Oguntoye, Katharina, May Ayim and Dagmar Schultz (eds.). Farbe bekennen: Afro-deutsche Frauen auf den Spuren ihrer Geschichte (Orlanda Frauenverlag, 1986)

It has also been translated into English as Showing our colors: Afro-German women speak out (University of Massachusetts Press, 1991) and has an interesting foreword by Audre Lorde who worked a lot with Ayim. Anthology of texts considered seminal as a work of Black history in Germany, important also in demonstrating the specificities of the … Continue reading Oguntoye, Katharina, May Ayim and Dagmar Schultz (eds.). Farbe bekennen: Afro-deutsche Frauen auf den Spuren ihrer Geschichte (Orlanda Frauenverlag, 1986)

Vanderbeke, Birgit. Das Muschelessen (Berlin: Rotbuch, 1990; repr. Munich: Piper, 2012)

Vanderbeke's fun and enigmatic story is written in language well-suited to second-year students. It deals with the gender structures and power hierarchies within the family, and implicitly projects these out onto wider society. The air of anxiety and hypervigilance in the story represent a fascinating comment on the culture of surveillance and denunciation in the … Continue reading Vanderbeke, Birgit. Das Muschelessen (Berlin: Rotbuch, 1990; repr. Munich: Piper, 2012)

Königsdorf, Helga. Ungelegener Befund (Berlin: Aufbau, 1990)

Königsdorf, known most of all for her first work of short monologues, Meine ungehörigen Träume (1978), produced one of the few fictional works in the GDR to deal with the subject of same-sex desire. This epistolary novel would be a great addition to a course on the epistolary form. Its letters, many of them unsent, skirt around … Continue reading Königsdorf, Helga. Ungelegener Befund (Berlin: Aufbau, 1990)

Sulzer, Alain Claude. Aus den Fugen: Roman (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2012)

The Swiss writer Sulzer's novel Aus den Fugen focuses around a performance by a concert pianist of Beethoven's 'Hammerklavier' sonata that breaks off midway. Refusing the drive to resolution that musicologists have described in Beethoven's music, the novel also shows characters' identities and relationships being challenged and reformulated around this moment of musical incompletion. Its interest … Continue reading Sulzer, Alain Claude. Aus den Fugen: Roman (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2012)

Opitz, Detlef. ‘LUST/IG. eine landschaft’, in Idylle: Erzählungen und andere Texte (Halle: Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 1990)

Opitz's text is often overlooked in courses on gender and sexuality in the GDR, but this short narrative is excellent for approaching questions of coming-of-age, standards of masculinity and desires between men in the context of the late GDR. Set near the inner-German border, the story relates boundaries of behaviour to the geopolitical boundary, while … Continue reading Opitz, Detlef. ‘LUST/IG. eine landschaft’, in Idylle: Erzählungen und andere Texte (Halle: Mitteldeutscher Verlag, 1990)

Akın, Fatih (dir.). Im Juli (Universum, 2000)

Fatih Akın's second major film is a road movie that takes its protagonists across Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe from Germany to Turkey, as the naive, lovestruck Daniel goes in search of Melek, a woman he met at a party and is convinced is 'the one'. The film explores the myths and fantasies associated with Easternness … Continue reading Akın, Fatih (dir.). Im Juli (Universum, 2000)

Zaimoglu, Feridun. German Amok (Frankfurt: Fischer, 2002)

Zaimoglu is perhaps better known for his debut work Kanak Sprak (1995) and the Kanak Attack movement that it inspired. German Amok continues Zaimoglu's interest in masculinity and in the relationship between subcultures and the mainstream in contemporary German society. It follows an artist narrator through his sardonic and scathing critique of the German arts scene, even as … Continue reading Zaimoglu, Feridun. German Amok (Frankfurt: Fischer, 2002)

Strubel, Antje Rávic. Unter Schnee (Frankfurt: Fischer, 2001)

Strubel is one of my all time favourites. Her novels probe issues of gender diversity and sexuality that go beyond binaries of male/female or gay/straight. This episodic novel could be placed alongside Ingo Schulze's Simple Storys to discuss the influence of the short story form, or it could be placed along other novels that explore post-reunification … Continue reading Strubel, Antje Rávic. Unter Schnee (Frankfurt: Fischer, 2001)