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

Sonja Andersen is a second year graduate student in Princeton’s Department of German. Her current research investigates innovations and developments in the novel’s form during the 18th and 19th centuries. She is particular interested in the works of Goethe, Novalis, Keller, Storm and Stifter. Before coming to Princeton, she studied German and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania.

Angiras Arya

Angiras Arya

Angiras Arya, the Assistant Director of the Department’s Summer Work Program, is a Ph.D candidate in the German Department where he is writing a dissertation on Rilke’s Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge. After undergraduate studies at Amherst College and a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Austria, Angiras earned his M.A. in German from Princeton University in 2009. Since then he been employed as a part-time Lecturer, teaching all of the 100-level courses that constitute the German Department’s language sequence. From 2011 to 2013, working closely with Prof. Jamie Rankin, he adapted the syllabus of GER 101/102 for the specific needs of graduate students wishing to develop proficiency in reading as well as speaking and listening. The result is a hybrid course emphasizing both communicative proficiency and close-reading skills, which prepares graduate students both for work on research materials in German and for life in a German-speaking environment as they carry out their research. Since 2013, Angiras has expanded the internships offered by the Summer Work Program, extended the capabilities of the website and transitioned to a web-based application process. During the 2014-2015 academic year, some of his top priorities are improving student interns’ experience of immigration, funding and housing.

Paul M. Babinski

Paul M. Babinski

Paul Babinski is a second year PhD student in the German Department. He works on subjects related to literary and media history from the early modern period through the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on the late Enlightenment. His interests include reading practices, methods of image reproduction, drawings, book illustration, practices of collecting, categorizing and compiling, as well as the history of pedagogical practices and publications. He is especially interested in the material circumstances of the transmission of information about the world into Germany, in particular the collection, translation and reception of texts from the Ottoman Empire. Before coming to Princeton in 2013, he studied at the University of Colorado – Boulder.

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.

Matthew Birkhold

Matthew H. Birkhold received his B.A. in German Literature and Cultural History from Columbia University in 2008 and joined the German Department in 2009 after completing his first year at Columbia Law School. Matthew will complete his J.D. in 2014 and is currently finishing a dissertation on fan fiction and intellectual property in 18th-century Germany. His teaching and research interests include: law and literature; German literature and culture, especially from 1600-1900; history of the book; legal history; art, media, and cultural heritage law; international law, especially the law of war; psychoanalysis; German opera.

Alice Christensen

Alice Christensen has been a doctoral student in the German Department at Princeton since fall 2010 and received her MA in 2013. Her dissertation traces a cultural history of heat in Germany and Europe in the years around 1900. She is a fellow in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM) and spent January-October 2014 as a Visiting Associate Fellow at the Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM) at the Bauhaus Universität-Weimar with the support of a DAAD fellowship. She previously studied German literature and the natural sciences at Johns Hopkins University and the Freie Universität-Berlin and holds a master’s degree in epidemiology from Yale. Her research interests include German literature and philosophy of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the history of the human sciences, philosophy of language, history and theory of the novel, and German film.

Megan Ewing

Megan Ewing

Megan Ewing received a B.S. in Biology and German Literature from the University of Michigan. She has held fellowships from the Fulbright Commission (University of Vienna, AY 2003-04) and the DAAD (University of Greifwald, AY 2010-11). Her dissertation is titled “Return to Aisthesis: The Collage Books of R.D. Brinkmann” and examines the role of sense perception in Rolf Dieter Brinkmann’s late collage practice, exploring its relationship to American aesthetic models, specifically those of the New York School and Conceptual Art. Research interests include the philosophy of the senses, aesthetics, media theory and history, and Austrian literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Daniel Fehr

