21 October 2021

NELK Research Colloquium

Flora Veit-Wild

A Reading and Conversation

Thursday, Oct 21, 2021 | 6-8 pm, c.t. Hybrid event | Room IG 4.201 | ZOOM

Flora Veit-Wild reads from her recently published memoir They Called You Dambudzo

Moderated by Dr. Magdalena Pfalzgraf

They Called You Dambudzo is a memoir with a ‘double heartbeat’. At its centre is the author’s relationship with the late Zimbabwean writer, Dambudzo Marechera, whose award-winning book The House of Hunger marked him as a powerful, disruptive, perhaps prophetic voice in African literature. Flora Veit-Wild is internationally recognised for her significant contribution to preserving Marechera’s legacy. What is less known about Marechera and Veit-Wild is that they had an intense, personal and sexual relationship. This memoir explores this: the couple’s first encounter in 1983, amidst the euphoria of the newly independent Zimbabwe; the tumultuous months when the homeless writer moved in with his lover and her family; the bouts of creativity once he had his own flat followed by feelings of abandonment; the increasing despair about a love affair that could not stand up against reality and the illness of the writer and his death of HIV related pneumonia in August 1987. What follows are the struggles Flora went through once Dambudzo had died. On the one hand she became the custodian of his life and work, on the other she had to live with her own HIV infection and the ensuing threats to her health.

Flora Veit-Wild is Emerita Professor of African literatures at Humboldt University, Berlin. She lived in Harare/Zimbabwe from 1983 to 1993 and became known for her work on Zimbabwean literature and as literary executor and biographer of Dambudzo Marechera and a founder member of the Zimbabwe Women Writers. Her numerous publications include studies of body, madness, sexuality and gender in Anglophone and Francophone African writing as well as code-switching and linguistic innovation in Shona literature. Her memoir They Called You Dambudzo is her first book-length literary work.

More information on Flora Veit-Wild: https://www.floraveitwild.de/

Find NELK on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/NELKFrankfurt/

If you have questions or concerns regarding this event, please get in touch with Michelle Stork (m.stork@em.uni-frankfurt.de).

15 July 2021

In Transit|ion – Frankfurt Lectures in Literary and Cultural Studies

A Touch of the Divine:
A Conversation with Yann Martel

Moderator: Pavan Malreddy

Thursday 15 July 2021 | 17-18:30 hrs. CET | via ZOOM | Register at pavanmalreddy@protonmail.com

Yann Martel is a world-renowned writer, with a readership in over forty languages. He has authored four novels, a short story collection and a book of letters to the Prime Minister of Canada. His acclaimed novel Life of Pi (2001) – the most popular winner of the Booker ever – was a universal bestseller, and was adapted to the screen by Oscar-winning director Ang Lee. Given the prominence of animals, anthropomorphism, and comparative religions in his work, critics have variedly dubbed him a postsecularist, posthumanist, magic realist and a maverick of form. A classicist in style, a lyricist in prose, an Avant-gardist in spirit, Yann Martel deals with themes and motifs as expansive as God, art, adventures, migration, and taxidermy. This conversation will be based on his previous as well as ongoing writing projects.

“In Transit|ion – Frankfurt Lectures in Literary and Cultural Studies” is a prestigious lecture series organized by the Institute of English and American Studies at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. Twice a semester, leading scholars and writers from around the world present their work in the fields of American Studies, English Studies, and Anglophone Literatures and Cultures.

In cooperation with Graduatenkolleg Configurations of Film.

13 July 2021

New Frontiers in Memory Studies Lecture Series

Tatjana Louis (Los Andes University, Bogotá)

Peace, War, and how we Talk about it: A Discourse Analysis of Colombian History Schoolbooks

Tuesday 13 July | 6pm | online via Zoom | click here to register

Desaprender la guerra – “unlearning” war – is a central demand of peace education in Colombia, which is intended to contribute to socially overcoming the decades-old conflict. An important role is played by history education, which in 2017 was explicitly assigned the task of contributing to peace and reconciliation through historical memory by Law No. 1874. But what discursive offers exist at all to talk about the past in such a way that it contributes to reconciliation and peace? This lecture takes a close look at textbooks for history lessons and examines how war and peace are represented in the texts, how responsibilities are attributed, what social and individual scope for action is shown, and what assignments of meaning are constructed in the narrative.

