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Dr. Nele Sawallisch

wiss. Mitarbeiterin, Abteilung Scheiding

I studied American Studies/English, French, and Education as a member of the Dijonbüro’s trinational curriculum for teachers, which led me to universities in France and Quebec. I hold equivalent BA and MA degrees from the Université de Bourgogne in France, and an M.A. and State Exam from JGU Mainz. I have completed my PhD at the Obama Institute in 2017. My first monograph Fugitive Borders: Black Canadian Cross-Border Literature at Mid-Nineteenth Century appeared in early 2019 (transcript).

My MA and PhD projects have received funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. As a PhD candidate, I have participated in the Institute for World Literature’s 2014 session in Hongkong, and the Fulbright Commission’s American Studies Institute in San Francisco in 2016. I have also presented at international conferences in Europe, Canada, and the United States. I am a member of the GKS (Gesellschaft für Kanada-Studien) and the DGfA (German Association for American Studies), whose 25th Postgraduate Forum I co-organized in Mainz in 2014. At the Institute, I serve as a post-doctoral lecturer.

Current Research

My doctoral work focused on autobiographical life writing by former slaves who fled to Canada hoping to find a life in freedom and peace and their forms of textual community building in the 1850s. I have also applied my scholarship on African American and African Canadian literatures and cultures with a focus on the nineteenth century in my teaching. Most recently, I have begun work on my second book project, which will center on the history of comedy, comedy formats, and humor studies in the United States.


  • African American and African Canadian history, literature, and literary history
  • Nineteenth-Century American Literature
  • Life Writing
  • Transnational American Studies
  • Humor Studies, Comedy Studies

I take immense pleasure in teaching, the interaction in the classroom, and good student papers. I am committed to get students involved in the classroom and create learning environments that both challenge and invite them to participate in the exploration of texts, theories, and writing formats.


Dr. Nele Sawallisch
Philosophicum II
Jakob-Welder-Weg 20
Room 02.229

Phone: +49-6131-39-20295
Fax: +49-6131-39-22480

Office hours:
Mon, 10-12

Office hours during term break:
Feb 10, 10-12
Mar 2, 10-12
April 6, 11-12