Daniel Fehr is a Ph.D. candidate at the German Department and a freelance artist. Before he joined the program in 2008 he studied photography at the Zurich University of the Arts and the School of Visual Arts in New York. His academic research interests include interrelations between literature and religion from the 18th to 20th century and the knowledge respectively authority of literature; culture practices, especially techniques of reading and writing; media theory and the history of philology. Particularly, he studies cultural constellations in which media or media based operation hold a constitutive function for the subject. His dissertation, “Writing Conversion: Religious and Political Conversions in German Modernity,” is situated in this context. Fehr is currently (AY 2011-12) an guest doctoral student at the ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

Daniela Gandorfer

Daniela Gandorfer

Daniela Gandorfer is a PhD candidate at the German Department. Before joining the program, she studied German Literature and Law at the University of Vienna where she graduated with a Magister (M.A.) in the spring of 2013. Daniela completed her thesis on Kafka’s The Trial with focus on the legal systems depicted in the novel.

Daniela is mainly interested in critical legal theory, media theory, law and humanities, legal and political philosophy, gender studies and law.”


Elaine Fitz Gibbon

Elaine Fitz Gibbon

Elaine Fitz Gibbon is a graduate student in the German Department (entered 2014). After completing her B.A. in German studies and musicology at the University of Pennsylvania, she spent a year at the University of Heidelberg pursuing research and building marionettes. She is particularly interested in opera and vocal music of the 20th and 21st centuries in addition to German intellectual and literary (in particular, lyric) traditions from the 18th century to the present. A recent project involved the translation of four texts by Bernd Alois Zimmermann on the future of opera and his own opera, “Die Soldaten,” for Opera Quarterly. She also enjoys playing chamber music on modern and baroque cellos.

Mladen Gladić

Mladen Gladić received an MA in German Literature, Philosophy, and Political Science from the University of Cologne. After research positions at the Sonderforschungsbereich Medien und kulturelle Kommunikation, Cologne and the NCCR Iconic Criticism: The Power and Meaning of Images (eikones), Basel, he joined the graduate program of the German Department in Spring 2008. In 2010 Mladen was a guest researcher at Bauhaus Universität, Weimar (Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie, IKKM). He has coordinated the Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies since 2011. Mladen has published articles on Adorno, Jean-Luc Nancy, Kant, and Benjamin, and is currently writing a dissertation on the media genre of war reporting, from William Howard Russel to Peter Handke, and from Johann Wolfgang Goethe to warblogging. Together with Christoph Engemann (Weimar), he is editing an English language reader on German Media Studies.

Hannah Hunter-Parker

Hannah Hunter-Parker entered the program in Fall 2010, having received her BA from Middlebury College in German Literature and the History of Art & Architecture. She was awarded her MA from Princeton in the department in 2013. Her dissertation on German Romanticism and the medium aevum (co-advised by Profs. Sara Poor & Nikolaus Wegmann) explores the medial conditions for new attentions to Medieval German literature in the writings of Ludwig Tieck and his circle around 1800. Her research interests include: Late medieval and early modern Germanic cultures; the Artusepik and courtly romance; reading practices, past and present; text-image space in manuscripts; media and meaning; nineteenth- and twentieth-century receptions of medieval texts and culture; histories of Philology /Germanistik. She has presented on the works of medieval, early-modern, and nineteenth-century authors, most recently, on the topic of her dissertation at the University of Cologne and in the Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies (both June 2014). During AY 2013-2014 she conducted dissertation research in Berlin funded by a Donald and Mary Hyde Academic-Year Fellowship for Research Abroad in the Humanities.

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 entered the German Department as a PhD candidate in 2015. Before coming to Princeton, he studied Literature, Philosophy and History of Art in Bamberg and Oxford, where he received his MPhil with a thesis on Rilke’s politics of reference. Sebastian’s research interests are centered around the cultural history of Modernism, with an emphasis on lyrical poetry. Other interests include aesthetics, intermediality, psychoanalysis and comparative approaches to German literature since 1800. His most recent publication relates Paul Celan to the religious philosopher Lev Shestov (forthcoming in the November issue of Jahrbuch der deutschen Schiller-Gesellschaft).

