Anke Pinkert

Director of Graduate Studies
Associate Professor


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

Additional Campus Affiliations

Associate Professor, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory
Associate Professor, Comparative and World Literature
Associate Professor, Program in Jewish Culture and Society
Associate Professor, Media and Cinema Studies

Recent Publications

Pinkert, Anke "Rethinking the humanities through teaching the holocaust in prison". Special Issue: The Beautiful Prison. Studies in Law Politics and Society. JAI Press. 2014, 49-66.

Ruggles, D. Fairchild et al. "The humanity of teaching: Reflections from the education justice project"., Winkelmas, Mary-Ann Burton, Antoinette Mays, Kyle (ed.). An Illinois Sampler: Teaching and Research on the Prairie. University of Illinois Press. 2014, 40-48.

Pinkert, Anke "Vacant history, empty screens: Post-communist German films of the 1990s". and Todorova, Maria Gille, Zsuzsa (ed.). Post-Communist Nostalgia. Berghahn Books. 2010, 263-277.

Pinkert, Anke. "Can melodrama cure? War trauma and crisis of masculinity in early DEFA film". Seminar - A Journal of Germanic Studies. 2008, 44(1). 118-136.

Pinkert, Anke Film and memory in East Germany Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 2008.

View all publications on Illinois Experts

In The News

  • Six professors from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences have been named Conrad Humanities Scholars, and three of them come from the School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics, including Anke Pinkert, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures.