Katrina Schlunke
Foto: Katrina Schlunke

Katrina Schlunke is Associate Professor at the University of Tasmania and the University of Sydney, Australia. She is interested in thinking and writing about Indigenous (Australian) studies, (popular) cultural history, critical theory, ecocriticism and has an ongoing interest in fictocriticism, material fiction and queering the postcolonial. She will hold the Potsdam Postcolonial Chair for Global Modernities in the 2021/22 winter semester.

 

Katrina Schlunke
Foto: Katrina Schlunke

Interview with Prof. Schlunke (winter term 2021/22)

Where will you be teaching from now that you cannot come to Potsdam in person? 

I will be teaching from Hobart (nipaluna) my home in Tasmania (lutruwita) Australia. As the double naming suggests, Tasmania has a deep Indigenous history and a rich continuing Aboriginal presence alongside the ever-present colonial effects. Tasmania is well known for the huge and ongoing desecration of its forests and Aboriginal country while also being famous for its green, clean credentials and its ‘wilderness’. I imagine the politics of place (and, in particular, the politics of pandemic space) will be a point of critical concern for all of us as we learn together. When I am not teaching, I will be dreaming of playing table tennis in the parks and clubs of Berlin!

What are you looking forward to in the months that you will be spending with us?

I am very much looking forward to working with my students and exploring the key contentions I have established in my subjects which include the Anthropocene, reimagining the past, and reconsidering the idea of ‘Australia’ as well as critiqued categories such as extinction, race, whiteness and queerness. I am also excited about working within the zoom format. It enables new orders of global connection and new styles of pedagogy and I look forward to the arguments that may arise as to whether it also creates new forms of embodied learning and collegial intimacy. Through shared research projects over the years I have come to know and deeply respect my Potsdam colleagues so I am also very much looking forward to being a part of the dynamic Potsdam team and enjoying once more their stimulating collegiality.

What does our MA programme name ‘Anglophone Modernities in Literature and Culture’ mean to you?

The plurality suggested by both ‘anglophone’ and ‘modernities’ describes very precisely one of the key contributions of Cultural Studies (my foundational discipline) to both politics and culture. Appreciating the point that there is never one order of English enables us to recognise the multiple forms of English expression marked by different modalities (film, art, music) and different experiences heard in accents, argots and language invention. That diverse modernities have arisen as a result of constant encounters allows us to appreciate the importance of new categories of subjects and identities. It also lets us see the ways in which key organising binaries such as past/present, man/woman and nature/culture are never entirely secure. This makes for an exciting program of study made all the more challenging and delightful by making literature and culture the surrounding frame.