PD Dr. Nadja Gernalzick

Adjunct Faculty, Privatdozentin (Titellehre)
At the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at the University of Mainz, I teach as private lecturer and member of the Adjunct Faculty, and as Senior Research Fellow I am associated with the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna. After undergraduate studies at San Jose State University in California and later postgraduate studies and research at Columbia University, New York, I completed MA, PhD and habilitation degrees in Comparative Literature and American Studies at Mainz University, and have held professorial and lecturing positions in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Canada since 1998.

In my research and publications, I practice approaches from various fields. I published monographs on economy and money in the grammatology of Jacques Derrida and in postmodern and American literary theory, and on filmic autobiography and temporality. Currently, I am working on a narratological and intersectional study of images of the mother in Anthropocene theory (forthcoming 2024, Palgrave Macmillan) and co-editing the collections Auto/Biography and Reputation Politics (forthcoming 2024, Routledge) and Semiotiken in den Kulturwissenschaften/Semiotics in Cultural Studies (forthcoming April 2024, De Gruyter). In many presentations at international conferences, in articles, and as a co-editor, I have treated works of literature and the arts from a range of periods and genres and involving diverse methods of literary and media theory. I pursue transdisciplinary perspectives and the negotiation of methodological nationalisms,  the comparativist discussion on world literature in postcolonialism and Decoloniality Studies, and applications of Anthropocene Studies, posthumanism, and Earth system theory.

A graduate seminar paper I wrote at the University of Mainz sometime in the mid-1990s, for example, used Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela’s biological theory of autopoiesis for the study of literature. Treating aspects of Material Culture Studies and Art History, the collection The Mediality of Sugar that I co-edited was recently published (Brill 2022). In 2001, I presented the project ARMY STORE/ARMY STORY with extensive documentary film footage collecting autobiographical voices of Mainz citizens and U.S. Army members on their lives with the U.S. Army. The documentary material and objects were shown in a multimedia installation at the former U.S. Army tank repair plant in Mainz-Mombach. Currently, my research mainly concerns material engagement theories and semiotics in the Ocean Humanities.

I supervise work on thesis papers and dissertations in American Studies and Comparative Literature, and generally in Literary, Media, and Cultural Studies and theory.


PD Dr. Nadja Gernalzick


Office hours: by appointment