Susanne Lenné Jones. Born and raised in Germany, I found my way to the US as an exchange student from the University of Mainz, where I was studying Translation and Interpretation. Teaching German to American students was such an electrifying experience that I decided to make it my career.
I truly enjoy teaching every level of German language, culture, literature and film. My area of expertise is contemporary German literature and media studies. What most excites me about teaching a foreign language and its cultural productions is the opportunity I share with students to open windows into new cultures, new literatures and different ways of thinking. I see learning as bridge-building, from language to content, from the familiar to the unfamiliar and vice versa. Thus, while students learn languages and cultures, I encourage them also to reflect on their own beliefs and try to cultivate a curiosity for new minds and ideas.
My teaching and my research emphasize the interconnections of various fields and cultural productions, such as literature, photography, film, and other popular media. My current book project, What’s in a Frame? Photography, Memory, and History in Contemporary German Literature, examines the ways in which photography functions in “autobiografictional” (Lucia Boldrini) works by Irina Liebmann, Monika Maron, and the late Winfried Georg Sebald, all of whom use photography as a foundation for the exploration of (post-)memory and its deceits. My latest research on the humorous representation of Hitler in contemporary German popular media moves from the second post-war generation to a new, third generation of Germans to approach the subject of Holocaust representation. Using different examples, such as Walter Moers’ comic books, the stage performances of Hitler’s Mein Kampf by the Turkish comedian Serdar Somuncu, and Dany Levi’s film Mein Führer, I explore a new cultural phenomenon, which has been, until very recently, a taboo in German media.