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Personal profile

Anke Pinkert holds an M.A. degree from the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, Germany (1989) and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (2000). Before joining the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Illinois in 2000, she taught courses in German Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago and at Macalester College, MN. In 2001-02, Professor Pinkert returned to Chicago as a Research Fellow at the Franke Institute for the Humanities.

Anke's research and teaching is currently situated within two major tracks -- Memory Studies with a focus on post-Holocaust and postcommunist Germany AND Theories and Practice of the Humanities. Paying particular attention to the aftermath of two turning points in modern German and European history, “1945” and “1989,” her scholarship examines aesthetic and political responses to collective feelings of loss and trauma. Her book Memory and Film in East Germany (Indiana UP, 2008) offers an understanding of how East German film transformed the historical experience of war violence and mass death into an elegiac public memory. She is currently working on a book entitled "Remembering 1989: Future Archives of Public Protest and Assembly." The project is supported by an IPRH New Horizons Summer Faculty Research Fellowship 2017-18.

In her second major area of inquiry, Anke explores recent shifts in Humanities education and research. She is the co-leader of the IPRH research cluster on the "Public Humanities," and the Center for Advanced Studies multidisciplinary initiative on "Learning Publics." From 2009-2014, she served as a faculty affiliate of the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois http://www.educationjustice.net. Anke is particularly interested in developing a new model of publically-engaged Humanities that cultivates an integration of scholarship and experience, research and teaching, theory and practice. Based on her teaching at Danville Correctional Center and on collaborating with students in EJP on an academic article about the transformative effects of Holocaust education, Anke is writing a book-length essay on "Rethinking the Humanities through Higher Education in Prison." This project has been supported by a 2012-13 fellowship in the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.

At the University of Illinois, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on 20th/21st century German literature, film, and culture; critical theory; Holocaust representations; and mass incarceration in film and media.

Anke is also an affiliate faculty of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies at Illinois.

Research Interests

Modern German culture, literature, and film; Holocaust studies; memory and affect; postcommunist transnational studies; Humanities as field, theory, and practice; educational philosophy; mass incarceration

Office Address

3128 FLB

Office Phone


Introduction to Public Humanities, GCL 199
Learning Publics: Theory, Performance, Practice, CAS 587, ANTH 515/EPS 512/GER 576
"1989": Performing Public Dissent - Theory, Literature, Art, GER 575
Radical Hope: Post 1989 Literature, GER 575
Memory and Ethics of Healing in Post-1989 Literature, GER 575/CWL 593
Prison Break: Incarceration and Justice in Film and Public Media, LAS Discovery Course for Freshmen, GER/MACS 199
The Holocaust in Context: Postwar Representations in Literature and Film, GER 260/CWL 271, GEN ED, ADV COMP
Divided Screen: East and West German Postwar Cinema, GER/MACS 494
Rethinking Exile: Travel and Displacement in Postwar German-speaking Literature since 1945, GER 575/CWL 593
Studies in Critical Theory: Cultural Memory and Representation, GER/CWL 570
Imagining Dissent: History, Ideology, and the Literature of East Germany, GER 575/CWL 593
Introduction to Graduate Studies: Literary & Cultural Theories, GER 510
Weimar Culture: Experience, Perception, Decline, GER 575
Action Heroes: Popular Movies and Global Change, LAS Discovery Course for Freshmen, GER/MACS 199
German Literature from the 1920s to Today: Aesthetics and Politics, GER 473
German Popular Culture, GER 201, GEN ED: Literature and Arts, Western Comp Culture

Honors & Awards

Conrad Humanities Scholar for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 2018-2023
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, New Horizons Summer Faculty Research Fellowship, 2017-2018
Center for Advanced Studies Resident Associate for the interdisciplinary initiative "Learning Publics," 2017-18
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities Fellow, "Transforming the Humanities Through Higher Education in Prison," 2012-2013
Giles Whiting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Franke Institute for the Humanities at the University of Chicago, 2001-2002
Dr. Arnold O. Beckman Research Board Award, University of Illinois, 2000


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