Johannes Vith is OeAD Austrian Lector in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics (German Section) at the University of Limerick, Ireland, and a PhD candidate in the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. His research interests are film studies, trauma cinema, ecocriticism, and science fiction. His dissertation project, Cinematic Mountains Out Of Space (working title), focuses on the intersection of these fields and explores the changing conceptions of extraterrestrial landscapes in science fiction film. He was a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio (2019-2020) and a university assistant at the University of Innsbruck (2020-2023).
Sandra is a university assistant and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Her dissertation project titled Reproductive Agism: Narratives of Age-Based Reproductive Control aims to delineate agist reproductive discourses that create controlling narratives affecting women, trans, and nonbinary characters’ reproductive choices during different life phases in contemporary US-American fiction. Other research interests include issues within women’s, gender, and sexuality studies in the context of US American literature and culture. Sandra holds BA degrees in English and American Studies and German Studies from the University of Graz and graduated from the European Joint Master’s Programme in English and American Studies at the University of Graz and Université Paris Diderot. Sandra also spent a year as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, USA (2014-15) and taught German as a foreign and second language at the Corvinus University Budapest as an OeAD scholarship recipient (2017-2019).
Nicole is a PhD candidate at the Center for Inter-American Studies (C.IAS) at the University of Graz, Austria. She holds two master’s degrees, one in education (ESL/EFL & Geography) and one in English and American Studies, both from the University of Graz. From 2019-20, she received a Fulbright grant for the University of Oklahoma, USA, to work as a foreign language teacher in German and to study. Currently, she holds a fellowship at the University of Graz, working on masculinity and aging in popular culture. As part of the Narrative Didactics Research Group, her research focus lies on storytelling, American women’s literature, feminist theory, gender studies, age/ing studies, and education. In her dissertation she is working on the tool of storytelling to highlight intersectionality in education. She is the co-founder of the Inter.Reading book club at the University of Graz.
Juliann is currently a PhD candidate, research associate, and instructor at the University of Graz. Her research interests are rooted in the fields of Critical Race Studies, Mixed Race Studies, and Intermediality Studies. More specifically, her research examines intersectionality and the representation of mixed-race peoples in literature, visual arts, and media of the antebellum period, the Harlem Renaissance, and the 1990s to present. Her master’s thesis looked at Natasha Trethewey’s Thrall (2012) and the importance of ekphrasis, etymology, and colonialism with regard to the representation of mixed-race people in art and poetry in the US and in Mexico. Her dissertation explores the role of hair as a medial, political, cultural, and historical force in contemporary multi-ethnic North-American drama.
Nina De Bettin Padolin is a Ph.D. candidate in American literature and project assistant at the Institute of American Studies at the University of Graz. In her dissertation project, she focuses on Indigenous ecological epistemologies, planetarity, and ecocritical drama and theatre in the US and Canada. She graduated from the University of Graz with a European Joint Master’s Programme in English and American Studies and a Master’s in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. In November 2021, she was awarded the “Talentförderungsprämie” (a stipend geared towards recognizing young talents) by the state of Upper Austria in the category “cultural studies and the humanities”.
Lea Pešec is a PhD student at the Department of American Studies, University of Graz and an early-stage researcher in cultural studies with a diverse academic background, including degrees in English and American Studies (MA), Sociology (BA) and English Language and Literature (BA). Her PhD project explores LGBTQ+ lifeworlds through drag performers’ autobiographical representations in the contemporary US-American context. Lea has completed her joint MA degree with a focus on cultural studies at the University of Graz and the University of Bamberg. Her Master’s thesis explored autobiographical representations of queer bodies, identities, and experiences. She currently works as an Arqus Project Manager in the area of “Arqus Living Lab” with a focus on artificial intelligence and digital transformation. In terms of research, Lea has an interest in gender and queer studies, intersectionality, digitalization, and artificial intelligence.
Markus Schwarz is a university assistant and PhD candidate at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Salzburg. In his dissertation, he investigates the intersections of space exploration and climate change through speculative fiction, with a particular focus on postcolonial and Indigenous futurisms. His research interests include Utopian studies, Queer theory and transnational American studies.
Lena Elisabeth Leßlhumer is a doctoral student and university assistant at the Department of English and American Studies at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg. She holds a master’s degree in education (subjects: English / History, Social Studies and Political Education) and also completed the extra-curricular “Migration Studies”. Her master’s thesis was within the field of cultural studies and was dedicated to examine how intersectionality and anti-/racism in the context of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement can be taught in an Austrian English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom. In her four-year dissertation project, which is within the field of cultural and literary studies, she examines how trauma, complexities of lived experiences and recapture of agency are depicted in marginalized Black life writing (autobiographies and memoirs) in the US and UK from the 19th to the 21st century.
