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Dr. Samira Spatzek

Samira Spatzek

Research-Track Postdoc RA 1

Participating Researcher

Academic Coordinator, RA 1: Competing Communities

Freie Universität Berlin
EXC 2020 Temporal Communities
Otto-von-Simson-Straße 15
Room 01.06
14195 Berlin

Appointments and Experience                      

Since June 2021
Postdoctoral Researcher and Academic Coordinator American Studies
Fashion Studies, Critical Race Studies
Research Area 1 "Competing Communities"
Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities", Freie Universität (FU) Berlin

October 2020 – May 2021
Postdoctoral Researcher
American Studies, Diversity Studies
Faculty of Linguistics, Literature and Cultural Studies, Institute of English and American Studies
Technische Universität (TU) Dresden


July 2018 – September 2020
Research Assistant and Lecturer, American Studies
English-Speaking Cultures, Department of Languages and Literatures
Universität Bremen


April 2015 – May 2018
Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation, Berlin
PhD fellowship


October 2014 – March 2015
Research Assistant and Lecturer, American Studies
English-Speaking Cultures, Department of Languages and Literatures
Universität Bremen


2012 – 2014
Project Assistant, Universität Bremen
Collegium for African American Research (CAAR)


2011 – 2015
Project Assistant, Universität Bremen
Denkwerk series, funded by Robert Bosch Foundation: "Tracing the Fabric of Slavery."



December 2012 – December 2019
Dr. phil. (summa cum laude)
American Studies, Universität Bremen
Dissertation Project: Refusing Narrative: Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, (Early) Modern Self-Making, and Private Property
Committee: Prof. Dr. Sabine Broeck (Universität Bremen), Prof. Dr. Alan Rice (UCLAN, UK), Prof. Dr. Peter Schneck (University of Osnabrück) (Defense: October 2020)

Fall 2016
Research Fellow, African American and Diaspora Studies, Callie House Research Center for the Study of the Global Black Cultures and Politics, Vanderbilt University, USA.
Sponsor: Professor T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting

2009 – 2011
Master of Arts, American Studies
University of Groningen, The Netherlands

2006 – 2009
Bachelor of Arts, English-Speaking Cultures and Linguistics
Universität Bremen, Germany, & University of Sheffield, UK

Research Interests

African American literature, history, and literary history; Fashion Studies; Critical Race Theory; Black (Diaspora) Studies and Theory; Early American Studies; Law and Literature; Narratology; Popular Culture Studies; Speculative Fictions

Grants, Fellowships, Scholarships

November 2019
Conference Travel Grant, DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
10th Biennial Conference of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD): “Remembrance, Renaissance, Revolution: The Meaning of Freedom in the African World Over Time and Space.” College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia, USA.

April 2015 – May 2018
PhD Fellowship, Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation
including travel grants for:

  • (Un)Making the Self: A Graduate Symposium. Department of English, Rice University. Houston, Texas, USA (April 2018)
  • Research stay at Vanderbilt University (Fall 2016)
  • 11th international conference of the Collegium for African American Research (June 2015)

August 2015
Summer School Scholarship for the Osnabrück Summer Institute on the Cultural Study of the Law, M7 Promotionszentrum PLUS, Universität Bremen

March 2013
Conference Travel Grant, Universität Bremen


Academic Functions and Further Experience

since 2016
Co-Editor of COPAS: Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies

May 2018
Reviewer for Black Womanhood in Popular Culture, special issue of Open Cultural Studies, DeGruyter.

Panel Chair, “The Abolitionist Atlantic.” Mobilising Memory: Creating African Atlantic Identities, 11th International Conference of CAAR. Liverpool, UK. June 28, 2015.

2014 – 2020
Co-Founder, Spokesperson (2014-2015; 2017-2018), Doctoral Students’ Network Perspektiven in der Kulturanalyse: Black Diaspora, Dekolonialität und Transnationalität (“Perspektiven”), Universität Bremen.

SoSe 2020 & SoSe 2019
"Key Topics in Literature: The African American Novel in the Postwar Era, 1945-1960"
(B.A. English-Speaking Cultures, Universität Bremen)

WiSe 2019
"Introduction to English Literatures, Part 1"
(B.A. English-Speaking Cultures, Universität Bremen)

WiSe 2018
"Key Topics in Literature: North American Speculative Fictions Then and Now"
(B.A. English-Speaking Cultures, Universität Bremen)

WiSe 2014
"Key Topics in Literature: African American Women’s Writing: Toni Morrison"
(B.A. English-Speaking Cultures, Universität Bremen)

WiSe 2007
Tutorium: "Introduction to (Applying) Linguistics"
(B.A. English-Speaking Cultures, Universität Bremen)

Current research includes an EXC 2020 post-doctoral research project, The Fabrics of Community: The Temporal Poetics of Fashion and Law in US-American Literature (2021-).


