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

Highlighted Publications


Film and Memory in East Germany (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008), 275pp.

Recent Publications

Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

“Possible Archives: Encountering a Surveillance Photo in Karl-Marx City (2017),” Photography in German Cinema, eds. Carrie Collenberg-Gonzalez, Martin P. Sheehan (New York: Berghahn) (forthcoming)

“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.

“Rubble Film as Archive of Trauma and Grief: Wolfgang Lamprecht’s Somewhere In Berlin, German Postwar Films: Life and Love in the Ruins, eds. Wilfried Wilms, William Rasch (New York: Palgrave, 2008), 61-76.

“Can Melodrama Cure?: War Trauma and Crisis of  Masculinity in Early DEFA Film,” Seminar: a Journal of Germanic Studies 44.1 (2008): 118-36 (special issue: “Discourses of Masculinity in German Literature and Film”).

“Waste Matters: Defilement and Postfascist Discourse in Works by Franz Fühmann,” Germanic Review, 80.3 (Summer 2005): 254-74.

“Pleasures of Fear: Antifascist Myth, Holocaust, and Soft Dissidence in Christa Wolf’s Kindheitsmuster,” German Quarterly, 76.1 (Winter 2003): 25-37.

“‘Postcolonial Legacies’: the Rhetoric of Race in the East/West German National Identity Debate of the Late 1990s,” M/MLA 35.2 (2002), (Special Issue on “Translating Within and Across Cultures”): 13-33.

“Excessive Conversions: Antifascism, Holocaust, and State Dissidence in Franz Fühmann’s ‘Das Judenauto,’” Seminar: a Journal of Germanic Studies 38.2 (May 2002): 142-53.

Publically-Engaged Scholarship:

“Blind Spots: Performing Silent Protest in Prison as a Public Humanities Practice,” (in preparation)

“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).

Review Articles:

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).

Cheryl Dueck. Rifts in Time and in the Self: The Female Subject in Two Generations of East German Women Writers, German Studies Review 24. 2 (2006): 469-70.

Petra Fachinger. Rewriting Germany From the Margins: “Other” German Literature of the 1980s and 1990s, Modern Fiction Studies, 49.2 (Summer 2003): 390-91.

Thomas Fox. Stated Memory: East Germany and the Holocaust, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 1000. 4 (October 2001): 614-17.

Julia Hell. Post-Fascist Fantasies: Psychoanalysis, History and the Literature of East Germany, Modern Philology, 98 (Spring 2001): 536-39.

Dennis Tate. Franz Fühmann. Innovation and Authenticity, GDR Bulletin, 25 (Spring 1998): 85-6.

Power and Resistance: the GDR in Eastern Europe (course syllabus), GDR Bulletin, 24 (Spring 1997) (Special Issue on “New Trends in East German Studies”): 41-43.