Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Germanic Languages and Literatures

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation investigates how recent German-language literary and cinematic texts depict the interpellation of contemporary subjects under neoliberal capitalism. As I argue, the texts signal, reflect, and comment on the emergence of new types of subjectivities with precarious non-conforming identities, bodily desires, and pleasures struggling to persist under coercive social and economic systems. My core works express a sense of pessimism regarding both the present and future and foreground the ways in which bodies and minds are exposed to normative forces that act on, regulate, and resituate them. As I engage with questions of political agency, subjectivity, performativity, precarity, and neoliberalist capitalism in twenty-first-century German-language texts, I draw attention to how German-language texts specifically generate productive modes of inquiry when placed in conversation with queer and gender theory and vice versa. My analysis shows how these texts employ motifs of time and temporal patterns, rather than place and space more commonly emphasized in analyses since what has often been called the spatial turn, to explore the potential to engender reconfigurations of subjectivity. Tracing out-of-sync and non-teleological moments and momentums in the core texts, I show how the works uncover a temporary promise of breaking free from the dominant, restricting social structure, even as they make clear that this schism cannot and should not be permanent. These performative acts and discursive strategies of breaking free, I argue, extend the promise of (un)doing and (un)becoming, offering the prospect of developing and refining new strategies of queer world-making.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Jennifer M. Kapczynski

Committee Members

Kurt Beals, Erin McGlothlin, Amber Jamilla Musser, Faye Stewart, Lynne Tatlock


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