Graduate Students

For graduate student email addresses, please click on their name. For further information about the academic training, research projects and publications of our graduate students, please consult their Open Scholar Profiles which can be accessed by clicking on their photos.

Sonja Andersen

Sonja Andersen joined the German Department in 2013 after studying Comparative Literature and German at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation looks at the intersections between the works of four poets and artists of the 17th century: Anna Maria van Schurman, Catharina Regina von Greiffenberg, Anna Owena Hoyers, and Maria Sibylla Merian. As a recipient of Princeton’s Hyde fellowship in 2016, she conducted research in various archives across Europe. She was recently awarded a seed grant from the Center for Digital Humanities to pursue a collaborative project, in which an artifact featured in her dissertation will be rendered as a 3D model. Currently, she is co-organizing the Center for Medieval Studies’ graduate conference in April 2018, entitled “Superstition and Magic in the Medieval and Early Modern periods.”

Paul M. Babinski

Paul Babinski is a PhD candidate studying the history of orientalist literature. His dissertation, “World Literature in Practice: The Orientalist Manuscript, 1600-1800,” works from the manuscripts, notebooks, marginalia, and letters of European orientalists to follow the transformation of practices from the mid-seventeenth to the early nineteenth century, with a particular focus on how Ottoman institutions, scholars, and scholarship facilitated and informed the work of early modern German, Dutch, and French orientalists. Subjects addressed in the dissertation include…(more information)

Baharak Beizaei

Baharak Beizaei studied Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and Music at University of Toronto and the Glenn Gould School of Music before joining Princeton’s Department of German in 2017. Her primary research interests are at the intersection of philosophy and literature, with particular emphasis on the idea of prose in Hegel and Benjamin. Other preoccupations include theories of knowledge as they bear on tradition and mediality, the afterlife of the Frankfurt School, psychoanalytic theory, Jewish philosophy, philosophies of history (Marx & Nietzsche), Trauerspiel and the nexus of sovereignty, law, and fiction, and inevitably, Proust.

Anat Benzvi

Anat Benzvi

Anat Benzvi, is a PhD. candidate in the German Department as of Fall 2013, as well as a poet. Her current research interests include historical questions about religion and poetics circa 1800 and philosophical questions about sovereignty, the modeling of religious formations, and the topography of literary authorship. She previously studied at the University of Chicago, Freie Universität Berlin, and the University of Texas at Austin. Her poems can be found in Dear Sir, Fairy Tale Review, Handsome, Sonora Review, Shoppinghour, and Western Humanities Review, and she edits “angled poetics” for the online journal Likestarlings. She was recently awarded a fellowship by the Princeton University Center for Human Values.

Christine Bernshaus

Christine Bernshaus joined the German Department as a Ph.D. student in Fall 2017. She received her B.A in German Studies as well as her M.A in Media and Culture Studies from Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. She also earned an M.A. in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Washington University in St.Louis.
Christine’s research reflects her diverse interests which include media theory and sociology – with a particular focus on the religious turn using the theories of Max Weber, Émil Durkheim and the Collège de Sociologie. In addition to that she is interested in research projects with respect to New German Cinema and Fin-de-Siècle Vienna.

Mary Grayson S. Brook

Mary Grayson S. Brook

Mary Grayson “MG” Brook, holds a BA in German from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on questions of realism and inheritance in 19th century literature. Other interests include representations of landscape and nature, short forms of fiction, and gender and sexuality. MG is a graduate affiliate of the Program in European Cultural Studies.

Alexander Draxl

Alexander Draxl joined the German Department in Fall 2017, after studying Educational Sciences (BA, MA) and Psychology (BSc) at the University of Innsbruck and spending a semester as a visiting graduate student at the University of Alberta. His interests include psychoanalytic theory, Erste Kulturwissenschaft (Freud, Benjamin, and Warburg), Martin Heidegger (especially the History of Being), 20th and 21st century literature specializing in women’s writing, e.g. Ingeborg Bachmann, Christa Wolf, Elfriede Jelinek, and Marlene Streeruwitz. His current research focuses on philosophies of fate.

Matthew Shen Goodman

Matthew Shen Goodman

Matthew Shen Goodman joined the German Department in 2016. He graduated from Swarthmore College with a special major in sociology and philosophy. He is a senior editor at Triple Canopy.

Daniel Kashi

Daniel Kashi

Daniel Kashi is a PhD student in Princeton since 2012. He studied German Literature and Philosophy at Freie Universität and Humboldt Universität in Berlin where he received his MA. His interests include Theory of Jokes, Tropes of Sovereignty, Marxism(s), and Theology. His MA thesis he wrote on Marx and Benjamin in the work of Giorgio Agamben. In 2009 he published an essay on Bartleby the Scrivener („Bartleby, der neue Messias?“). Off campus Daniel is a passionate swing dancer.