Barbara Gföllner is a PhD candidate at the University of Vienna and works at the research platform Mobile Cultures and Societies as part of the doc.funds (FWF) doctoral program Cultural Mobility Studies. She holds a Mag. phil. in Anglophone and American Studies as well as French Studies (teaching degree) from the University of Vienna. She spent a semester abroad at the Université des Antilles in Martinique in 2017 and was a visiting scholar at York University, Toronto, in fall 2022. Her PhD thesis carves out a poetics of mobility in anglophone and francophone Caribbean poetry using an archipelagic framework. Her research interests include Caribbean studies, Black studies, queer theory, and archipelagic studies.
Magdalena is a student assistant in the Game Studies and Engineering program at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria. She is currently finishing her master’s degrees in English and American Studies, as well as Game Studies and Engineering. Her two master’s theses look at intersectionality and identity in Black lesbian fiction of the 20th century USA and the construction of AI identity in selected videogames. Magdalena's research interests include ecocriticism, gender and queer studies, post- and transhumanism, genres of the fantastic, and game studies.
Former Board Members
Helena was a university assistant at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna, and she is pursuing her PhD in English Studies at Illinois State University. She received her BA in English and Philosophy and her MA in Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies from the University of Leeds. Her dissertation examines circulations in and around contemporary migration literature. Other research interests include pedagogy and the foreign, multigenerational family narratives, and transnational American studies.
Elisabeth was a PhD student and university assistant at the department of American studies at the University of Salzburg. She has received her Bachelor’s degree in English and American Studies from the University of Graz and holds a Master’s degree in “English Studies and the Creative Industries” from the University of Salzburg. Her PhD project focuses on the transmedial representation of women’s autobiographical subjectivities in graphic narratives and their adaptations. Elisabeth’s research interests include Gender and Women studies, Comic and Media studies as well as Narratology.
Roberta was a university assistant and PhD student at the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck (Austria). Her research interests include film studies, narratology, performance, and [puppet] theater. In 2013, she was invited to be a teaching assistant of film studies at Boston University, and in 2014, the University of Innsbruck presented her with the Best Student Paper Award for her article on the meta-narration of Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier. Her articles on human puppeteering have been included in several international, peer-reviewed anthologies and journals, and she has been an invited guest speaker at Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University. Today, she works for Austrian public television (ORF Tirol).
Barbora studied at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic, where she received her MA in English Language and Literature. She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Graz. Her research interests are Native American and First Nation Studies, New Media Studies, and Narratology. Her dissertation focuses on Indigenous New Media in Canada and the U.S. Her current project investigates Indigenous videogames as sites of resistance and reclamation.
Alexandra is a lecturer at the University of Passau, Germany, where her research and teaching focuses on American popular culture, crime and detective fiction, gothic and horror studies, and American film and TV. Alexandra studied at the University of Vienna, where she received MAs in English and American Studies as well as Hispanic Studies. In her ongoing dissertation project, she examines Indigeneity, Indigenous rights, and methods of survival and resistance in Native American and First Nations detective fiction. Together with Birgit Däwes, she has published the edited volume Native North American Survivance and Memory: Celebrating Gerald Vizenor (Routledge, 2019).
Leo was a board member from summer 2010 until fall 2013. He currently holds a Postdoc position in American Studies at the University of Vienna, where he also obtained his PhD. In his doctoral thesis, entitled “Performing America Abroad,” he explored the ‘Americanness’ of Austrian cultural and academic practice. He has published on American drama and queer film and situates his research at the intersection of Queer Theory, Performance Studies, and Transnational American Studies. In 2016, Leo was awarded the Fulbright Prize in American Studies.
Yvonne is currently an OeAD Lecturer at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń. She obtained her PhD from the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Salzburg, where she worked as a research and teaching associate. In her dissertation, titled “An Ocean of Words,” she explored the interplay between literature, language, and the environment on Caribbean and Pacific Islands. Beyond that, she has edited a collection of essays on manifestos. Her research interests include postcolonial ecocriticism, gender studies, animal studies, and island studies.
Miriam completed her dissertation on “Poetry in Motion and Emotion” in winter 2014, followed by her PhD thesis defense in spring 2015. In October 2014 her first novel Hinter der Zeit was published. She is currently working as an external lecturer for literature studies at the Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt and as a creative writer.
Michael was a board member from fall 2007 until spring 2012 and our website’s content manager from fall 2007 until fall 2013. In spring 2012, he earned his PhD in American Studies from the University of Graz with a dissertation on metatextuality in horror movies. Currently holding a Postdoc position at the University of Oldenburg (Germany), Michael has co-edited Landscapes of Postmodernity: Concepts and Paradigms of Critical Theory (2010), Placing America: American Culture and Its Spaces (2013), and ConFiguring America: Iconic Figures, Visuality, and the American Identity (2013). His current work can be found on his website, http://www.fuchsmichael.net.
