Özdamar, Emine Sevgi. ‘Karagöz in Alamania’, in Mutterzunge (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1998)

This short story draws on Özdamar's play Karagöz in Alamania (1982), one of the author's first published works, and an important piece of German theatre that premiered in 1986. The story deals with the experiences of 'Gastarbeiter' in Germany, including exploring many of the stereotypes used in depictions of migrants in Germany.  Özdamar's linguistic play with idioms makes … Continue reading Özdamar, Emine Sevgi. ‘Karagöz in Alamania’, in Mutterzunge (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1998)

Khider, Abbas. Ohrfeige (Munich: Hanser, 2016)

Khider's fourth novel received a lot of attention in the press - it opens with an immigration worker being tied up and slapped (the 'Ohrfeige' of the title) by Karim, an Iraqi asylum seeker negotiating the German asylum system. Without giving away the novel's twists and turns, it looks closely at ideal or 'hegemonic' forms of … Continue reading Khider, Abbas. Ohrfeige (Munich: Hanser, 2016)

Stefan, Verena. Fremdschläfer (Munich: Ammann, 2007)

Verena Stefan’s breast cancer narrative, written 32 years after her cult feminist book Häutungen (1975), for which she is mainly known in Germanist circles. Written by a mature woman, this is an atypical illness narrative worth including in investigations of the genre (which is dominated by white, middle-class, heterosexual writers). Challenging for students in that it … Continue reading Stefan, Verena. Fremdschläfer (Munich: Ammann, 2007)

Schmidt, Nina. The Wounded Self: Writing Illness in Twenty-First-Century German Literature (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2018)

In the German-speaking world there has been a new wave - intensifying since 2007 - of autobiographically inspired writing on illness and disability, death and dying. Nina Schmidt's book takes this writing seriously as literature, examining how the authors of such personal narratives come to write of their experiences between the poles of cliché and … Continue reading Schmidt, Nina. The Wounded Self: Writing Illness in Twenty-First-Century German Literature (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2018)

Levy, Dani (dir.). Alles auf Zucker! (X Verleih, 2004)

Terrific film comedy for introducing students to Jewishness in contemporary Germany. Levy plays with stereotypes and assumptions, as well as with the awkwardness experienced by Jews and non-Jews when dealing with questions of faith and observance in contemporary culture. Levy combines this portrayal with a satire on Ostalgie, on fragile masculinity and on East/West identity stereotypes. A … Continue reading Levy, Dani (dir.). Alles auf Zucker! (X Verleih, 2004)

Hegemann, Helene. Axolotl Roadkill (Ullstein, 2010)

Hegemann's novel sparked a plagiarism controversy when a blogger revealed that she had lifted and adapted substantial sections of her novel from a writer blogging under the pseudonym Airen (published as the novel Strobo. (2009)). Hegemann explores issues of authenticity and originality, as well as the expectations placed on young, female authors. Set in and around … Continue reading Hegemann, Helene. Axolotl Roadkill (Ullstein, 2010)

Ataman, Kutluğ (dir.). Lola und Bilidikid (Absolut Medien, 1999)

Now a cult film, this updating of the Lola story takes place in and around the Turkish drag bars of Berlin. It explores stereotypes of masculinity and femininity, norms in German culture and in Berlin's Turkish diaspora, and questions of Germanness in contemporary and historical contexts. Could be taught alongside Lola rennt, an intertext which Ataman … Continue reading Ataman, Kutluğ (dir.). Lola und Bilidikid (Absolut Medien, 1999)

Bernardi, Sabine (dir.). Romeos (Peccadillo, 2010)

An ideal film for exploring questions of gender and queerness in contemporary German society. Protagonist Lukas, a trans man, falls for macho gay guy Fabio. Takes place in a residence for Zivildienstleistende and in Cologne's queer scene, with almost no straight characters. Explores the norms and prejudices that exist within the queer scene, the forces … Continue reading Bernardi, Sabine (dir.). Romeos (Peccadillo, 2010)

Dinev, Dimitré. Ein Licht über dem Kopf (Deuticke, 2005)

An excellent collection of short stories from a Bulgarian-Austrian writer, focused on encounters and experiences of characters with a range of backgrounds. Especially interesting for exploring the representation of migration to Austria, and the experience of migrants from Eastern and Southeastern Europe to the German-speaking world. His writing is also interesting for his take on … Continue reading Dinev, Dimitré. Ein Licht über dem Kopf (Deuticke, 2005)

Tawada, Yoko. Abenteuer der deutschen Grammatik (Konkursbuch, 2010)

A very useful (and short!) volume of poetry for thinking about contact between German and other languages, here Japanese. The first section of poems are centred around grammatical aspects of the German language (e.g. second-person pronouns, punctuation, word order). Tawada relates wry or witty observations about the language to aspects of identity and relationships explored … Continue reading Tawada, Yoko. Abenteuer der deutschen Grammatik (Konkursbuch, 2010)