06 July 2021

NELK Research Colloquium Guest Lecture

Chandani Lokuge (Australian National University)

The Right to Belong: Literary Activism and Australian Citizenship Politics

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 | 10-12 am, c.t. (CET) 6-8 pm, c.t. (AEST) | ZOOM link

One compelling aspect of the power of literature is that it transforms encompassing public issues into humanist stories, whose emotive and cognitive resonances transcend the limits of political propaganda, leading the reader to a deep level of interrogation, philosophical and political integrity, and ethical enquiry. Foregrounding this theory, this paper will interrogate a developing branch of Australian literature, that we may identify as the literature of the non-citizen or non-citizenship literature.

A former Sri Lankan Commonwealth scholar to Australia, Chandani Lokuge is currently affiliated to The Australian National University, Canberra. Previously, she was Associate Professor in Literary Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. During her tenure at Monash (2001-2020), she was the founding director of the Monash Centre for Postcolonial Writing and of the South Asian Diaspora International Research Network (SADIRN). Among her recent academic publications is Mediating Literary Borders: Asian Australian Writing, co-edited with Janet Wilson (Routledge 2018). Edited with Chris Ringrose, her new book, Creative Lives: Interviews with South Asian Diaspora Writers (Ibidem/Columbia University Press) will be published in July 2021. As Editor of the Oxford Classics Reissues series, Chandani published 7 critical editions of pioneering Indian women’s Anglophone writing. Chandani is an awarded novelist. While her earlier books dealt with Sri Lankan-Australian interactions in migration and diaspora, her most recent novel, My Van Gogh (2019), which is set in Australia and France, interrogates tourism as a panacea for ‘soul- loss’. Chandani’s international research appointments include the Ludwig Hirschfeld- Mack Visiting Chair in Australian Studies, Free University Berlin (DAAD); Le Studium International Research Chair in Creative Writing, Advanced Studies Institute, Loire Valley, France; and guest professorships at Humanities Centre, Harvard University and NELK, Goethe University Frankfurt.

16 June 2021

Memory Studies Association Event

Indian Network for Memory Studies Launch Event

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 | 12.30 CEST | 16.00 IST | Online


Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras

Prof. Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean (Global Engagement), IIT Madras

Mr. Rajendra Prasad Narla, Chief Archivist, Tata Central Archives

Prof. Astrid Erll, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Director, Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform

Dr. Hanna Teichler, Goethe Universität Frankfurt, Co-Director, Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform, Acting President, Memory Studies Association

Dr. Avishek Parui, IIT Madras, Chairperson, Indian Network for Memory Studies

Dr. Merin Simi Raj, IIT Madras, Chairperson, Indian Network for Memory Studies

Click here to register by 10 June 2021.

For queries write to memorystudiesiitm@gmail.com.

10 June 2021

NELK Research Colloquium Guest Lecture

Sourit Bhattacharya (Glasgow)

Operation Genocide: Civil War and Postcolonial Literature

Thursday, June 10, 2021 | 6-8 pm, c.t. | ZOOM link

Frantz Fanon famously argued (1967) that colonialism was marked by an unprecedented use of violence on the minds and bodies of the colonised people. Postcolonial societies have further witnessed widespread violence and trauma in the long-term ethnic conflicts and civil wars from the 1950s and 60s onward, until today. Because of the deliberate, often state- sponsored, killing of civilians/citizens, raping of women and children, and blockade of resources leading to famines and diseases, social scientists have defined these violent events as genocides (Horowitz 1976; Fein 1990; Katz 1994; Valentino 2007). Postcolonial literatures and arts have urgently represented these genocides to mobilise the immediate politico-moral sentiment for international humanitarianism and the long-term social-biological question of multigenerational trauma (Norridge 2011; Heerten and Moses 2014). Postcolonial literary studies, however, has been shy of a sustained engagement with this topic (Lazarus 2011; Barnard et al 2015). In this presentation, I will first establish the link between postcolonialism, civil war and genocide, and then show how postcolonial literature and arts have used the category of genocide to suggest an elongated political temporality of 20thC colonial/fascist violence. Here, my main entry point is the 1971 Bangladesh war of liberation. I will argue through Zahir Raihan’s short film, Stop Genocide: 1971 (1971) and Shaidul Jahir’s novella, Jibon o Rajnoitik Bastobota (Life and Political Reality, 1988) that the concept of genocide has been key to not only imagining the traumatised birth of the postcolonial nation but also thinking through the complex question of living with citizen “traitors” in a secular, people’s republic.

