Person working with a Laptop ©Burst /

Two BAA-Fellows at Harvard University Awarded

In a competetive selection process, Yıldız Aşar (University of Bamberg) and Andrew Wildermuth (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg) have been selected for the 2024 Post-Graduate Research Fellowships at Harvard University. The fellowships include a grant of 4.000 Euro and are jointly awarded by the Bavarian American Academy (BAA) and the Harvard Club of Munich e.V. Since 2008, the fellowships have enabled early career researchers to conduct research at the prestigious American university.

At Harvard, Yıldız Aşar will focus on the emergence of Young Adult dystopias since the early 2000s. In her dissertation project, the American Studies scholar from the University of Bamberg is particularly interested in narratives featuring young female protagonists navigating environmental catastrophes and their sociopolitical ramifications. Through her corpus, she explores how this body of literature re-envisions “girl” subjectivities – especially those who have traditionally been marginalized under intersecting categorical oppressions – as agents of hope in the face of ecological crisis and revises earlier notions concerning “women and nature.” Accordingly, she will engage with prominent scholars and comprehensive library collections at Harvard in order to fine-tune her conceptual framework and analysis.

As a Harvard University Post-Graduate Research Fellow, Andrew Wildermuth will conduct research at Harvard’s rare manuscripts library—Houghton Library—where the Americanist plans to complete his PhD dissertation. In the Emily Dickinson Collection, Wildermuth will build close readings of the politics of the strange materialities of Emily Dickinson’s original manuscripts. In the Margaret Fuller Family Papers, he will consult Margaret Fuller’s private notes, letters, and manuscript drafts, providing historical urgency in his readings of Fuller and what he terms “liberal-reform” literature before the U.S. Civil War.

Katharina Strika ©private

Yıldız Aşar is a Ph.D. candidate in American Studies at the University of Bamberg, where she also works as a research and teaching assistant. Her doctoral project explores twenty-first century representations of young womanhood, or “girlhood”, and ecological crisis in contemporary US-American speculative young adult literature. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature with Honors at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. She then completed a European Joint Master’s degree in English and American Studies at the University of Bamberg with a DAAD Award for Outstanding International Student, including a mobility semester at the University of Graz. Recently, Yıldız has received her university’s annual award for excellent gender teaching. Her research interests include ecocriticism, ecofeminism, gender and girlhood studies, young adult literature, speculative fiction, and cofuturisms.

Andrew Wildermuth ©private

Andrew Wildermuth is a doctoral researcher in North American Studies at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, where he is a member of the research training group “The Sentimental in Literature, Culture, and Politics,” which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). His critical work has been published in Iperstoria, aspeers, and ZAA: Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik; his poems in Lana Turner, Oxford Poetry, and Columbia Journal. His dissertation, titled “American Malleability: Aesthetics and Politics of Change in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Literature,” analyzes “malleability” in U.S. literature, from 1820–1870. The American Studies scholar emphasizes engagements with the human, the colony, and debates over who and what can be changed, tracing three primary tendencies: the liberal-reform, the radical-critical, and the nihilist avant-garde. Authors considered by Wildermuth include, among others, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, William Apess, Frances Harper, John Rollin Ridge, and Emily Dickinson.

The Bavarian American Academy awards Post-Graduate Research Fellowship at Harvard University in collaboration with the Harvard Club of Munich, which also finances the fellowship. We are grateful for this valuable collaboration, which has allowed over 30 early career researchers at Bavarian universities to conduct research at Harvard, since it was first awarded in 2008.

We congratulate Yıldız Aşar and Andrew Wildermuth warmly and wish them our very best for their research stays and their dissertation projects!