GRADE Initiative "Race in Literature and Culture"

Aims and thematic focus

The aim of this group is to bring together early career researchers interested in meeting regularly to explore foundational and emergent theoretical texts on race, particularly critical race theory and postcolonial theory. At each meeting, one participant suggests readings for the next session. In addition, we also share our work-in-progress and discuss career-related concerns. This group will also be inviting speakers to discuss their recent publications on race in literature and culture (broadly defined) and the related fields. Although our discussions and readings will be in English, the material we discuss can center on culture anywhere in the globe and literature in any language. We encourage researchers from any discipline to join us. To allow people from other cities and countries to participate, a hybrid or fully online format is possible.

Forms of Collaboration

  • Reading Group: to discuss theoretical works of relevance to our research
  • Support group: to discuss our own research projects (presentation or pre-circulated drafts)
  • Workshops: to discuss the work of established scholars who have recently published articles or books on race in literature or culture.


  • Creating a stimulating environment to broaden our knowledge of theory
  • Exchanging resources and enhancing productivity
  • Supporting each other while dissertating or writing
  • Providing an opportunity for collaboration on shared academic interests
  • Providing space to network among PhD and post-doctoral researchers at Goethe university and beyond


To join us, please email us at We are happy to welcome every new member!


Venus Bender (FB 10 - Modern Languages)
Research interests: Modern U.S. (Cultural) History, Histories of Race, Black Power, and Black Liberation Theology

Soumaya Boughanmi (FB 10 - Modern Languages)
Research interests: early modern drama, adaptation studies, critical race theory, affect theory, history of emotions

Gianluca Calio (FB 10 - Modern Languages)
Research interests: Gender Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Poststructuralism and Postmodernism, Trauma and Memory Studies, Australian and Canadian Contemporary Literature

Nina Heise (FB 10 - Modern Languages)
Research interests: British literature & culture, fanfiction, gender/queer studies, race, cultural memory

Allison Lemley (FB 10 - Modern Languages)
Research interests: early modern drama, memory studies, material culture, and performance studies

Bhagyashri Vyasaramacharya (FB 10 - Modern Languages)
Research interests: memory studies, postcolonial studies, famine studies, Anglophone literatures, cultures and Media, cultural and communication studies