Date of Completion


Embargo Period



German Literature, Intercultural Literature, Human Rights, Electronic Literature, Intertextuality

Major Advisor

Anke Finger

Associate Advisor

Katharina von Hammerstein

Associate Advisor

Sebastian Wogenstein

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


In my dissertation, I ask in what way intercultural literature contributes to the re-definition of ‘Germanness.’ I define intercultural literature as an inclusive term encompassing all texts that are written and read in Germany, thus uncoupling the attribute intercultural from the author’s biography. Intercultural is too often used to refer politely to migrant literature. However, I intend the term to highlight the dynamic among all literary voices writing in the same historical moment. The goal is to transcend ethnic categorization of literature and to point to the inherent interculturality of texts that negotiate alienness. I analyze novels that represent aspects of alterity in different circumstances: among neighbors within a community (chapter 1), in the repressive setting of a camp (chapter 2), and the repatriation of the dead (chapter 3). In each case, alienness is connected to the violation of human rights: Neighbors are presumed to be alien which leads to genocide; characters have to expand their horizons through semantic re-coding in order to survive in the alienating political prison; and the descendants of deceased expellees fight for a right to return home. A fourth chapter creates intercultural exchange intertextually and interactively in digital space, thereby undermining alterity. The interdisciplinarity of my work contributes to recent research done in the field of human rights and literature, including law and literature, trauma studies, and questions of refugees as well as electronic literature.

Available for download on Friday, April 11, 2025