Nicole A. Sütterlin

Nicole A. Sütterlin

Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Nicole  A. Sütterlin

Office Hours: TBA

Nicole Sütterlin studied German Philology and English Philology in Basel, Freiburg i.Br., and Leeds, UK. She received her M.A. and Dr. phil. from the University of Basel. Before joining Harvard’s German Department in 2014, she taught Modern German Literature at the University of Basel and at Middlebury College, VT.

Her research and teaching interests include the Age of Goethe; Romanticism; contemporary literature; trauma studies; poetics and politics of the body; literature and science; literature and social justice; literary theory, particularly discourse analysis, deconstruction, and Wissenspoetik.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, such as a DAAD Research Fellowship for Faculty, and a Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship for Higher Education. In spring 2018, these grants took her to the Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich and to the Derrida-archive at the University of California, Irvine.

Nicole Sütterlin is the author of Poetik der Wunde: Zur Entdeckung des Traumas in der Literatur der Romantik (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2019; Engl. “Poetics of the Wound: The Discovery of Trauma in German Romantic Literature”). This interdisciplinary study proposes a re-reading of early 19th-century German literature from the perspective of traumatology. Challenging current histories of the concept of psychological trauma, Sütterlin argues that authors such as Clemens Brentano and E.T.A. Hoffmann possessed an unprecedented knowledge of traumatic processes. With their “poetics of the wound,” these authors inaugurated what current critics have termed the present-day "paradigm of trauma."

Her publications include articles on E.T.A. Hoffmann, Clemens Brentano, Goethe, Kleist, Ulrike Draesner, Marcel Beyer, and Jacques Derrida. She has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Gegenwartsliteratur: A Contemporary German Yearbook and in acclaimed textbooks such as Reclam's Zugänge zur Literaturtheorie: 17 Modellanalysen zu E.T.A. Hoffmann's 'Der Sandmann'. In a new book project, tentatively titled Bodies of the Digital Age, Sütterlin explores the tension between biopolitics, auto-immunity, and new media in post-Wall literature.

One of her pet topics is the history of vampirism and its impact on 21st-century culture. Her course “Biopolitics and Vampire Aesthetics” explores how authors from the 18th to the 21st century critically counter the rise of modern “biopolitical” institutions such as schools, hospitals, mental asylums, and prisons with a “vampiric” literature featuring various monster figures. The freshman seminar “Fighting Monsters: Gothic Fiction as Social Critique” tackles this topic with a strong social justice impetus, asking how “monstrous” characters from Shelley’s Frankenstein to The Walking Dead’s zombies criticize discrimination against societal, ethnic, and religious “others.” In accordance with Nicole’s commitment to expand the bounds of the classroom, this course features several special events, including an excursion to Salem and an interactive workshop with Boston Mobilization, a student-led local non-profit organization. For graduate students, Nicole is committed to promoting interactive learning and scholarly exchange through, for example, the annual graduate student conference jointly organized by the German Departments of Brown, Harvard, and Yale Universities, initiated by her in 2016.

List of Publications on

Courses Fall 2019

Freshman Seminar 62S. Challenging Reality: Literature and Social Justice

German 291. Questions of Theory

Contact Information

Barker Center 357
p: 617-496-4924

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