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Maria Roca Lizarazu - PhD Student

Curriculum Vitae

I am an Early Career Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick. I recently completed my PhD in German Studies at the University of Warwick (July 2017).

Before coming to Warwick, I received my B.A. in German literature and History from the Humboldt University in Berlin in 2008. I then went on to complete an M.A. in Comparative Literature at the Ruhr-University Bochum during which I spent an internship semester at the Leo Baeck Institute London, working as a research assistant.

Research interests

My research interests include:

  • Contemporary German-, Austrian- and American-Jewish literature
  • Holocaust literature, with a focus on third-generation authors
  • The "Eastern European turn" in contemporary German- and Austrian Jewish Literature
  • Theories and practices of adaptation, intertextuality and remediation
  • Memory Studies
  • (Critical) Trauma Studies

PhD project

Finding the Holocaust in Metaphor. Renegotiations of Trauma in Contemporary German- and Austrian-Jewish Literature

My thesis investigates representations of the Holocaust and the Second World War across a range of German- and Austrian-Jewish writers who belong to the second or third generation born after the Holocaust. These writers relate to the events from the position of the “nonwitness” (Weissman 2004), and in the face of major shifts in Holocaust memory since the turn of the millennium: the disappearance of the survivor and eyewitness generation entails a transition from first-hand memories of the war period to an increasingly ritualised cultural memory of the events. This transformation intersects with larger changes in Holocaust memory in the last 15 years, such as the re- and hypermediation of Holocaust memory and the emergence of a globalised Erinnerungskultur. The Holocaust has therefore emerged as a highly discursivised “floating signifier” (Huyssen 2003), which travels transgenerationally, transmedially and transnationally.

Engaging with these shifts, I argue that Marianne Hirsch’s concept of “postmemory” (Hirsch 1997) and recent trauma theory remain embedded in a biologising framework of analysis that views cultural transmission in terms of contagious inheritance. Drawing on cultural and literary theories and transnational memory studies, I develop a new approach that focuses on the Holocaust as a form of “travelling trauma” (Tomsky 2011), tracing its remediation and recycling across geographical, cultural, medial, and representational boundaries. My readings of texts by Benjamin Stein, Maxim Biller, Vladimir Vertlib, and Eva Menasse explore how these authors (re-)negotiate the various travels of Holocaust memory in the age of remediation.

By initiating a dialogue between the realms of theory and contemporary fiction, this thesis engages with a broad body of recent German- and Austrian-Jewish Holocaust fiction, while at the same time critically investigating key paradigms in the field of memory and trauma studies.


"Beyond Unspeakability – Configurations of 'Travelling Trauma' in Contemporary German-Language Literature About the Holocaust" (accepted for publication in a special Issue of German Life and Letters on "Trauma Narratives").

"Why Don't You Talk To Me? Transmissional Objects in the Works of Gila Lustiger and Nicole Krauss", in: Hoffmann, Bettina and Ursula Reuter (Eds.), Translated Memories. Transgenerational Perspectives in Literature on the Holocaust, Detroit: Wayne State UP (forthcoming).

"The Family Tree, the Web, and the Palimpsest: Figures of Postmemory in Katja Petrowskaja's Vielleicht Esther", Modern Language Review 113.1 (2018) (forthcoming).

"Thomas Mann in Furs: Remediations of Sadomasochism in Maxim Biller’s Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz and Harlem Holocaust", Edinburgh German Yearbook 11 (2017) (in print).

"Johannes Boborowski: Levins Mühle. 34 Sätze über meinen Großvater (1964)", in: Goßens, Peter and Monika Schmitz-Emans (Eds.), Weltliteratur aus der DDR. Relektüren, Berlin 2014, pp. 32-34.

"Fred Wander: Der siebente Brunnen (1971)", in: Goßens, Peter and Monika Schmitz-Emans (Eds.), Weltliteratur aus der DDR. Relektüren, Berlin 2014, pp. 163-165.

"Maxie Wander: Guten Morgen, du Schöne. Protokolle nach Tonband (1977)", in: Goßens, Peter and Monika Schmitz-Emans (Eds.), Weltliteratur aus der DDR. Relektüren, Berlin 2014, pp. 166-168.

Conference Report: “Objects and Emotions – Loss and Acquisition of Jewish Property”, in: Leo Baeck Institute (Ed.), Annual Report of Activities 2011, pp. 61-69.


Review of Jilovsky, Esther, Jordana Silverstein and David Slucki (Eds.), In the Shadows of Memory. The Holocaust and the Third Generation, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 16.3 (2017), pp. 522-523.

Review of Aarons, Victoria (Ed.), Third-Generation Holocaust Narratives: Memory in Memoir and Fiction, Holocaust Studies (2017), DOI: 10.1080/17504902.2017.1361704.

Review of Jilovsky, Esther, Remembering the Holocaust: Generations, Witnessing and Place, Holocaust Studies (2017), DOI:10.1080/17504902.2017.1361705.

Review of Weiss-Sussex, Godela, Jüdin und Moderne. Literarisierungen der Lebenswelt deutsch-jüdischer Autorinnen in Berlin (1900–1918), Modern Language Review 112.3 (2017), pp. 742-744.

'Für Tories nicht geeignet. Ken Loachs neuer Film „I, Daniel Blake“ rechnet ab mit Austeritätspolitik und dem Zerfall des britischen Sozialsystems',, 10.01.17.

Review of Jilovsky, Esther, Jordana Silverstein and David Slucki (Eds.), In the Shadows of Memory. The Holocaust and the Third Generation, Holocaust Studies 22.4 (2016), pp. 468-472.

