passfotoAlso with us this semester as a visiting scholar is Sylvia Mieszkowski, whom some of you will have met when she was teaching with us last semester.

Look out for Sylvia, or email us to find out how you can get in touch with her if you want to pick her brains. More detailed information about her work is available here.

By training, I am a scholar of comparative and English literature, cultural analysis and literary as well as cultural theory (specialising in gender studies, queer theory, psychoanalysis and semiotics) with a penchant for film studies. After a decade of teaching in Munich, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Berlin and, recently, at the AUP, I am currently enjoying a break from the didactic duties of an academic, to – undistractedly – pursue some of my recent research interests.

I love teaching – there, I’ve said it. The energy generated by the students’ desire to understand, to learn, to know, and the joy and pride when they finally prove to themselves what they can think and do…for me, there is not much that can compare with it. In the long run, teaching can only remain fresh and exciting, however, if input is available in the shape of new research. In other words, every now and then the teacher has to be allowed to turn into a student of sorts, in order learn, think and write about new texts and performances or discover old stories and their cultural or political contexts.

On a small scale, this happens on days that are free of teaching, on weekends and during term breaks. But this is not enough. Sometimes the large scale is needed and this is what research sabbaticals are for. During my current sabbatical I am, in fact, going to divide my time between several projects.

One of these is the task of preparing the second book I wrote, during my time as an Assistant Professor at Goethe University Frankfurt, for publication. It is a contribution to what I keep calling ‘literary sound studies’, and analyses how the production, reception and interpretation of sounds in literary representation disturbs and dovetails with processes of meaning making and identity construction. Hopefully, Resonances of Alterity: Sound, Desire and Anxiety in Non-Realist Fiction, published by [transcript] will hit the market by the end of 2013.

My second project also belongs to the field of sound studies. Last September I co-organised a conference on “noise – geräusch – bruit: Medien und Kultur unstrukturierter Laute”. My colleague Sigrid Nieberle (University of Erlangen, currently University of Kansas) and I are planning the publication of the conference proceedings.

Gender Studies and Queer Theory have been a focus in my research ever since I wrote my PhD thesis Teasing Narrative as a fellow of the research training group “Geschlechterdifferenz & Literatur” (Gender & Literature) at Munich University. During the next few months I shall spend some time working on a proposal for a network project titled “Queer Edges”. The aim is to raise funding which will finance the organisation of a series of four workshops spread over two years. These workshops will bring together researchers from Salzburg, Berlin, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and (hopefully) Paris for the discussion of queer literature, film, theory, and material culture.

An entirely new pursuit of mine bears the working title “dis(re-)membering” and is about poetry on slavery, its bodies and communities. I will start exploring this topic by laying the groundwork for an article on NourbeSe Philip’s Zong! (2008). The long-term plan in the background is to expand from there into a book project that will consider both poems written during the fight for abolition and contemporary pieces which comment on and/or commemorate the end of the transatlantic slave trade, roughly 200 years ago.

In 2013, my first professional trip will take me back to Frankfurt. Ex-Students of mine are organising a workshop titled “Rated Queer”, and I am as proud as could be to have been asked to open the show. In March and April, I shall be spending some time in Salzburg, where I have been invited as a scientist in residence. I am also looking forward to contributing a paper on “Surface Control: Writing on skin in Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book” to a conference titled Probing the Skin, held in Jena at the end of April. Further trips to Zürich, Berlin and Greifswald are planned for the second half this year, and I am looking forward to dividing the rest of my time between my desk in Paris and the AUPs rich choice of academic and cultural events.