Sourit Bhattacharya is Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies at the University of Glasgow. His research interests include postcolonial literatures; disaster studies; food and famine studies; and materialist literary criticism. His first monograph, Postcolonial Modernity and the Indian Novel: On Catastrophic Realism was published by Palgrave in 2020. His co-edited volume on the left radical Bengali writer, Nabarun Bhattacharya (Bloomsbury) also came out in the same year. He is currently writing his second monograph tentatively titled Postcolonialism Now (Orient BlackSwan), which this presentation is a part of. Sourit is a founding co-editor of Sanglap: Journal of Literary and Cultural Inquiry.

08 June 2021

New Frontiers in Memory Studies Lecture Series

Tea Sindbæk Andersen and Jessica Ortner (University of Copenhagen)

Mnemonic Migration – Transcultural Circulation and Reception of Post-Yugoslav War Time Memories

Tuesday 08 June | 6 pm | online via Zoom | click here to register

The idea that mnemonic media have the capability to make recipients adopt other people’s memories is central to memory studies. The successful transmission of memories does not only depend on persuasive communication, but most crucially on the process of reception. Indeed, reception is of special concern to transcultural memory studies exploring how memories move across cultural and national boundaries. This lecture presents our investigation into readers’ reception of literature by authors with a Yugoslav migrant background writing about the 1990s war in Bosnia. Using focus group discussions and individual interviews as means of investigating readers’ reactions to this literature, we explore literature as a medium that makes memories travel. We introduce the concept of mnemonic migration to include both the narrative strategies employed by migrant authors in order to represent their memories in new social settings, and the reception of this type of literature in three national frameworks of memory – Denmark, Germany, and England. We will present our preliminary findings about the texts’ capability to represent Bosnian wartime memories in an emotionally appealing manner that urges readers to incorporate them into their own stock of memories, constituting perhaps what Alison Landsberg has called ‘Prosthetic memory’. Furthermore, we will show how one and the same literary text led to different kinds of reactions in different social frameworks.

New Frontiers in Memory Studies is a lecture series by the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform.

28 May 2021

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New Frontiers in Memory Studies Lecture Series

Magdalena Zolkos (Goethe University Frankfurt)

Cultural Heritage Repatriation in the Post-colonial Arctic: Materiality, Memory, Assemblage

Friday 28 May | 4 pm | online screening | click here to register

Recent struggles for repatriation of cultural heritage and traditional knowledge to their indigenous custodians have thrown into relief the question of affordance and potentialities of material objects to facilitate emergence of post-colonial cultural memory. This has coincided with critical debates in post-humanities about human- thing interactions, which have undermined traditional conceptions of objects as passive, non-agential and appropriable. One of its outcomes has been emergence of richer and more complex cultural imageries of objecthood, which help us re-think the place of material things in memory studies, including Paul Basu’s notion of ‘diasporic objects’ or Susan Star’s writings on ‘boundary objects’. Both of these concepts connote objects located at the interstices of, and potentially connecting, plural and heterogenous memory communities.

The lecture takes the perspective of critical micro-history of three objects, translocated from Greenland to Denmark in the early 20th century, and currently part of the collection of the Danish National Museum. These objects are figurines of a tupilak, a being of ill-wishing and revenge that originated in pre-colonial Greenlandic belief systems, which became a source of great interest, fascination, and anxiety, among ethnographers, colonial administrators, missionaries and the larger European public. I suggest that tupilait were synecdochic figures of Arctic colonialism, which ‘condensed’ colonial attitudes, affects, and desires. The lecture traces their histories, narratives and aestheticizations as a ‘thingly’ prism onto collective memory emergence in colonial and post-colonial Arctic. As peculiar beings that defy uniform categorization (an assemblage of object, animal, human, and spiritual elements), tupilait can be viewed as a ‘survival’ of forms that contravene Western epistemology of objects. This serves as a point of reference for not only radicalizing the perspectives on repatriation of cultural heritage, but also contributes to the post-human turn in memory studies.

