• Transnational and Post-Colonial U.S. American Studies
  • Travel Writing and Autobiography of the Americas
  • U.S. American Theater and Drama
  • Black Diaspora and Latina/o Studies
  • Science Studies
  • Popular Culture


Essay Series / Monograph Project: Black Inter-American Mobility and Autobiography in the Age of Revolutions (1760-1840)

The interdisciplinary project explores different forms of mobility across the Americas exercised by people of African descent during the Age of Revolutions on the basis of black-authored autobiographies from the era and shortly afterwards (1760-1860). Drawing on the approaches of Inter-American Studies, Black Atlantic Studies, Mobility, and Autobiography Studies, it closes a research gap in the scholarship of the Americas and the Atlantic World at this time of transformation. The project thereby deepens our understanding of the Americas and their interactions with Africa and Europe. Due to the aesthetic innovation and socio-political relevance of this genre, the research on black mobilities in the Americas will be based on a literary analysis of the major types of black life writing from the era.


Postdoctoral Thesis (Habilitation): Lone Star Vistas: Constructions of Texas in Nineteenth-Century U.S.-American, Mexican, and German Travel Narratives, 1821-1861

The project, which was funded by the German Research Foundation, analyses narrative con­structions of Texas as a geographic, social, and cultural space from Mexican independence to the American Civil War in selected works of American, Mexican, and German travel writing. Through the lens of this text form, the study looks at the ways the region’s three major settler populations contributed to the public discourses on Texas during its most formative period. With its exemplary analysis of different types of journey narratives, the project further devel­ops a poetics of the travelogue that reaches beyond the common approaches to the genre.

Ph.D. Dissertation: Stages of Agency: The Contributions of American Drama to the AIDS Discourse

The dissertation analyses the specific contributions American stage drama made to the dis­course on HIV/AIDS in the United States from the mid-1980s through the late 1990s. The study maps the diachronic development of this body of work in its increasing thematic, formal, and identity political heterogeneity. It analyses the strategies these plays employed to blend art with activism in order to establish a counter-discourse to the mainstream public debate about AIDS and provide social agency to the affected populations.


Research Network: Black Americas: Transdisciplinary Dialogues and Hemispheric Perspectives (since 2016)

The network reaches out to scholars, activists, visual and performing artists in order to generate a research resource and a platform for transdisciplinary perspectives and hemispheric dialogues on the interrelatedness of histories, politics, and cultures of the communities and movements that make up the African diasporas in the Americas. By connecting academic and non-academic actors and bridging persistent demarcations between different research areas this project aims to live up to the multifaceted processes of translocal and transcultural bordercrossing that define the Black Americas.

CIAS: Center for InterAmerican Studies, Bielefeld University, Germany (since 2011)

CIAS is a cross-faculty institution at Bielefeld University. Its members include scholars of history, sociology, political science, theology, North American and Latin American studies, linguistics, as well as literature, cultural, and media studies at the university and beyond. Work at CIAS focuses on the comparative and transregional research on interculturality, identity politics and coloniality; cultural policy and mediality, social movements, integration and social transformation, migration and transnationalism dynamics in the Americas.

ZiF Research Group: E Pluribus Unum? Ethni­c Identities in Trans­national Integration Processes in the Americas, Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld University (2007-2010)

The Research Group sought to sharpen our understanding of key factors of identity politics, of changing concepts of ethnicity, and of cultural practices of ethnic identity constructions in transnationalization processes throughout the Americas. Work of the group was divided into four thematic sections: 1. theoretical conceptualization of the field of identity politics; 2. media and ethnic identity (politics); 3. ethnicity in urban spaces; and 4. ethnicity, cultural hybridity, and plural identities. In addition to holding weekly meetings of the group’s resident fellows and invited scholars from various universities, the group organized a series of nine conferences and workshops.

National and International Academic Associations