Review of Welzer, Harald, Sabine Moller and Karoline Tschuggnall, “Opa war kein Nazi”. Nationalsozialismus und Holocaust im Familiengedächtnis, Jahrbuch für Forschungen zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung 3 (2007), p. 191.

Presentations (Selection)

"'Jeder hat jemanden hier' – Renegotiating the Victim-Perpetrator-Binary in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther (2014)", Victim Narratives in Transnational Contexts, Universität Innsbruck, 25-27. January 2018.

"Beyond Unspeakability – Figurations of “Travelling Trauma” in Contemporary German-language Literature about the Holocaust", Testimony, Memory and Reading Trauma in Representations of the Holocaust, University of East Anglia, 15. July 2017.

"Thomas Mann in Furs. Remediations of Sadomasochism in Maxim Biller’s Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz". Guest speaker at the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 22. November 2016.

"Beyond Speech? Renegotiating a Trope in Contemporary German- and Austrian-Jewish Literature About the Holocaust", Seventy-Ninth Meeting of the Association of German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland, Newcastle University, 31. Aug-2.Sep. 2016.

"Alles in Scherben, ohne Bezug"? Towards a Quasicrystalline Poetics in Holocaust Remembrance in Eva Menasse's Fiction. DAAD Postgraduate Summer School in German Studies, University of Leeds, 4.-7. May 2016.

"Das besondere Gedächtnis der osteuropäisch-jüdischen Literatur: Reframing the Holocaust in the Texts of Vladimir Vertlib and Katja Petrowskaja". Seventy-Eighth Meeting of the Association of German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, 2.-4. Sep. 2015.

"Erinnerungskreuzungen - Transnational Holocaust Memories in Vladimir Vertlib's Das besondere Gedächtnis der Rosa Masur". DAAD Postgraduate Summer School in German Studies, University of Oxford, 7.-10. July 2015.

"From Unspeakability to 'Hyperspeakabiliy'. Representing the Holocaust in Contemporary German-Jewish Literature." Beyond Speech: Silence and the Unspeakable Across Cultures, University of Manchester, 8. May 2015.

"'Erinnerung an die Erinnerung'. Holocaust Memory and the Problem of Authenticity in Benjamin Stein's Die Leinwand (2010)". After Downfall: 10 Years of the Nazi Past in German Culture, University of St. Andrews, 27.-28. February 2015.

"Vom Familienroman zum 'Erinnerungsmosaik'. Remembering the Holocaust in Eva Menasse's Fiction". "Es geht uns gut". Recent Trends in (Re)writing the Past in Austrian Literature since 2000, Ingeborg Bachmann Centre for Austrian Literature, London at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, 27. November 2014.

"Making Things Talk. Object, Narrative and (Post-)Memory in Nicole Krauss's Great House and Gila Lustiger's So sind Wir". Things to Remember. Materializing Memories in Art and Popular Culture, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 4.-6. June 2014.

"Trauma Time". Joint International PhD and Postdoctoral Workshop: Living in a Culture of Immediacy. The Longing for Time in Contemporary Culture, Universität Konstanz, 14. May 2014.

Grants and Awards

Sylvia Naish Postdoctoral Fellowship, Institute for Modern Languages Research (IMLR), London, February-June 2018

IAS Early Career Fellowship, 2017/18

Chancellor's Scholarship, University of Warwick, 2013-2017

Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland (AGS) Travel Scholarship, 2016/17

Godfrey Carr Fund Travel Grant, University of Warwick, 2015/16, 2016/17

HRF Travel Grant, University of Warwick, 2013/14, 2014/15, 2016/17, 2017/18

Workshop and Conference Organisation

Since 06/16: Research asssistant for the GRP "Connecting Cultures"

Since 2013/14: Co-organiser of The Memory Group with Prof Mark Philp (History, Warwick)

Since its inauguration in 2013, Warwick's Memory Group has hosted a wide range of sessions, attracting renowned scholars from a variery of disciplinary backgrounds; we also organise the Annual Memory Lecture and Master Class in collaboraton with the GRP "Connecting Cultures" which has been running since 2015, contriubutors include(d): Astrid Erll (2014/15), Aleida Assmann (2015/16), Ann Rigney (2016/17), Stef Craps (2017/18)

In April 2018: Co-organiser of a workshop on "Contemporary Jewish Women’s Writing in Germany and Austria – A ‘Minor’ Literature?", Institute for Modern Languages Research, London, 28.04.18.

In December 2017: Organiser of a workshop on "Modes of Attentiveness", University of Warwick, 01.12.17

In 2015/2016: Co-organiser of the National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies, University of Warwick/Institute for Modern Languages Research, London, 04.11.16.

In 2015/16: Organiser of a Workshop with Prof Aleida Assmann on "Transnational Memories", University of Warwick, 25.02.16.

In 2014/15: Co-organisier of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures Postgraduate Symposium 2015 with Matt Coneys (Italian Studies, Warwick), Clare Siviter (French Studies, Warwick) and Hanna Schumacher (German Studies, Warwick), University of Warwick, 27.05.15.


In 2017/18: Tutor for L51A/B Beginner's German (terms 1&2)

In 2017/18: Tutor for WBS Masters course (German) (term 1)

In 2017/18: Seminar tutor for GE201 Modern German Language - Conversation

2015/16: Seminar tutor for GE108 The Changing Face of Germany

2014/15: Seminar tutor for GE108 Writers, Media and Society in Contemporary Germany


Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland (AGS)


M-D dot Roca-Lizarazu at warwick dot ac dot uk