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Skidmore College
World Languages and Literatures

Michael Swellander

Michael Swellander

visiting assistant Professor of german

Office:  Palamountain 429C
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

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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.


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.

Professional Memberships

  • Modern Language Association
  • German Studies Association
  • The North American Heine Society (board member)