Steve is an affiliated postdoctoral researcher in American Studies with the Center for Inter-American Studies at the University of Graz and a visiting lecturer in American Studies at the University of Klagenfurt. He served as an AYA board member from 2012 to 2015.
His research and classes are informed by a wholistic, intersectional brand of American cultural history and cultural studies. The core areas Steve keeps working in are broadly circumscribed by but not limited to the following: i) national expansion and the culture(s) of the American West as well as their representation in different media, ii) US political culture with a special emphasis on presidential history and presidential elections, iii) the history of transatlantic slavery and its latent, systemic impact on contemporary American life and media, and iv) science fiction studies across media.
A self-declared “Academic Trekkie,” he is the author of Star Trek and the British Age of Sail (McFarland 2019), co-editor of Set Phasers to Teach! Star Trek in Research and Teaching (Springer 2018), and co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge Handbook to Star Trek. At the behest of ViacomCBS, Steve serves as the organizer and curator of the Teaching with Trek program at Destination Star Trek.
His professorial thesis project, i.e., his second book—“A Cowboy Needs A Hat”: A Cultural History of Cowboy Hats—not only received the 2019 Fulbright Visiting Scholar Grant in American Studies, which allowed him to work at the Center for the Study of the American West (West Texas A&M University), and the 2020/21 Henry Belin du Pont fellowship by the Hagley Museum and Library, but it has also been awarded a book contract from the University of Oklahoma Press.
Martina currently holds a PostDoc-position at the University of Copenhagen, where she is carrying out research on a project entitled “The Politics of Family Secrecy”. She obtained her PhD with a dissertation project on auto-Orientalisms in Arab American literatures from the American Studies Department at the University of Graz, where she also worked as a lecturer. She specializes in multi-ethnic US literatures, transnational American Studies, and feminist/postcolonial theory. In addition to a teaching degree in English, American, and Spanish Studies from the University of Graz, she holds an MA degree in Comparative Literature and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory at SUNY Stony Brook, NY. She received a Fulbright grant to support her research during her MA studies and acquired experiences in academic publications as the co-editor of the book Interculturality: Practice meets Research (2013). Beyond that, she has published an article on the legacy of Gloria Anzaldúa in MELUS.
Christian is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck. From spring 2008 until summer 2010, he served as an AYA-board member. He is the author of From Romantic Irony to Postmodernist Metafiction: A Contribution to the History of Literary Self-Reflexivity in Its Philosophical Context (2001) and Interfaces of Fiction: Initial Framings in the American Novel from 1790 to 1900 (2010).
Dagmar is a PhD candidate at the University of Graz, Austria, and project coordinator for the Graz International Summer School Seggau (GUSEGG). From 2016-18 she worked as a high school teacher for ESL/EFL and Biology in Austria, as well as a German language instructor for adults. Her research focuses on the effects of cultural diversity in classroom settings, the relation between culture and identity, and the question of how teachers can support students in becoming culturally aware members of society. As member of the Narrative Didactics Research Group and co-founder of the Inter.Reading Book Club, set at the Center for Inter-American Studies (CIAS) at the University of Graz, she focuses on American literature and culture.
Eva Maria was a university assistant and PhD student at the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna. In 2018, she spent some time as a visiting scholar at New York University. Her research focuses mainly on contemporary American popular culture, media studies, and celebrity culture. In her dissertation, she investigates intersections of kinship, celebrity, and ideas of national unity in historical and contemporary U.S. media representation of celebrities’ children.
Christoph was a PhD student and university assistant at the Department of English and American Studies at Salzburg University. In his research, he is most interested in postcolonial criticism, film studies, and Indigenous studies. His dissertation project focuses on decolonizing strategies in contemporary Indigenous films from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US. Christoph holds an MA in “English Studies and the Creative Industries” from Salzburg University and a BA in English Studies and South Asian Studies from Heidelberg University.
Silke Jandl obtained her PhD in English and American Studies from the University of Graz, where she also worked at the Centre for Intermediality Studies. In her thesis she investigated several aspects of the interrelationship between the medium of the book and YouTube. In 2013/14 she spent two semesters teaching German at the University of Minnesota. There she took the opportunity of expanding on her interest in Native American literature and culture by learning, among other things, some of the Dakota language.