Carolina Malagon

Carolina Malagon

Carolina Malagon has been a Ph.D. candidate in the German Department since the fall of 2011. She received her B.A. in German Studies from Yale University in 2008 and her M.A. in German Literature from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2011. Currently, she is researching the relationship between literature and chemistry in the Romantic period, particularly in the works of Johann Wilhelm Ritter, Hans Christian Ørsted, Schelling, Friedrich Schlegel and others. Other major interests include: lyric poetry; formalism; poetics of knowledge; historiography of science; practices of reading; intermediality.

Hannes Mandel

Hannes Mandel

Hannes Mandel is a PhD candidate in the German Department. Before coming to Princeton, he studied at the Film and Television University in Potsdam-Babelsberg and the University of Potsdam, Germany – from where he graduated with a Master degree in Media Studies. He has worked for the Franco-German TV network arte, co-organized the international short film festival EmergeAndSee, and assisted in organizing an art exhibition and academic conference on multitasking in Berlin. His research interests are situated between media studies and their academic origin (in Germany) “Literaturwissenschaft”, and include media theory, the history of technology, cultural (media) practices (“Mediengebrauch”), and in particular relationships of media and cultural nostalgias, mostly in but not limited to the “very long” 20th century.

Jonathan S. Martin

Jonathan S. Martin

Jonathan S. Martin has been a PhD. candidate in the German Department since 2012. He received his BA in German, Medieval Studies, and Classics from the University of Michigan in 2010 and an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from the University of Freiburg, Germany, in 2012. His research interests are centered around medieval German literature and culture, with a special interest in law and literature. Other interests include cultural transfer and multilingualism, the medieval boundaries between fictional and historical writing, and the medieval reception of classical antiquity. He is currently working on his dissertation, which will explore the use of changing legal concepts of consent and intentionality, primarily in the works of Heinrich von Veldeke and Hartmann von Aue.

Julian Petri

Julian Petri

Julian Petri is a third-year graduate student in Princeton’s German Department and is currently studying Goethe, Kleist, Nietzsche, and Musil. Before coming to Princeton, he pursued interests in social theory, political philosophy, and intellectual history at Deep Springs College, Harvard, and King’s College, Cambridge. He’s also involved in Princeton’s Prison Teaching Initiative, where he has taught twentieth-century American literature.

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.

Frederic Ponten

Frederic Ponten

Frederic Ponten is a PhD Candidate in the German Department. He previously studied in Siegen, Barcelona, Berlin and Baltimore and received a BA degree in Literary Studies and an MA degree in Media Studies from the University of Siegen. Main research interests lie in anthropological and sociological approaches to literary and media studies. His dissertation deals with the intellectual history of texts analyzing Nazi Germany and its alterity during WWII in the Anglo-American world.

Cornelius Reiber

Cornelius Reiber

Cornelius Reiber is a Ph.D. candidate completing a dissertation on “apparent death” in 18th century texts, projects, and experiments. He received his M.A. in German, History, and Kulturwissenschaft from the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and is currently Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at the Freie Universität Berlin for the “Phonopost” project led By Prof. Thomas Levin. His most recent publication is together with Nikolaus Wegmann “Deutsche Literatur. Die Gruppe 47 in Princeton” in: Sprache und Literatur 43/2 (2012).

Diba Shokri

Diba Shokri

Diba Shokri joined the Princeton German Department in autumn 2015.
She holds Bachelor Degrees in both Comparative Literature and Psychology from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and graduated from Oxford University (MPhil) with a thesis on religion in the writings of Andrian and Musil. She has been a scholarship holder of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes throughout.
Diba’s preferred readings are from 1800 onwards, with strong interest in the European turn of the century. At Oxford, she laid emphasis on studying the reception of Nietzsche in the German-speaking lands, Aestheticist and Decadent Literature, Jung-Wien, the poetry of Trakl and the writings of Musil. Diba now likes to engage with questions from a wide spectrum of methodologies and fields, among them Narratology and Intermediality, Literary Anthropology, Poetics of Affect as well as Sociology and Literature.