Sebastian Klinger

Sebastian Klinger

Sebastian Klinger is a literary scholar specializing in Germanophone modernism. He takes both interdisciplinary and theoretically orientated approaches to literature, and focuses especially on the intersections of literature, media and medicine. In his dissertation project, tentatively entitled “The Poetology of Sleep, 1880-1929”, Sebastian offers a critical account of the promiscuous emergence of the modern notion of sleep in neuroscience, physiology, literature and film. In addition to studying subject formation in the shadow of the human sciences, the scope of his research interests comprises rhetoric, lyrical poetry, and questions of aesthetics and intermediality. Before coming to Princeton as a PhD candidate in 2015, Sebastian graduated from the University of Oxford.

Gyoonho Kong

Gyoonho Kong joined the German Department in Fall 2017. Before he joined the department, he received his B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis in Comparative Literature and German Literature, with a minor in Spanish. After receiving his B.A., he served 2 years in the Republic of Korea Army as a military interpreter and linguist, stationed in a joint service unit with the 3rd Military Intelligence battalion of the United States Army. Gyoonho’s research interests include Modernism, experimental poetry, European Avant-Garde, and translation theory.

Casey McCreary

Casey McCreary joined the German Department in the fall of 2017. Before attending Princeton, she studied at the University of Colorado — Boulder, where she received a B.A. in Russian Studies and a B.A. and M.A. in German Studies. During her time at the University of Colorado, Casey spent a year doing undergraduate study at Charles University and a year of graduate research and study at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Her current focus is on the intersection of medicine and religion in the Early and High Middle Ages with a special interest in rhetorical devices in medical recipes and their representation in fiction. Further interests include religious conversion, popular religion, gender and sexuality, ritual, and Russian folklore and absurdist fiction.

Atussa H. Mohtasham

Atussa Hamamoto Mohtasham joined the German Department in Fall 2018. She received a B.A. in Comparative Literature and German Studies and a Minor in Iranian Studies from Stanford University before starting her Ph.D. at Princeton. She spent a year as a DAAD Undergraduate Scholar at the Universität Heidelberg studying German language, literature, and philosophy. Her overarching interest is in modernity and the intertwined histories of literature, philosophy, and science. Specific interests include the philosophy of identity and difference, German Romanticism, Naturphilosophie, the transformation and critique of subjectivity, Expressionism, Nietzsche and his legacy, the question of high and low in art, and the philosophy of sense perception and attention. She has an auxiliary interest in German Orientophilia and Germany’s reception of Persian and Islamic culture.

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Manuela Peitz

Manuela Peitz joined the German Department as a Ph.D. student in Fall 2019. Before joining Princeton, she studied political science and philosophy at Heidelberg University, Sciences Po Paris, American University of Beirut, and Free University Berlin. In her master’s thesis, she researched postcolonial memory politics in Germany, investigating forms of public remembrance in Berlin. During her studies, she focused on political theory, especially on critical thought and thinkers like Walter Benjamin, Carl Schmitt, and Michel Foucault and their thoughts on ‘the political’, sovereignty, violence, and power…

Mareike Peschl

Mareike Peschl researches historical notions of contradiction, such as the difference between corporeal and verbal expression, and their bearing on ideas of transformation and storytelling. Shifts between different medial renderings and discussions on aesthetic perception are recurring themes in her work, addressing phenomena in the psychological, artistic and scientific fields. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Cultural History and Theory from Humboldt University Berlin. She has studied at New York University and was a Junior Fellow at the International Center for Cultural Studies (IFK) in Vienna. She joined the Princeton German Department in Fall 2018.

Julian Petri

Julian Petri studies German literature and philosophy around 1800 and is completing a dissertation about the representation of agency in the works of Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811). He is also interested in Robert Musil and the history of psychology, and he has worked in theater as a dramaturge. He holds master’s degrees in political thought and intellectual history from Cambridge University and in German literature from Princeton, and he has taught German philosophy as well as German language at Princeton, freshman writing at Deep Springs College, and American literature through Princeton’s Prison Teaching Initiative. In 2017-18, he will be a founding teacher of the humanities at Sequoyah School, a new progressive high school in Pasadena, CA.

Elias Pitegoff

Elias Pitegoff joined the German department in Fall 2018. He previously graduated from Brown University with a degree in German Studies and lived in Berlin working as a translator, writer, and actor for several years. His research interests include but are not limited to theories of translation and the notion of an idiom, Yiddish literary culture, and German Modernist literature and drama.

Anton Pluschke

Anton Pluschke

Anton Pluschke studied Comparative Literature and Philosophy at Humboldt and Free University in Berlin, at the Berlin Institute of Technology and at the Université de Lausanne. He received his M.A. degree at Peter Szondi Institute with a thesis on the power of Oblivion in the works of Martin Heidegger, Elena Esposito and Friedrich Kittler. In 2011 Anton organized a conference to commemorate and rethink the legacy of Daniel Paul Schreber. He gave conference talks at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, the German National Academic Foundation and the Annual Conference of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. His research interests include the classical foundations of Modern Literature in Antiquity, Deconstruction, System’s Theory, the Philosophy of Language, Ethics, Law and Literature and Media Theory. Anton is particularly interested in the form of Justice that can be provided by literary operations vis à vis the legal and philosophical tradition.

