Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Welcome to new members of the department in the winter term 2019/20

American Studies



Teaching Exchange with Seattle continued with Prof. Julie Villegas

In the past eight years, our department has enjoyed a teaching exchange with the University of Washington at Seattle. Some students may still remember Gillian Harkins’s seminars on incarceration and the US disciplinary system. We are continuing our exchange in the winter by sending Anne Potjans to Seattle, where she will teach a seminar on “Black Political Consciousness in Germany and the United States.”

Julie Villegas HU.jpgIn return Professor Julie Villegas will join us here in Berlin and teach a Master-seminar on “Mestiza Consciousness,” which will cover prose, poetry, memoir and personal essays towards expressing identity narratives that straddle and intermix multiple “races” and cultures. Julie Villegas is Acting Director of the Honors Program at the University of Washington and Affiliate Assistant Professor of the Department of English in Seattle. She has received her BA and MA from the University of Washington;she has studied also at the University of New Mexico and the University of Guadalajara; and she has conducted her doctoral research at the University of California and the University of Washington, where she received her PhD in 1997.

Julie Villegas’s dissertation was on “The Racial Shadow in American Literature.” Her work as head and deputy head of the Honors Program at the University of Washington has also led her to issues and questions of (international) teaching, career development, community outreach and scholarship stewardship. She has organized and taught excursion seminars in Berlin, Istanbul, Tokyo, Rome, Florence and Naples.

Both Anne Potjans and Julie Villegas will participate in the respective events at their guest departments and will work towards furthering the research and teaching collaboration between the University of Washington and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.



Selma Siew Li Bidlingmaier will be joining the department as a visiting professor for the Winter Term 2019/2020 and Summer Term 2020.


Professor Selselma bidlingmaier.jpgma Siew Li Bidlingmaier graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a major in Psychology and a minor in English. She completed her M.A. at the University of Bayreuth in Anglophone Studies and worked as a senior lecturer at the English Department of the Ruhr-University Bochum. Having received a MERCATOR scholarship, she completed her PhD in American Studies as part of Urban Transformations research project of the Ruhr Center for American Studies. Her dissertation addresses the cultural history and representational politics of Chinatowns in Chinese American Literature. In affiliation with the Asian⎮Pacific⎮American Institute at New York University, Selma is currently working on her postdoctoral project that examines New York City’s history of housing and housing policy from the turn of the 20th century leading up to the present affordable housing crisis. Her research interests include the history of New York City’s real estate in relation to race, gender and class politics, the development of demographics and statistics used in describing and measuring the growth of cities, the establishment of land and housing appraisal, the epistemology of American urban studies and planning, cities in literature, and the lived spaces of ethnic enclaves.