Current and recent projects
The second issue of the journal Critical Multilingualism Studies, which I co-edit with my colleague David Gramling, appears in June 2013, with contributions from Deborah Cameron, Anthony Pym, Alison Phipps, Thomas Bonfiglio and Yaseen Noorani.
Watch for the volume Traditions and Transitions: Curricula for German Studies (eds. John Plews and Barbara Schmenk), which features the essay "Gerade Dir hat er eine Botschaft gesendet Contact Pragmatics and the Teaching of Foreign Language Texts", which I co-wrote with David Gramling.The volume is set to release in July.
My recent monograph, The Pragmatics of Literary Testimony examines a number of German-language literary autobiographies that are connected to diverse social movements from the last forty years. These books have all received critical attention from the popular press, topped bestseller lists, and have been pivotal in discussions of authenticity, subjectivity, and referentiality. Because of the thematic diversity of these works, scholars within literary and cultural studies have tended to treat them separately under topical categories, such as women’s literature, the post-war generation, migration and multiculturalism, etc. My claim is that a pragmatic-stylistic approach is well-suited to describing how literary autobiographies come to function as testimonies to certain collective experiences. Through the analysis of key examples of German social testimonies from the late twentieth century, my book incorporates insights from discourse analysis, pragmatics, cogntive poetics, and sociolinguistics in order to demonstrate that this diverse body of works constitutes a particular form of textual practice defined by what I call authenticity effects—feelings of realism, immediacy, exemplarity, genuineness, and social relevance. By studying authenticity as a poetic effect, I believe that we can better understand the testimonial glamour owned by various types of autobiographical narration.