Anke Pinkert

 Anke Pinkert

Contact Information

3128 FLB

Office Hours

  • Fall 2018: Thu 4-5pm and by appt
Associate Professor
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Anke Pinkert holds an M.A. degree from the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle, Germany (1989) and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (2000). Before joining the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Illinois in 2000, she taught courses in German Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago and at Macalester College, MN. In 2001-02, Professor Pinkert returned to Chicago as a Research Fellow at the Franke Institute for the Humanities.

Anke's research and teaching is currently situated within two major tracks -- Memory Studies with a focus on post-Holocaust and postcommunist Germany AND Theories and Practice of the Humanities. Paying particular attention to the aftermath of two turning points in modern German and European history, “1945” and “1989,” her scholarship examines aesthetic and political responses to collective feelings of loss and trauma. Her book Memory and Film in East Germany (Indiana UP, 2008) offers an understanding of how East German film transformed the historical experience of war violence and mass death into an elegiac public memory. She is currently working on a book entitled "Remembering 1989: Future Archives of Public Protest and Assembly." The project is supported by an IPRH New Horizons Summer Faculty Research Fellowship 2017-18.

In her second major area of inquiry, Anke explores recent shifts in Humanities education and research. She is the co-leader of the IPRH research cluster on the "Public Humanities," and the Center for Advanced Studies multidisciplinary initiative on "Learning Publics." From 2009-2014, she served as a faculty affiliate of the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois Anke is particularly interested in developing a new model of publically-engaged Humanities that cultivates an integration of scholarship and experience, research and teaching, theory and practice. Based on her teaching at Danville Correctional Center and on collaborating with students in EJP on an academic article about the transformative effects of Holocaust education, Anke is writing a book-length essay on "Rethinking the Humanities through Higher Education in Prison." This project has been supported by a 2012-13 fellowship in the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.

At the University of Illinois, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on 20th/21st century German literature, film, and culture; critical theory; Holocaust representations; and mass incarceration in film and media.

Anke is also an affiliate faculty of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies at Illinois.

Research Interests

  • Modern German culture, literature, and film; Holocaust studies; memory and affect; postcommunist transnational studies; Humanities as field, theory, and practice; educational philosophy; mass incarceration

Distinctions / Awards

  • Conrad Humanities Scholar for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, 2018-2023
  • Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, New Horizons Summer Faculty Research Fellowship, 2017-2018
  • Center for Advanced Studies Resident Associate for the interdisciplinary initiative "Learning Publics," 2017-18
  • Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities Fellow, "Transforming the Humanities Through Higher Education in Prison," 2012-2013
  • Giles Whiting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Franke Institute for the Humanities at the University of Chicago, 2001-2002
  • Dr. Arnold O. Beckman Research Board Award, University of Illinois, 2000


  • Introduction to Public Humanities, GCL 199
  • Learning Publics: Theory, Performance, Practice, CAS 587, ANTH 515/EPS 512/GER 576
  • "1989": Performing Public Dissent - Theory, Literature, Art, GER 575
  • Radical Hope: Post 1989 Literature, GER 575
  • Memory and Ethics of Healing in Post-1989 Literature, GER 575/CWL 593
  • Prison Break: Incarceration and Justice in Film and Public Media, LAS Discovery Course for Freshmen, GER/MACS 199
  • The Holocaust in Context: Postwar Representations in Literature and Film, GER 260/CWL 271, GEN ED, ADV COMP
  • Divided Screen: East and West German Postwar Cinema, GER/MACS 494
  • Rethinking Exile: Travel and Displacement in Postwar German-speaking Literature since 1945, GER 575/CWL 593
  • Studies in Critical Theory: Cultural Memory and Representation, GER/CWL 570
  • Imagining Dissent: History, Ideology, and the Literature of East Germany, GER 575/CWL 593
  • Introduction to Graduate Studies: Literary & Cultural Theories, GER 510
  • Weimar Culture: Experience, Perception, Decline, GER 575
  • Action Heroes: Popular Movies and Global Change, LAS Discovery Course for Freshmen, GER/MACS 199
  • German Literature from the 1920s to Today: Aesthetics and Politics, GER 473
  • German Popular Culture, GER 201, GEN ED: Literature and Arts, Western Comp Culture

