Anke Pinkert is a scholar of modern German literature, film, and culture, with a focus on memory studies and social activism. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has taught in the United States and Germany, including at the University of Chicago, Macalester College, and the University of Leipzig. She is an Associate Professor of German and Media & Cinema Studies. In addition, she holds appointments at the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center, the Program in Jewish Culture & Society, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Since 2009, Professor Pinkert has collaborated with a group of scholars who co-founded the Initiative of Holocaust, Genocide, Memory Studies at Illinois.
Professor Pinkert’s research and teaching is 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 completing a monograph entitled Remembering 1989: Future Archives of Public Protest.
Remembering 1989 challenges the dominance of the fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s unification in global memory in the last decades. The book argues, what has been entirely forgotten today, in the era of neoliberalism, is the interval year of 1989-90 and its multifarious and nonviolent political protest movements. The study recalls this interregnum as a joyous and volatile “laboratory of radical democracy” in the late GDR. The project is supported by an IPRH New Horizons Summer Faculty Research Fellowship and the Center for Advanced Study.
In her second major area of inquiry, Anke Pinkert explores recent shifts in Humanities education, activism, 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 http://www.educationjustice.net, a collaborative of incarcerated and nonincarcerated teachers and students. EJP offers advanced college courses and extra-curricular programs at Danville Correctional Center in East Central Illinois.
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.
Awards and Honors
Conrad Humanities Scholar for the College of Liberal Arts&Sciences, 2018-2023
Senior Research Associate, Center for Advanced Study, 2019-2020
Center for Advanced Study, Resident Associate, 2017-2018
Faculty Fellow, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, 2012-2013
Giles Whiting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Franke Institute for the Humanities at the University of Chicago, 2001-2002
Additional Campus Affiliations
Associate Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Associate Professor, Program in Comparative and World Literature
Associate Professor, Program in Jewish Culture and Society
Associate Professor, Media and Cinema Studies
Associate Professor, European Union Center
Film and Memory in East Germany (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 275pp.
“Unsettled Memory: Teaching the Holocaust at a United States Prison,” Transverse Disciplines: Working across and beyond Academic Communities, ed. by Simone Pfleger, Carrie Smith (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2022).
“Possible Archives: Encountering a Surveillance Photo in Karl-Marx City (2016),” Moving Frames: Photography in German Cinema, eds. Carrie Collenberg-Gonzalez, Martin P. Sheehan (New York: Berghahn, 2022), 210-230.
“Public Memory Underground: Photographs of Protest in Uwe Johnson’s The Third Book about Achim (1967),” CoSMo: Comparative Studies in Modernism (forthcoming, 13.2, Winter 2018): 207-219.
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. Vol. 12 (Winter 2014): 17-40.
“Family Feelings: Kinship, Gender, and Social Utopia in DEFA Film,” DEFA at the Crossroads of East German and International Film Culture: a Companion, eds. Marc Silberman and Henning Wrage (Boston: DeGruyter, 2014), 107-132.
“Toward a Critical Reparative Practice in Post 1989 Literature: Christa Wolf’s City of Angels,” Memory and Postwar Memorials: Confronting the Violence of the Past, eds. Marc Silberman and Florence Vatan (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2013), 177-196.
“Tender Males: Jewish Figures as Affective Archive in East German DEFA Film,” Studies in Eastern European Cinema. Vol. 3. 2 (October 2012): 193-210.
“Vacant History, Empty Screens: German Postcommunist Films of the 1990s,” Postcommunist Nostalgia, eds. Maria Todorova, Matti Bunzl, Zsusza Gille (Berghahn, 2010), 263-277.
“Social Justice Ecologies: Charting Routes for Public Humanities and Post-Prison Education,” Special MLA volume on Social Justice Pedagogies, ed.by Neal Lester (forthcoming).
“Rethinking the Humanities through Teaching the Holocaust in Prison,” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society (Special issue, ed. by Doran Larson) Vol. 64 (April/May 2014): 49-66.
“The Humanity of Teaching: Reflections from the Education Justice Project,” collaborative article, D. Fairchild Ruggles with Anke Pinkert et. al., An Illinois Sampler: Talking about Teaching on the Prairie, edited by Antoinette Burton and Mary-Ann Winkelmes (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2014) 40-49.
“The Transformative Power of Holocaust Education in Prison: a Teacher – Student Account,” with Michael Brawn, Jose Cabrales, Gregory Donatelli, Radical Teacher 95 (Winter 2012): 60-65 (Special Issue on “Teaching Inside Carceral Institutions,) ed. by Kate Drabinski and Gillian Hawkins).
The Humanities and Public Life, edited by Peter Brooks, with Hilary Jewett (New York: Fordham University Press, 2014), Educational Theory 66. 3 (June 2016).
“Auschwitz and Visual Language,” review of Jean-Michel Frodon (ed.), Cinema and the Shoah: An Art Confronts the Tragedy of the Twentieth Century, transl. by Anna Harrison and Tom Mes (New York: SUNY Press, 2010), H-Judaic (August 2011).