Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2019

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 argues for a reassessment of the work of Yadé Kara, the prize-winning and “commercially successful” (Roy) female Turkish German author of the widely-taught Wenderoman (fall-of-the-Berlin-Wall novel) Selam Berlin (2003), its sequel Cafe Cyprus (2008), and the two short stories and texts of occasional literature “Kelim” (2008) and “Lolin” (2009). Kara has been critiqued (McGowan; Cheesman) for her two novels’ mainstream and easily digestible “ethnicness” (in terms of subject matter and style). Drawing on Rey Chow’s concept of “coercive mimeticism” (The Protestant Ethnic), the social phenomenon whereby an “ethnic” person consciously performs that which mainstream Western society deems “appropriately ethnic,” I argue that Kara uses the theme and practise of adaptation and allusion across her oeuvre to critique the aesthetic burden of representation that the German culture industry places upon so-called minority artists. The recurring motif of the Othered artist or performer, a figure whose very survival depends upon regurgitating the familiar and (ostensibly) meeting the expectations of the Western patron, unlocks the subversive intent behind Kara’s works’ overtly compliant “ethnicness.” In Kara’s work, the plight of this figure, the Othered artist or performer, echoes the balancing act the author herself must perform. Kara’s works use postmodern bricolage techniques, she makes new combinations out of samples from popular culture and (hitherto unacknowledged) allusions to canonical texts in order to both comply with and radically undermine the German culture industry’s expectations that she repeat known patterns, and deliver a biting postcolonial critique of race and gender relations more broadly.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Erin H. McGlothlin Paul Luetzeler

Committee Members

Matt Erlin, Jennifer M. Kapczynski, Robert Henke,


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/r699-n153

Available for download on Tuesday, August 15, 2119