Christian Stenico currently holds the Austrian Ministry of Science Fellowship at the Austrian Marshall Plan Center for European Studies at the University of New Orleans. Prior to that, he was a university assistant at the University of Innsbruck. For his PhD project, Christian focuses on first-person narration in different media. He has published an article on the implicit bystander effect and video games in the Journal of Social Psychology. His other research interests include developments in film and television, such as technical advancements, changes in plot preferences, and innovations in filmic and oral storytelling.
Tobias currently works for the German publishing house Impulse Medien. From July 2014 until July 2016, he was a research assistant for the FWF-funded project European Slaves: Christians in African Pirate Encounters (ESCAPE: Barbary Coast Captivity Narratives 1550-1780) at the University of Innsbruck, where he also received his Diploma in English and American Studies, specializing in American Barbary Coast captivity narratives. He is a recipient of the Richard & Emmy Bahr grant for his dissertation project. In 2016, he was awarded the Austrian Ministry of Science Fellowship at the Austrian Marshall Plan Center for European Studies at the University of New Orleans. For his diploma thesis, he received the Austrian Fulbright Prize for best thesis in American Studies. From October 2013 to March 2014, he worked as an assistant at the American Corner Innsbruck, an information platform that is anchored at the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck and the U.S Embassy in Vienna.
Petra was a founding member of AYA and a board member from fall 2007 until fall 2011. She is the author of Chronotopes of the Uncanny: Time and Space in Postmodern New York Novels (2011) and co-editor of Landscapes of Postmodernity: Concepts and Paradigms of Critical Theory (2010) and Localizing Global Phenomena: The Contact Spaces of American Culture (2012). Currently, Petra is an assistant professor (non-tenure track) in the Department of Architectural Theory, History of Art, and Cultural Studies at the Graz University of Technology.
Saskia is an Assistant Professor in Cultural Studies, Rhetoric and Composition in the Department of English at the University of the Bahamas. She holds a BA in German Studies, Political Science, and Women and Gender Studies from Rice University, Houston, Texas, and she received a Diploma in English and American Studies, specializing in Gender and American Cultural Studies, from the University of Graz in 2010. In 2011, she worked as a Research Fellow on the project “Gendering Boundary Work in Engineering” in coordination with the Center for Social Research at the University of Graz (financed by the Austrian National Science Fund). From 2011 to 2012, she was a Research and Teaching Associate at the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck. She was also a Research and Teaching Associate in the English Department at the University of Salzburg. In her dissertation, she focused on representations of older Black women in US media and literature.
Cornelia is an Assistant Professor at the Department of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck, where she teaches mostly American literature, American culture, film and television. She was an AYA-board member from fall 2010 until fall 2014. For her dissertation on “Mind-Tricking Narratives in Contemporary Hollywood Film,” Cornelia was awarded the Fulbright Prize in American Studies in 2014. More recently, she has published articles on Donald Trum as the ‘Kardashian of Politics’ as well as the anti-social heroine in recent television series.
Judith Kohlenberger is a post-doctoral researcher working on forced migration and integration at the Institute for Social Policy at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Judith has been a member of the AYA since 2009 and served in the board from July 2012 to November 2014. In June 2014, she graduated with a PhD in English and American Studies from the University of Vienna. Her dissertation, which explores legitimatory discourses of technoscience in American popular culture, was supported by a DOC fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and an ‘Abschlussstipendium’ granted by the University of Vienna. A monograph of her doctoral thesis, entitled The New Formula for Cool: Science, Technology, and the Popular in the American Imagination, was released by from transcript publishing in late 2015. Judith now works as program coordinator for the international Master of Science program “Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy” at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). Her research interests include gender and cultural theory, popular culture, North American film and television, cultural studies of science, eco-criticism and hemispheric approaches to the Americas.
Simone is an instructional design and educational technology specialist at the Center for Digital Teaching and Learning at the University of Graz in Austria. She was a board member from summer 2010 until fall 2013 and is the co-editor of Almighty Dollar: Papers and Lectures from the Velden Conference (2010) and, more recently, the edited collection Gladiators in Suits: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Representation in Scandal (2019). With a PhD in American Studies and interdisciplinary training in Gender Studies, Cultural Studies, and Communication Studies, she has been teaching and doing research in Europe and the USA on the topics of intersectionality, cultural diversity, critical whiteness studies, feminist movements, and protest cultures.
Silvia is Assistant Professor in American Studies at the University of Graz. She was a founding member and board member from fall 2007 until summer 2010. She is the author of Transnational Matrilineage: Mother-Daughter Conflicts in Asian American Literature (2009) and co-editor of Localizing Global Phenomena: The Contact Spaces of American Culture (2012), Growing Up Transnational: Identity and Kinship in a Global Era (2011), and A Fluid Sense of Self: The Politics of Transnational Identity (2010).