15 Feb 2021


Author meets Students: A Conversation with Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

February 15th 2021
ZOOM/ 12.00-14.00 CET

To register, please click HERE

We kindly invite you to participate in a discussion with Kenyan author Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. The conversation will focus on her novel Dust (2013), which explores the many facets of postindependent Kenya. Her novel was shortlisted for the Folio Prize and won the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in 2015. This studentled discussion is part of Dr. Hanna Teichler’s seminar “Transoceanic Imaginaries” and has been facilitated by the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform.

04 Feb 2021

NELK Guest Lecture

Kai Wiegandt (Tübingen)

Neo-Imperial Gothic: Western Migrant Fiction’s Imagination of Reverse Domination

Thursday, 4 Feb 21, 6 pm, c.t. Zoom link

Late nineteenth and early twentieth century reverse colonization narratives, subsumed under the rubric ‘imperial gothic’ by Patrick Brantlinger, featured invasions from the colonial periphery to the imperial centre. This paper argues that recent decades have seen the emergence of similar ‘reverse domination narratives’. The narratives feature the migration of professionals from the Global North to the new economic centres in the Global South, where the migrants occupy subservient, quasi-colonised positions. As in the case of nineteenth century reverse colonization narratives, gothic elements underpin the reversal of dominance. I read the narratives as symptoms of Northern anxiety of losing economic, political and cultural influence to regions perceived as threats to global dominance.

Kai Wiegandt is Heisenberg Lecturer at the English Department of the University of Tübingen. In April 2021 he will start as Professor of Literature at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin. He studied English and German literature and philosophy at Universität Freiburg, Yale University and at Freie Universität Berlin and is the author of Crowd and Rumour in Shakespeare(Ashgate 2012) and J.M. Coetzee’s Revisions of the Human: Posthumanism and Narrative Form (Palgrave 2019). He has published on early modern, modernist and postcolonial as well as world literature. In 2014 he was elected member of the German Young Academy at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

22 Janaury 2021

In Transition

The Syntax of Everyday Injustice: A Reading & Conversation with Arundhati Roy

Moderator: Pavan Malreddy

22 January 2021
ZOOM/ 10.00-12.00 hrs. CET,
14:30-16:30 hrs. IST

No Registration for IEAS members.

All others, register at: pavanmalreddy@protonmail.com

Arundhati Roy is a world-renowned writer. She writes of the connections between caste, class, capitalism and imperialism. Her two novels, The God of Small Things (1997) and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017), have amassed readership in more than forty languages. Her extensive non-fictional work – Walking with the Comrades, The Algebra of Infinite Justice, My Seditious Heart, among others – draws attention to how capitalism and privatisation have undermined democracy, devastated the environment and accelerated the race to irreversible climate change. Both her fiction and non-fiction have been subject to lively – at times heated – scholarly debates both within and outside of India. This reading and conversation will be based on her recent collections of essays titled Azadi – Freedom. Fascism. Fiction (2020).

In Transit|ion – Frankfurt Lectures in Literary and Cultural Studies” is a prestigious lecture series organized by the Institute of English and American Studies at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt. Twice a semester, leading scholars and writers from around the world present their work in the fields of American Studies, English Studies, and Anglophone Literatures and Cultures.

Past Events


  • 10 December 2020: Concrete Ruins: Ruins Made of Concrete, or Specific Ruins; also Processes of Ruining Caused by Concrete. Guest lecture by Kylie Crane. More information here...
  • 06 February 2020: ‘None of the Guilty Will Be Spared’: Atmospheric terror in George Brant’s Grounded. Guest lecture by Daniel O'Gorman. More information here...
  • 29 January 2020: "In Conversation with Pavan Malreddy & Reading from Satin Island". Guest lecture by Tom McCarthy. More information here...


