Nadine Schwakopf studied law at the Universität Passau in Germany and UWA in Perth, Australia, with an elective concentration in Public International Law and the Law of the European Union. After graduating from law school, she worked at the European Parliament in Brussels and in the Cultural Programs Department of the Goethe Institut Buenos Aires. She obtained a Master's degree in French Studies from the Université de Montréal with a comparative study on the intermedial practices of self-representation in the works of Claude Cahun and Unica Zürn. In 2017, she earned a Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Yale University. Before joining the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University in 2018, she was a curatorial fellow at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Her research interests include German and French literature of the 20th and 21st centuries, especially lyric and experimental poetry, material culture, sound and visual studies, avant-garde and interart studies, and the poetics of reading. Her dissertation entitled “Poetry Unbound: Sounding the Language of Materiality in the Works of Man Ray, Henri Chopin and Gerhard Rühm – A Reading Through Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty and Kittler” examines experimental poetic practices in the 20th-century avant-gardes, by marrying the analysis of poetic materiality with the mapping of, and critical reflection on, hermeneutic practices. Based on the hypothesis that poiesis is in the first place meant to embody or materialize human experience, the study investigates how the selected avant-garde artists “make sense” of their experience of the life-world by grounding the poetic process of signification in the poietic matter, and how the material components of their works are used in a way as to matter for readers, observers and listeners.