Kirsten E. Kumpf Baele
Kirsten received her M.A. and Ph.D. in German literature at the University of Iowa after having completed undergraduate studies at Luther College including a year at the Westfälische-Wilhelms Universität in Münster. Her Master’s thesis explored thematically and linguistically the writings of Anant Kumar, an immigrant Indian author composing in German. Her dissertation entitled “Thinking Outside of the Cardboard Box: the Conditions, Meanings and Myths of ‘Obdachlosigkeit’ in German Fiction and Film” looked at how German-speaking writers and filmmakers have located in homelessness a metaphor for expressing opposition, revolution and origination. The study juxtaposed textual findings on German homelessness in the 20th and 21st centuries with relevant theories of liminality, geocriticism, psychoanalysis, masculinity theory, motherhood studies, ecofeminism and ageism. Kirsten was awarded a five-month visiting honorary research position in the German Department at Ghent University in Belgium to conduct initial dissertation research.
Kirsten’s areas of interest: Late 19th, 20th and contemporary German literature and film, constructions of motherhood, ecofeminism, borders, liminality, mobility, geocriticism, questions of German identity and representation especially regarding social concerns related to discrimination against any kind of ‘otherness’ (e.g. immigrants, the homeless, women, veterans and the elderly), German resistance to National Socialism and Dutch literature and culture.
Throughout her graduate work, she served as a teaching and research assistant in the German Department and as an adjunct instructor of German at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She taught one year as a guest lecturer in the German and American Studies departments at the Technical University of Dortmund in Germany. Currently, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor of German at the University of Iowa. Kirsten has presented at numerous national and international conferences. She has published in journals such as LIT Verlag, The Eighteenth Century Current Bibliography, the Utah Foreign Language Review and others. At present, she is working on revising her dissertation for publication.