Tanvi Solanki

Tanvi Solanki is a fifth year graduate student in the Department of German. She received her B.A. in Comparative Literature and Germanic Studies from the University of Chicago (2008) and has studied in Berlin, Konstanz, Heidelberg, Vienna and Paris. In AY 2012-13 she was the recipient of a DAAD research grant which she spent as a visiting scholar affiliated with the Phd-Net “Wissen der Literatur” at the Humboldt University in Berlin. In Summer and Fall 2012 she conducted research at the Duchess Anna Amalia library and the Goethe and Schiller archives in Weimar and the BnF in Paris on a Donald and Mary Hyde Fellowship. She is currently completing a dissertation with the working title “Reading as Listening: The Birth of Cultural Acoustics 1760-1804.” Her research has taken her down the following paths of inquiry: the discourse of the pathological and its relation to the ‘aesthetic’ in 17th-20th century literature, medicine and philosophy; the history of reading as cultural technique; the history of prosody, meter, verse forms; oral and acoustic techniques in rhetoric and pedagogy such as declamations; material cultures of the Enlightenment and the Gelehrtenrepublik; practices of textual circulation, translation across medial boundaries; Sanskrit’s function for German philology. A paper given at a 2013 conference in Wittenberg on Materialität von Aufklärung und Volkskultur: Bücher, Bilder, Praxen is forthcoming in German as “Rhythmus gegen den Fluss: Herder und das ‘Meer der Gelehrsamkeit’.”

William Stewart

William Stewart

William Stewart received his B.A. in 2012 from the University of Notre Dame, having studied in its Great Books Program, the Program of Liberal Studies. In 2013, he completed an M.A. in German Studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin under the auspices of Middlebury College in Vermont. Since that time, he has worked in the Berlin studio of the contemporary visual artist Olafur Eliasson. His interests include intellectual and cultural history, specifically theories of myth and modernity.


Mareike Stoll

Mareike Stoll joined the doctoral program in the Department of German in 2008 after completing her M.A. (Magistra Artium) in Comparative Literature and in Art History at the Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin in 2005. Her M.A. thesis Erzähltechniken der Überblendung: Zeit, Photographie, Stückwerk bei W.G. Sebald was advised by Prof. Winfried Menninghaus. During the academic year 2011/2012 she was a guest scholar at the ZfL (Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung) in Berlin and in the summer of 2013 she spent four months at the Universität Konstanz as a guest doctoral student in the Graduiertenkolleg “Das Reale in der Kultur der Moderne.” Her research interests include concepts of emptiness in literature and photography, the history of photography and photobooks, the 20th century novel, female writers in the 21st century writing in German (not in their mother-tongue), and Vergleichendes Sehen. She has published papers on crime scenes and the notion of guilt as connected to capitalism in the work of Walter Benjamin, on photographers Joachim Brohm and Eugène Atget, and most recently, on Handschrift und Schreibmaschine in the correspondence between Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan. Public presentations include papers on conditions of emptiness in photographs by Michael Schmidt, on the series “Female” by photographer Jitka Hanzlová, and on Denkraum in photo-constellations by Aby Warburg and Karl Blossfeldt.

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 and at the Peter Szondi Institute for Comparative Literature at the FU Berlin. His research interests include theories of humor and the history of comedy; psychoanalysis; relationships between literature and music; German literature and philosophy of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Matthew Vollgraff

Matthew Vollgraff

Matthew Vollgraff is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the German department and a fellow in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM). Before coming to Princeton he studied at the Humboldt-Universtität zu Berlin and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in Comparative Literature in 2010. With the support of a DAAD fellowship, he is spending the current academic year 2014-2015 as a visiting scholar at the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung (ZfL), Berlin. His research interests include aesthetic psychology, German-Jewish cultural history, gesture, mimesis, morphology and myth. Matthew is presently writing a dissertation on Ausdruckskunde, the study of expressive movement in the early 20th century, with a focus on the work of Aby Warburg, Helmuth Plessner, Ludwig Klages and Sergei Eisenstein.