In my current investigation of literary and visual representations of cats in German culture, I consider a number of questions on alterity and sameness as well as the relationship between humans and animals. For this study, I am applying an ecocritical approach to cats as an animal other that subverts longstanding humanist traditions of constructing the human. I am particularly interested in how this process appears to be tied to humans' exposure to a threatening and revolutionizing (Um)Welt. In 2008, together with my research collaborator Birgit Tautz (Bowdoin College), I began to connect key questions about the representation of animals to broader concerns of identity and community in a CBB-Mellon Foundation Grant-sponsored project entitled Thinking Beyond Nation. Over the last year (2010-2011), I continued to work on on my 'pet project' while beginning a second monograph on the 19th-century dialect writer Fritz Reuter for the 'Meteore'-series by the German publisher Wehrhahn Verlag.
Another larger project began in 2009 with work on "Narrative Sequencing in the Liberal Art Curriculum" together with James Violette '11. It not only resulted in two presentations at the annual ACTFL convention in Boston (2010) as well as a co-written article with James Violette in the online journal Neues Curriculum, but also formed the foundation of another CBB-Mellon Foundation Grant with Craig Decker (Bates College), entitled Cultivating Reading Skills: The Colby-Bates Database for Reading Resources in German which ran from April 2010 through May 2011.
When I find time between my teaching, family, and these three bigger projects, I continue to pursue my interests in German film. Examples include presentations and article publications on Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin (see my 2007 article in Glossen) and Michael Haneke (Kulturpoetik 2010). A separate article on the German Krautrock group Faust and on questions of national identity, written with Harris Sei '10, was published in 2009 in the journal Popular Music and Society). And in fall 2009, a new edition of Reinhold Solger's 1862 novel Anton in Amerika came out with Wehrhahn Verlag. It was completed in 2008 with the research assistance of Meredith Fast '11. Note the AWESOME cover with a Whistler image from the Colby Museum of Art. The Feuilleton section of one of Germany's leading national newspapers, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,gave it two thumbs up in a July 2010 review. (NB: My affinity for the protagonist must have led the editors to rename me "Anton Koch" in this review. :)