and cultural studies interests I look forward to pursuing as an associate of the Graduate School “Life Sciences Life Writing.”
offers a rare space for an interdisciplinary collaboration among seemingly distant fields of research, ranging from biochemistry to psychosomatics to the history of science, literary studies, and linguistics. Building on a shared concern with boundary experiences, our conversation engages various perspectives from particular knowledges of life and, in the process, interrogates and redesigns what we habitually consider “the life sciences.”
MY GOAL IS...
to address what I consider a methodological dilemma: I aim to examine how the methods of our different fields necessarily shape our presumably common research object in multiply distinct ways while at the same time being mutually conducive to our understanding and accounting of it.
ONE OF MY CURRENT PROJECTS...
explores how contemporary US-American fiction translates science into narrative and thereby foregrounds how some scientific endeavors are continuous with literary discourse while others clearly resist narrative. In another project I map the crossroads between cognitive science and cultural studies in matters of perception and memory.
CONTACT: Universität Bonn