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Sam Graych

 Academic Interests:

Life writing, genre theory, memory studies, Jewish studies, German and Central European Literature of the 20th and 21st Centuries, Feminist and Queer Theory, Political Theory, German Language Pedagogy

Fun Facts:

My path to German Studies began, strangely enough, during my time working as a farm hand and waitress at a German Gasthaus in southern France. During the time I spent living in a multi-lingual European context, I was inspired to pursue my undergraduate studies in Comparative Literature, eventually leading me towards graduate work in German Studies. Though I began learning German out of practical necessity, I soon came to understand it as a language that both literally and metaphorically serves as a meeting point between Central and Western Europe, and as a valuable inroad to understanding the 20th and 21st centuries. German-speaking countries have played pivotal roles in recent history, economic development, and political flux; German-speaking cities in particular are home to diverse cultural, religious, and identity groups, serving as microcosms of rapid change in geopolitics.

 I recently completed my Ph.D. at Georgetown University, and spent time as a Research Fellow at the Deutsches Literaturarchiv in Marbach, and as a Visiting Scholar at the Forschungsstelle für Exilliteratur at the University of Hamburg. I have published on genre theory, life writing, and dialogical subjectivity in selected works of Hannah Arendt in the Journal of Life Writing, and served for two years as the editorial assistant to Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook. My research is concerned with the limits of life writing, and the possibility of including theoretical, analytical, and public-facing texts in the life writing genre. My approach prioritizes the dialogical elements of literature and creative production, especially as a means of better interpreting and giving voice to minoritized subjectivities – women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, religious minorities, refugees and people living in precarious situations – and the ways they situate themselves in traumatic/post-traumatic political contexts.

 In addition to a love of theory and radical politics, my passion for German Studies is driven by the opportunity to connect with students, and to provide an engaging and supportive environment in which to experiment with the building-blocks of expression: language. I like to orient my classes around moments of connection – maybe we can create a playlist of German pop together, talk about reflexive verbs on an episode of Princess Charming, or argue about the best team in the Frauen-Bundesliga. I am especially committed to creating a learning environment in which we all feel like we can have fun learning the labyrinth that is German grammar, figuring out which colloquialisms are the most useful, and how cultural and linguistic competencies create ongoing opportunity. Please come visit me to talk about language learning, books, studying abroad, going to conferences, or anything else important to you and your intellectual inspirations – bei mir ist auch bei dir!

  • Education

    D., Georgetown University
    A., University of Chicago
    A. Marlboro College