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Public Memory Underground: Photographs of Protest in Uwe Johnson’s The Third Book about Achim (1967) CoSMo: Comparative Studies in Modernism 13 2 2018.
Pinkert, Anke Re-viewing the Margins: Peripheral Memory and Remnants of War in the East German DEFA Film Carbide and Sorrel (Frank Beyer, 1963) Hagar: Studies in Culture, Polity and Identities 12 Winter 2014, p. 17-40.
Pinkert, Anke Rethinking the Humanities through Teaching the Holocaust in Prison Studies in Law, Politics, and Society Special Issue "The Beautiful Prison," ed. Doran Larson 2014, p. 49-66.
Pinkert, Anke, Mike Brawn, Jose Cabrales, and Gregory Donatelli The Transformative Power of Holocaust Education in Prison: a Teacher – Student Account Radical Teacher 95 (Special Issue on “Teaching Inside Carceral Institutions,” ed. by Kate Drabinski and Gillian Hawkins 2013, p. 60-65.
Pinkert, Anke Tender Males: Jewish Figures as Affective Archive in East German DEFA Film Studies in Eastern European Cinema 3 2 2012, p. 193-210.
Can Melodrama Cure?: War Trauma and Crisis of Masculinity in Early DEFA Film Seminar: a Journal of Germanic Studies (special issue: “Discourses of Masculinity in German Literature and Film”) 44 1 2008, p. 118-36.
Pinkert, Anke Waste Matters: Defilement and Postfascist Discourse in Works by Franz Fühmann Germanic Review, 80 3 2005, p. 254-74.
Pleasures of Fear: Antifascist Myth, Holocaust, and Soft Dissidence in Christa Wolf’s Kindheitsmuster German Quarterly 76 1 2003, p. 25-37.
Postcolonial Legacies”: the Rhetoric of Race in the East/West German National Identity Debate of the Late 1990s M/MLA 35.2 (Special Issue on “Translating Within and Across Cultures), 35 2 2002, p. 13-33.
Pinkert, Anke Excessive Conversions: Antifascism, Holocaust, and State Dissidence in Franz Fühmann’s “Das Judenauto Seminar: a Journal of Germanic Studies 38 2 2002, p. 142-53.


Pinkert, Anke The Humanities and Public Life edited by Peter Brooks. Educational Theory 66 3 Edited by Peter Brooks, 2016.
Pinkert, Anke Auschwitz and Visual Language Cinema and the Shoah: An Art Confronts the Tragedy of the Twentieth Century edited by Jean-Michel Frodon. H-Judaic August Edited by Jean-Michel Frodon, 2011.

Book Contributions

Pinkert, Anke Family Feelings: Kinship, Gender, and Social Utopia in DEFA Film DEFA at the Crossroads of East German and International Film Culture: a Companion compiled by Marc Silberman, compiled by Henning Wrage. Family Feelings: Kinship, Gender, and Social Utopia in DEFA Film Compiled by Marc Silberman, Compiled by Henning Wrage, Boston DeGruyter 2014, p. 107-32.
The Humanity of Teaching: Reflections from the Education Justice Project An Illinois Sampler: Talking about Teaching on the Prairie The Humanity of Teaching: Reflections from the Education Justice Project Champaign University of Illinois Press 2014, p. 40-49.
Pinkert, Anke Toward a Reparative Practice in Post 1989 Literature: Christa Wolf’s City of Angels Memory and Postwar Memorials: Confronting the Past as Violence compiled by Marc Silberman, compiled by Florence Vatan. Toward a Reparative Practice in Post 1989 Literature: Christa Wolf’s City of Angels Compiled by Marc Silberman, Compiled by Florence Vatan, New York Palgrave 2013, p. 177-96.
Pinkert, Anke Vacant History, Empty Screens: German Postcommunist Films of the 1990s Postcommunist Nostalgia compiled by Maria Todorova, compiled by Zsusza Gille. Vacant History, Empty Screens: German Postcommunist Films of the 1990s Compiled by Maria Todorova, Compiled by Zsusza Gille, New York Berghahn Books 2010, p. 263-277.
Rubble Film as Archive of Trauma and Grief: Wolfgang Lamprecht’s “Somewhere In Berlin German Postwar Films: Life and Love in the Ruins edited by William Rasch, compiled by Wilfried Willms. Rubble Film as Archive of Trauma and Grief: Wolfgang Lamprecht’s “Somewhere In Berlin Edited by William Rasch, Compiled by Wilfried Willms, New York Palgrave 2008, p. 61-76.


Pinkert, Anke Film and Memory in East Germany Bloomington, IL Indiana University Press 2008.
Pinkert, Anke Literary Intellectuals, Resistance, and the East German State: Legitimation and Dissent in the Works of Christa Wolf and Franz Fühmann University of Chicago Dissertation 2000.