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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Germanic Languages & Literatures

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Ela Gezen

Second Advisor

Karen Remmler

Third Advisor

Jonathan Skolnik

Fourth Advisor

Jon Olsen

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Comparative Literature | European Languages and Societies | German Literature | Jewish Studies | Modern Literature


Situated at the interdisciplinary nexus of memory studies, German Jewish studies, and literatures of migration, this dissertation engages in historically contextualized close readings of three contemporary novels: Olga Grjasnowa’s Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt (2012), Lena Gorelik’s Die Listensammlerin (2013), and Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s Außer sich (2017)—works by writers who self-identify as Jewish, write in German after reunification, and come from families that emigrated to Germany as quota refugees from former Soviet territories in the early 1990s. Though commonly classified as grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, the third generation of German Jews does not always share the ancestral experience of Nazi terror. Rather, as I illustrate, Grjasnowa, Gorelik, and Salzmann emphasize the connections between multiple precarious positions, memories, and traumas from different national and cultural contexts. Building on recent scholarly discussions that reframe German Jewish literature, I examine how migration inflects memory work in the narratives under discussion in conversation with other historical traumas and reconfigurations of Jewishness to highlight the diversity of contemporary Jewish identities and intersectional solidarities beyond ethnic markers. As such, my project contributes a novel approach to analyzing German-language Jewish writing in three interrelated ways: reading Jewish identities in an intersectional framework; highlighting the centrality of migration (conceptually, thematically, and experientially); and examining (dis)continuities in the public reception and positioning of literary texts labeled based on their authors’ experiences of migration.

Chapter 1 provides a historical contextualization and critical frameworks for ensuing close readings. Chapter 2 considers migration as a network of transitions: spatial, bodily, linguistic, and mnemonic to show how Außer sich complicates binary categories of gender and spatial-temporal constraints of memory. Chapter 3 explores the aesthetics of migration in Die Listensammlerin that shed light on the migration experience through the juxtaposition of personal lists and canonical literature and their respective literary migrations. Chapter 4 employs a reading of Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt which relies on the tension inherent to the notion of migration, understood as movement from origin to destination, to reveal the binary structures and contradictions behind the constructedness of identitarian markers and categories like nation and memory.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Sunday, September 01, 2024