  • 14 November 2019: "Resisting Activism: The Politics of Apathy and Disengagement in South Asian Women's Fiction". Guest Lecture by Maryam Mirza. More information here...
  • 11 July 2019: "Interlopers: Mapping Creative and Destructive Encounters between Asia and the West". Guest lecture by Elmar Schenkel. More information here...
  • 27 June 2019: ‘A real event in slow motion’: (Northern) Irish Poetry After Brexit’. Guest lecture by Colin Graham. More information here...
  • 23 May 2019: Narrating Globalisation, Contesting Politics of Space in the Work of Amitav Ghosh. Guest lecture by Florian Stadtler More information here...
  • 09 May 2019: Queer Writing in Uganda – The Struggle for Literary Space. Guest lecture by Beatrice Lamwaka. More information here...
  • 25 April 2019: Australia’s Postcolonial Turn. The Mabo Decision and Australian Fiction. Guest lecture by Geoffrey Rodoreda (Stuttgart). More information here ...

  • 19 January 2019: Towards a Narrative of (Re)Conciliation? Post-War Sri Lankan Literature in English. Guest by Birte Heidemann-Malreddy (Bremen). More information here ...


  • 15 November 2018: The Return of the Admiral: Re-fashioning Swahili waters in the 'Dragonfly Sea'. AFRASO guest lecture by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Nairobi/Berlin). More information here ...

  • 1 November 2018: Soundtrack included: How Music Adds an Extra Layer of Storytelling to a Bildungsroman. Guest lecture by Campbell Jefferys. More information here ...

  • 24 October 2018: Bandhani, emankeeki and kanga – Three Sisters of an Asian-African Heritage. The Complexities of Gendered and Race Relations in the Work of Sultan Somjee. Guest lecture by Mala Pandurang (Mumbai). More information here ...

  • 7 June 2018: The negotiation of (im)mobility in Anglophone Maori short stories. Guest lecture by Leonie John. Download the flyer here ...

  • 17 May 2018: Transcultural competence and English literature classes. A reconstructive study on the use of fictions of migrations in the EFL classroom. Guest lecture by Annika Kreft. Download the flyer here ...

  • 3 May 2018: Ngũgĩ in India: A Transcultural Dialogue. Guest lecture by Venugopalrao Nellutla. More information here ...

  • 8 February 2018: Can the Slum-dweller Speak? Katherine Boo and the Postcolonial Politics of Literary Journalism. Guest lecture by Alex Tickell. More information here ...

  • 1 February 2017: Concepts of Development in Postcolonial Kenyan Writing. Guest lecture by Martina Kopf. More information here ...


  • 7 December 2017: ‘Travelling Cultures’:  Reading Nineteenth-Century British Narratives about Movement and Mobility. Guest lecture by Nadia Butt (University of Giessen). More information here ...

  • 26 October 2017: In Transition: The Aesthetics and Politics of the ‘Across Factor’. In Transition lecture by Ranjan Ghosh (University of North Bengal). More information here ...

  • 4 - 6 October 2017: South Asian Diaspora International Reseacher’s Network (SADIRN) Graduate Academy 2017. More information here ...

  • 13 July 2017: Sovereignty On Camera: Documentary, Performance and War in Syria. Guest Lecture by Enrique Galvan-Alvarez. More information here ...

  • 6 July 2017: Towards Transcultural Ecology: Learning | Reading. Guest lecture by Roman Bartosch. More information here ...

  • 13 June 2017: Indian Ocean Memories and African Migrants. AFRASO Lecture and Film Screening by Shihan de Silva More information here ...

  • 4 May 2017: Sperm Count. The Scoresbys and the North. In Transition lecture by Graham Huggan. More information here ...



  • 1-7 December, 2014, Dakar (Senegal): Photographs of 19th and 20th century Africa: Changing perspectives and object histories in school textbooks and digital archives. More information here ...

  • 21-23 September, 2014: Postgraduate Forum Reading Across Cultures. New Comparative Approaches in a Globalized World.  More information here ...