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Elisa Purschke

Elisa Purschke joined Princeton’s German Department in fall 2019. A comparatist, she is dedicated to thinking across Western and Eastern European traditions of literature, philosophy and knowledge, with a focus on Germano- and Russophone areas. Second, her research aims at addressing relations between theory and (political, academic/institutional, philological) practice, querying the modern divide between natural and human sciences…

Ron Sadan

Ron Sadan is a fourth-year graduate student who works on the print culture of the Weimar Republic with a focus on the contested status of the book as the primary media format of literature in German modernism. He is especially interested why the book became a problem for artists and writers of literary modernism and the philological challenges raised by non-book forms of ambitious writing, such as the literary manuscript and the feuilleton. A graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis, he studied with a grant from the DAAD at the Free University-Berlin before coming to Princeton in fall 2015. Currently, he researches toward his dissertation as a Fulbright fellow at the Humboldt University in Berlin.

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Dennis Schäfer

Dennis Schäfer is a Ph.D. student who came to Princeton’s German Department in 2019. Previously, Dennis studied German and English at the University of Cologne and was a visiting student on an Erasmus scholarship at the University of Warwick, UK. He earned an M.A. from The Ohio State University where he wrote an M.A. thesis that investigated the deal of the devil through a Marxist critique of Goethe’s Faust, Keller’s Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe and Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter. Before coming Princeton, Dennis taught German at the Goethe Institute Dresden and worked as a research associate for the MitteleuropaZentrum at the TU Dresden as well as a film analyst for the Theresienstadt/Terezin Gedenkstätte. European Romanticism, film and media studies and the lives and afterlives of Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche are defining features of his research…



Diba Shokri

Diba Shokri

Diba Shokri currently researches the historical establishment of key “psychologizing” categories in literary studies, narratology in particular. She investigates, for example, how such categories relate to self-observation theories and practices in experimental psychology around 1900. Neighboring fields of interest include the history of psychology more broadly, the various logics of (literary) historiographies, the sociology and poetics in the construction of knowledge and emotion, as well as rhetoric and genre theory. Diba read Comparative Literature (MPhil, BA), Psychology and Sociology (BSc) in Munich and Oxford, before joining Princeton’s German Department in the fall of 2015.


William Stewart

William Stewart

William Stewart joined the Department of German in 2015 after working for a number of years in the studio of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. His dissertation traces a cultural and intellectual history within German-speaking contexts in the decades after the Second World War, one marked by a left-political commitment to rationalism and technology. Through case studies including Max Bense, the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm, Oswald Wiener, Hanne Darboven, and Uwe Johnson, it considers how the then-new fields of cybernetics and information theory continued older intellectual and political projects such as Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encylopédie or Leibniz’s mathesis universalis. Since 2018, he has also been a member of Princeton’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM), and for the 2018-2019 academic year, he is a Fulbright scholar in Germany.


Andreas Strasser

Andreas Strasser

Andreas Strasser has been a graduate student in Princeton’s German Department since 2015. He studied Comparative Literature, Theater Studies, and Philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Edinburgh, and Humboldt Universität. His research interests include theories of aesthetic experience; German philosophy in the 18th and 19th century; the relation of literature and violence, especially in the 20th century; and the relation between economic processes, historical experience, and aesthetic form.



Sean W. Toland

Sean W. Toland

Sean Toland entered the German Department as a PhD candidate in 2013. He completed a BA in Comparative Literature and Intellectual History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2012 and has studied at the Universität Konstanz. He has held a DAAD study grant at the Peter Szondi Institute for Comparative Literature at the FU Berlin, and support from a Fulbright grant for research at the HU Berlin and LMU Munich. His dissertation research examines the relationship between the social practices and subjective experiences of musical performance in early 19th century discussions of instrumental music. Further interests include the relationship between ethical and aesthetic discourse in general; ideas of “musicality” in lyric poetry; theories of humor and comedy; and German philosophy of the 18th through 20th centuries.”

Kathrin Sophie Witter

Kathrin Witter joined the Princeton German Department in Fall 2018. She studied cultural studies, antisemitism research and some philosophy in Munich and Berlin. Her research is focused on the early Frankfurt School’s critical theory. She wrote her M.A. thesis on the philosophies of Theodor W. Adorno and Walter Benjamin regarding their concepts of what they would sometimes call ‘micrology’; it centrally touches questions of truth and representation. Further fields of work include 20th century German and Austrian literature, aesthetic theory and antisemitism in Germany during National Socialism and beyond. She held a scholarship by the German Academic Scholarship Foundation and a merit grant by the Center for Human Values. Her dissertation project is a theory of the postmodern novel.