Spatzek, Samira. Unruly Narrative: On Self-Making and Private Property. [in preparation]

Special Issues of Peer-Reviewed Journals

with Cedric Essi, Gesine Wegner, Stephen Koetzing, and Paula von Gleich, editors. “White Supremacy in the United States,” Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies (COPAS) vol. 20, no. 2 (2019). https://copas.uni-regensburg.de/issue/view/39

with Marius Henderson, Jasmin Humburg, Julia Lange, Mariya Nikolova, and Paula von Gleich. COPAS vol. 18, no. 1 (2017). https://copas.uni-regensburg.de/issue/view/34

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Spatzek, Samira. “Post-Slavery Negotiations? On (Slave) Narrative and Impossible Stories in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy.” Reading and Narrating Post-Slavery, special issue of Slavery & Post-Slavery / Esclavages & Post-esclavages [online], no. 4, 10 May 2021. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/slaveries.3994

Spatzek, Samira, Cedric Essi, Gesine Wegner, Stephen Koetzing, and Paula von Gleich. “COPAS at Twenty: Interrogating White Supremacy in the United States and Beyond,” COPAS vol. 20, no. 2 (2019): pp. 1-17. https://copas.uni-regensburg.de/article/view/336

Spatzek, Samira, Marius Henderson, Jasmin Humburg, Julia Lange, Mariya Nikolova, and Paula von Gleich. “Editorial,” COPAS vol. 18, no. 1 (2017): n.pag. https://copas.uni-regensburg.de/article/view/285/366

Spatzek, Samira, and Paula von Gleich. “Meine Stadt und Versklavung? Spurensuche in Bremen” (My City and Enslavement? A Search for Traces in Bremen), Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 50-51, 2015. https://www.bpb.de/apuz/216487/meine-stadt-und-versklavung-jugendliche-auf-spurensuche-in-bremen?p=all (edited version re-published in Hier und Jetzt! Kolonialismus und Kolonialrassismus im Unterricht, 2017, pp. 21-24.)

Spatzek, Samira. “‘Own Yourself, Woman’: Toni Morrison’s A Mercy, Early Modernity, and Property.” Black Studies Papers vol. 1, no. 1, 2014, pp. 57-71. http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:gbv:46-00103777-19

Chapters in Collective Volumes

Spatzek, Samira. “Possessive Investments: Property and White Self-Making in Early American and Contemporary Literary Texts.” Law and Culture: Methods, Concepts, Approaches, edited by Peter Schneck and Sabine N. Meyer. De Gruyter, [forthcoming].

Reviews, Interviews, Translations

Spatzek, Samira.Rev. of Where is All My Relation? The Poetics of Dave the Potter, ed. by Michael A. Chaney. Anglia: Zeitschrift für englische Philologie, vol. 139, no.3, 2021, pp. 609-13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2021-0051

Spatzek, Samira. Rev. of They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South, by Stephanie Jones-Rogers. Amerikastudien/American Studies, vol. 66, no. 3, 2021, pp. 535-37. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33675/AMST/202

Spatzek, Samira, Wilderson, Frank B. III, and Paula von Gleich. “‘The Inside-Outside of Civil Society’: An Interview with Frank B. Wilderson, III.” Black Studies Papers, vol. 2, no.1, 2016, pp. 4-22. https://media.suub.uni-bremen.de/bitstream/elib/3230/1/00105247-1.pdf

Wynter, Sylvia. “Die Kolonialität von Sein/Macht/Wahrheit/Freiheit erschüttern: Eine Streitschrift über das Menschliche.” Trans. Michel Büch and Samira Spatzek. Lateinamerikanische Kulturtheorien: Grundlagentexte, edited by Isabel Exner, and Gudrun Rath. Konstanz UP, 2015.

Spatzek, Samira. “Tussen stelling en verwijzing: gender, seksualiteit en zwarte mannelijkheid tijdens de Harlem Renaissance.” Rev. of The Making of the New Negro, by Anna Pochmara. Vooys: Tijdschrift voor Letteren, vol. 30, no. 3, October 2012, pp. 79-82.