visiting assistant Professor of german
Office: Palamountain TBA
Phone: (518) 580-TBD
- Ph.D., Germanic Languages, Columbia University - Dissertation: Understanding the Present: The Representation of Contemporary History in Ludwig Börne, Heinrich Heine, and Georg Büchner
Michael Swellander (Ph.D. Columbia University, 2019) joined the Department of World Languages and Literatures in 2022. His research interests include the history of political literature, aesthetics under censorship, journalism, satire, German nationalism, and the Vormärz period (especially Heinrich Heine and Georg Büchner). He is currently working on a study of how the historicity of literature – the irresistible trace in literary writing of the times in which its written – was imagined as being inherently subversive by Vormärz writers like Ludwig Börne, Heinrich Heine, and the authors of Young Germany.
Michael teaches at all levels of the German curriculum. In his language, literature, and culture courses he encourages students to use German as a means of expressing and questioning their experience. In literature classes, Michael enjoys teaching literary forms that push canonical boundaries, from Kleist’s anecdotes to Dadaist sound poetry to Stefanie Sargnagel’s Facebook status updates.
- “The Arabic-Spanish-Jewish School of Poets: Heinrich Heine’s ‘Jehudah ben Halevy’ and World Literature.” The Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory, vol. 98, no.1, 2023, pp. 33-45 Winner of the 2022 Jeffrey L. Sammons Heine Essay Prize
- "We Poor People: The Personal Experience of Precariousness in Dantons Tod and Woyzeck". Representing Social Precarity in German Literature and Film, edited by Sophie Divernoy, Karsten Olson, and Ulrich Plass. Bloomsbury Academic, 2023, pp. 93-112.
- “Alloyed Truth: The Historiographical and Political Importance of Error in Ludwig Börne’s Journalism.” The German Quarterly, vol. 95, no. 3, 2022, pp. 244-259. Winner of the 2022 Max Kade Prize for Best Article in The German Quarterly.
Upcoming and recent presentations
- "Logopoeia: Reading Heine with Ezra Pound," 47th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, Montreal, QC, Oct. 5-8, 2023.
- "Don't Call Us Your Sisters": LaToya Manly-Spain's Critique of Leftist Solidarity," 54th Annual Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association, Niagara Falls, NY, March 23-26.
- “Bertolt Brecht’s The Measures Taken,” invited guest lecture for graduate seminar “Theatre History III,” The Actors Studio Drama School, Pace University, September 28, 2022 New York, NY (virtual).
- “Substituting Tin for Bronze: How Censorship Made Vormärz Authors Write Longer Books,” MLA 2022 Convention, Washington, D.C., January 6-9, 2022.
- “‘Yes, He Was a Mighty Poet’”: Heine’s ‘Jehuda Ben Halevy’ and World Literature,” MLA 2021 Convention, Toronto, ON, January 7-10, 2021.
- “State Corrections Office: Ludwig Börne’s Errata and the Importance of Error for History,” MLA 2020 Convention, Seattle, WA, January 9-12, 2020.
- “The Censored Present: Young Germany’s Realism,” 43rd Annual Conference of The German Studies Association (GSA), Portland, OR, October 3-6, 2019.
- Modern Language Association
- German Studies Association
- The North American Heine Society (board member)