Magdalena Pfalzgraf


Doctoral Researcher

Magdalena Pfalzgraf is a PhD is a PhD-candidate at Goethe University Frankfurt where she is completing a thesis entitled ``Crossing Borders, Transcending Boundaries: Mobility Dynamics in post-2000 Zimbabwean Literature in English” (supervised by Prof. Frank Schulze-Engler). She graduated from RWTH Aachen with a state exam in English and German studies (Lehramt). Her state examination thesis focused on representations of diversity in contemporary Black British and Turkish-German fiction (supervised by Geoffrey Davis).


Research Interests

  • Contemporary African Literatures in English
  • Mobility, Movement, and Migration in Literature
  • Nationalism & Literature
  • Border Studies

Selected publications

Articles (peer-reviewed)

  • “‘How many of your children are in the city?’” Rural-Urban Migration and the Accra Middle Class in Benjamin Kwakye’s The Sun by Night (2006) and Amma Darko’s The Housemaid (1998).” Seasons of Migration to the South: Literatures of Intra-African Migrations. Ed.  Rebecca Fasselt and Aghogho Akpome. London: Routledge. Currently under review. 
  •  “Urban Modernity and Crisis: Ambivalent Mobilities and Flânerie in Valerie Tagwira’s The Uncertainty of Hope (2006).” Gendered Modernities in Motion. Special issue of the Journal of Literary Studies. Forthcoming.
  •  “Representations of White Zimbabwean Mobilities in Recent Anglophone Fiction Graham Lang’s Lettah’s Gift (2011) and Ian Holding’s Of Beasts & Beings (2010).” Mobility and Minorities in Africa. Ed. Michele Carboni and  Giovanni Sistu. Rome: Aracne, 2017,  235 - 257. Forthcoming.


  • “A Hundred Years After: The View from the Train as a Glimpse into a Lost Idyll in Edward Thomas’s ‘Adlestrop’ (1917).” Discourses of Mobility - Mobility of Discourse. The Conceptualization of Trains, Cars and Planes in 19th- and 20th-Century Poetry. Ed. Peter Wenzel and Sven Strasen. Trier: WVT, 2010. 71-79.
  • "Sefi Atta: Swallow." Kindler Literatur Lexikon Online. Forthcoming.
  • "Sefi Atta: Everything Good Will Come." Kindler Literaturlexikon Online. Forthcoming.


Functions and Activities 

  • 2016 – 2017 Secretary of the Graduate Caucus of the African Literature Association (GSCALA)
  • 2014-2015 Chair of the Forum Postcolonial Narrations


Selected presentations

  • Roundtable: “Tropes of Urbanity: Imagining African Urban Spaces Across Media”, 42nd Annual Conference of the African Literature Association, Yale University, June 2017
  • “The Failed City as a Space of Transnational Movement and Transcultural Encounters: NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names (2013)”, 16th Triennial EACLALS Conference, University of Oviedo, April 2017.
  • “Mobile City Worlds in Zimbabwean Fiction Post-2000: Valerie Tagwira’s The Uncertainty of Hope (2006)”, 17th Triennial ACLALS Conference, University of Stellenbosch, July 2017.
  • “‘The future is born from the seeds of the present but carries with it the ashes of the past.ʼ Contested Masculinities and Visions for Fatherhood in Selected Short Stories from Zimbabwe“, 41st Annual Conference of the African Literature Association. University of Bayreuth,
  • “Widowhood, (Dis)inheritance and the Gender Asset Gap in Contemporary African Anglophone Literature”, 15th Triennial EACLALS Conference,  University of Innsbruck, April 2014.


Professional Memberships

  • African Literature Association (ALA), European Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (EACLALS), Gesellschaft für Anglophone Postkoloniale Studien (GAPS)



  • 2016- present: doctoral scholarship, Ev. Studienwerk Villigst/Villigst Academic Foundation
  • October-December 2014: travel grant, DAAD
  • 2012: Friedrich Wilhelm Award, RWTH Aachen
  • 2008-2011: scholarship, German Academic Foundation/Studienstiftung 



  • Proseminar “Transcontinental Migration in Recent African Fiction in English”, WS 2015/16