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Alisa Preusser

Associated Doctoral Fellow


Campus Am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 19, Room 1.30
14469 Potsdam


Wednesday 1-2pm (in person/on zoom).
Please register via email in advance.

Dissertation Project

Resisting Waste Colonialism: Indigenous Literary Interventions

My dissertation analyzes representations of waste as connected to matters of socioecological in/justice, sovereignty, and world- and kin-making in Indigenous literatures, focusing on Turtle Island and the Pacific. It is part of a larger research interest as to how societies narrate themselves through their relations to what and whom they position as waste, including waste objects, wastescapes, and those human and more-than-human beings deemed waste. Addressing different forms of waste colonialism in North American and Pacific contexts, I examine in this project how contemporary Indigenous works across literary forms and genres expose, resist, and intervene in the discursive violence of waste colonialism. A literary and cultural studies scholar by training, I am interested in conversations between discard and literary studies and specifically how these may inform an anti-colonial critique of waste colonialism from my own situated reading position. For such an inquiry I primarily engage with critical and creative work in Indigenous studies—including, among others, by Max Liboiron, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Kim TallBear, and Zoe Todd—, but also draw on insights from settler-colonial and postcolonial studies as well as ecocriticism and, centrally, the emerging field of critical discard studies.


Alisa Preusser (M.A., M.Ed.) is an associate with the DFG-funded Research Training Group Minor Cosmopolitanisms at the University of Potsdam, where she also holds a position as a PhD researcher and lecturer in American Studies. She has previously taught and worked as a research assistant at the University of Muenster and the University of Augsburg. Her current research examines Indigenous literary interventions into waste colonialism, focusing on Turtle Island and Pacific perspectives, and is embedded in a larger interest regarding the relations between literature and environmental in/justice. She is vice spokesperson of the Emerging Scholars Forum of the Association for Canadian Studies in German-Speaking Countries.

Research Interests

  • Indigenous literatures and theories
  • Urban literatures
  • Ecocriticism, waste and discard studies
  • Anti-colonial, decolonial, postcolonial and settler-colonial studies
  • Kinship studies
  • Border studies


Preusser, Alisa. “Performing the Nation in Thomas King’s Short Fiction.” Zeitschrift für Kanadastudien, vol. 41, 2021, pp. 152-74.


"Against the Necropolitics of Settler Colonialism: Literary Kin- & World-Making in the Ruins." Postcolonial Narrations 2022 “Postcolonial Matters of Life and Death”. Universität Bonn. October 2022. 

"Poetic Reclamations and Reconfigurations of the WasteLands in Indigenous Literatures." Workshop "Cultural Memory and Literature: Research in Dialogue," Graduiertenkolleg Practicing Place: Soziokulturelle Praktiken und epistemische Konfigurationen, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt. July 2022.

"'Is It a Climate Change Crisis or Is It a Kinship Crisis?' Environmental In/Justice and Solidarity in the WasteLands." 32nd Annual Conference of the Association for Anglophone Postcolonial Studies (GAPS) "Contested Solidarities: Agency and Victimhood in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures." Goethe Universität Frankfurt. May 2022.

“Waste Matters: Tracing the Politics of Waste in Thomas King’s Novels.” 42. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Kanada-Studien in deutschsprachigen Ländern (GKS) “Ecologies – Environments – Ethics.” Grainau. February 2022.

Sila’s Arctic: Transnational Relations under Contestation.” 31st Annual Conference for the Postgraduate Forum (PGF) of the German Association for American Studies (DGfA) “Transnational Relations: Past, Present and Future.” Universität Stuttgart. December 2021.

“Navigating Water Boundaries in Thomas King’s Truth & Bright Water.” 41. American Indian Workshop “Indigenous Shapes of Water.” Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. November 2020.

“Performing the Nation in Thomas King’s Short Fiction.” 41. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Kanada-Studien in deutschsprachigen Ländern (GKS) “Political Orders.” Grainau. February 2020.

“‘The Woman Who Fell from the Sky’ – Eine indigene Schöpfungsgeschichte als Intervention in dominante Umweltdiskurse.” Konfliktnarrative: Bürgerkriege, Generationenkonflikte, identitätspolitische Auseinandersetzungen. Universität Augsburg. February 2020.

“Stuck in the Borderlands: Crossing the 49th Parallel in Thomas King's ‘Borders.’” Borders and Crossings 2019: An Interdisciplinary Conference on Travel and Travel Writing. University of Leicester. July 2019.

“A Cyborg Reading of Colson Whitehead's The Intuitionist.” Fantastic Beasts, Monstrous Cyborgs, Aliens and Other Spectres: Exploring Alterity in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Universität Freiburg. October 2018.

“Moving across Borders in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony.” Moving Centres & Traveling Cultures. Postgraduate Forum “Postcolonial Narrations,” Goethe Universität Frankfurt. October 2018.