Katharina  Donn Author of Evaluating Organization Development
FEATURED AUTHOR

Katharina Donn


independent researcher

I am a teacher, lecturer and author in 20th century and contemporary literature. I am interested in trauma and memory studies, but my most recent research explores the politics of literature from a feminist, ecocritical perspective. I have taught at the Universität Augsburg in Germany and the University of Texas at Austin in the US, and have held research fellowships at the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies and the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library.

Subjects: Literature

Biography

I am a teacher, lecturer and author in 20th century and contemporary literature. My 2016 book A Poetics of Trauma after 9/11 focused on trauma and memory in contemporary culture, exploring the entanglement of intimate vulnerability and virtual spectacle that is typical of the globalized present. Currently I am interested in the politics of literature, and will publish my second book, The Politics of Literature in a Divided 21st Century, in July 2020. I have taught at the Universität Augsburg in Germany and the University of Texas at Austin in the US, and have held research fellowships at the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies and the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library.

I am interested in developing opportunities for public outreach. My experience in secondary education  is a key asset in this, and besides full-time appointments at secondary schools, I have worked with the educational charity Brilliant Club. I also publish journalistic articles alongside more traditionally  academic texts, for instance as associate editor with the literary magazine Litro. I also served as European editor with the Blog ‘U.S. Studies Online’, curating topics of international interest for the British Association of American Studies’ PhD and early careers’ forum.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    ecocriticism, 20th century and contemporary literature, feminism, trauma and memory studies

Personal Interests

    I work with charities to counteract inequality in education, and am a qualified teacher of English Literature at secondary schools. I am also interested in literary translation, and enjoy discussing literary bordercrossings with the PEN 'translated literature' club.

Websites

Books

Featured Title
 Featured Title - The Politics of Literature in a Divided 21st Century - 1st Edition book cover

Articles

Ludics and Laughter as Feminist Aesthetic:  Angela Carter at Play.

“The Cyborg in The Tigresses’ Hide: Angela Carter’s Postmodern Ecologies.”


Published: Dec 31, 2020 by Ludics and Laughter as Feminist Aesthetic: Angela Carter at Play.
Authors: Edited by Jennifer Gustar, Sarah Gamble and Caleb Sivyer. Sussex Academic Press.

Angela Carter's 1979 collection The Bloody Chamber teems with female figures brimming with lost innocence and a wilderness of textual desires. While the feminist agenda of these postmodern fairy tales is contested, this essay proposes that the metamorphosing ecologies of Carter's fairy tales offer new habitats for ecofeminist thought. Carter’s ecofeminism of laughter creates new and surprisingly posthuman worlds for feminists to frolic in.

Ecocriticism, Ecology, and the Cultures of Antiquity. Ed. Christopher Schliephake.

Response: Re-Thinking Borderlines Ecologies: A Literary Ethics of Exposure


Published: Mar 29, 2017 by Ecocriticism, Ecology, and the Cultures of Antiquity. Ed. Christopher Schliephake.
Authors: Katharina Donn
Subjects: Literature

This article responds to ecocritical readings of ancient literature, arguing that the materiality and metaphoric scope of these texts subvert simplistic notions of the borderline. Read in juxtaposition with the current migrant crisis, these texts subvert the differentiation of nature and culture. Through their networks of intertextual relationality, symbolic renewals and multiplicity of voices, they present a cultural ecology in their own right.

Zones of Focused Ambiguity in Siri Hustvedt’s Works: Interdisciplinary Essays. Ed. J.Hartmann et.al.

Crisis of Knowledge: Trauma in Sorrows of an American.


Published: May 01, 2016 by Zones of Focused Ambiguity in Siri Hustvedt’s Works: Interdisciplinary Essays. Ed. J.Hartmann et.al.
Authors: Katharina Donn
Subjects: Literature

This essay approaches Hustvedt’s trauma texts as an enquiry into different modes of knowledge, negotiating the scientific truth claims of clinical knowledge with forms of understanding that are based on affect and expand our understanding of the rational. Sorrows of an American transforms trauma into an epistemological shock, which destabilizes the ontological certainties of psychoanalytical models.

Handbook of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology. Edited by Hubert Zapf

Beyond the Wasteland: An Ecocritical Reading of Modernist Trauma Literature


Published: May 01, 2016 by Handbook of Ecocriticism and Cultural Ecology. Edited by Hubert Zapf
Authors:

This ecocritical reading of Woolf’s texts challenges a controversial premise of trauma studies, namely the notion that trauma lead to a “breakage of verse” (Felman), when it emphasizes the epistemological possibilities and metaphoric potentials which natural elements bring to the texts. This essay thus aims to contribute to the definition of an ecology of violence in aesthetic as well as in ethical terms.

Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies

The Multidirectionality of Memory: Networks of Trauma in Post - 9/11 Literature


Published: Dec 01, 2014 by Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies
Authors: Katharina Donn
Subjects: Literature

This essay explores the intertextual, transhistorical and transnational networks in 9/11 fiction. Working with concepts of multidirectional memory, trauma emerges as an intercultural and diachronic link with which writers experiment. I propose that this is a departure from understanding literary trauma as an un-representable void; rather, it is an innovative in-between space of both individual and cultural remembering.

Frightful Witnessing: The Rhetoric and (Re)Presentation of Fear, Horror and Terror. Ed. B. Kattelman et.al.

’Icons of a more Innocent Age’? Graphic Narratives after 9/11


Published: Sep 12, 2014 by Frightful Witnessing: The Rhetoric and (Re)Presentation of Fear, Horror and Terror. Ed. B. Kattelman et.al.
Authors: Katharina Donn

This essay enquires into the ethics of witnessing terror in comics. Art Spiegelman’s In the Shadow of No Towers uses comix as a meta-discursive space for reassembling meaning and identity. Other comicbook responses, and notably superhero comics such as the Amazing Spiderman 9/11 special edition, form a contrastive foil to this self-reflexive approach in that they do not so much acknowledge as displace the repercussions of the experience of terror.

Anglia. Journal of English Philology.

Migration and the Grotesque in Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses


Published: Apr 01, 2014 by Anglia. Journal of English Philology.
Authors: Katharina Donn

This essay transposes concepts of the grotesque (based on Mikhail Bakhtin) into postcolonial literature, providing a new reading of identity and alterity in this novel. The grotesque is understood as a transformatory force, which overtopples hierarchies and binary oppositions textually and ethically, and takes effect, too, on the discourses of fundamentalism that are deconstructed in the text itself and became decisive in the notoriously dramatic aftermath of its publication.

News

The Politics of Literature in a Divided 21st Century

By: Katharina Donn
Subjects: Literature

How does literature matter politically in the 21st century? This book offers an ecocritical framework for exploring the significance of literature today. Featuring a diverse body of texts and authors, it develops a future-oriented politics embedded in those transgressive realities which our political system finds impossible to tame. This book re-imagines political agency, voices, bodies and borders as transformative processes rather than rigid realities, articulating a ‘dia-topian’ literary politics. Taking a contextual approach, it addresses such urgent global issues as biopolitics, migration and borders, populism, climate change, and terrorism. These readings revitalize fictional worlds for political enquiry, demonstrating how imaginative literature seeds change in a world of closed-off horizons. Prior to the pragmatics of power-play, literary language breathes new energy into the frames of our thought and the shapes of our affects. This book shows how relation, metamorphosis and enmeshment can become salient in a politics beyond the conflict line.

Newly published by Routledge! Check ebook and print options on https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781003048480