Members of the Young Kafka Scholars’ Network

The Young Kafka Scholars’ Network is a world-wide network of early-career scholars working on Kafka. Here you can find the names and bios, as well as descriptions of the diverse research on Kafka, of some of its members.

Akshita Bhardwaj
English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India

With Posthumanism as a broader area, I aim to read hybridized and nonhuman animal creatures in Kafka’s select texts. Such a reading disintegrates the normative meanings and taxonomies and therefore paves ways for a more inclusive, caring and unpredictable future where human exceptionalism is questioned and power dynamics are exhausted. I further try to read Kafkaesque beyond the human sphere therefore trying to relay it to the larger corpus of his animal centred texts. Posthuman care, interspecies ethics and Kinesthetic empathy also remain the cornerstone of my analysis of Kafka’s body of works. Jaques Derrida’s investigations on non-human animals that relies on “thickening the difference instead of falling back into homogeneity” (Polan 10) facilitates imagining possible futures where subjectivity extends beyond the humanist realm and realities. Reading non-human animals in Kafka’s select works beyond allegories and metaphors aids in justifying the presence of these creatures and allowing them their much denied subjectivity.

Eriberto Russo
Assistant Professor
University of Messina, Italy

My scientific interests concerning Franz Kafka mainly revolve around the transtextual, metalinguistic and cross-medial dimensions. Starting from a transtextual perspective I wrote the essay Lücken und Fremdheit bei Franz Kafka und Yoko Tawada (” I quaderni dell’ AIG di Studi Germanici ” 3/2020), in which I highlight how Kafka’s and Tawada’s writings interact semantically with the forms of textual indeterminacy, from which they manage to define their idea of extraneousness; my book (in Italian) Yoko Tawada. Metamorfosi kafkiane (Kafkaesque metamorphosis) (2022), in which, starting from theoretical horizons concerning literary influence and the transtextual relationships between tradition and contemporaneity, deals with Kafka’s influence on the work of the Japanese-German author Yoko Tawada. I took a metalinguistic perspective in the analysis of Kafka’s diaries (Das launische nichtige Wesen. Sull’inaccesibilità all’espressione nella diaristica kafkiana, ”Cultura tedesca”, 55/2018), in which I focus my attention on the concept of inaccessibility to the expression and methods of settling the conflict between the Self and linguistic creation. In the essay On the kafkaesque in Black Mirror: White Bear as a case study (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019) I propose a Kafkaesque reading of an episode of the British TV series Black Mirror, while tracing cross-medial links between the episode and Kafka’s guilt tales.

Syamala Roberts
University of Cambridge, UK

Kafka plays a major role in my doctoral project, entitled ‘Conceptions of Hearing in German Modernism’, and which explores different forms of hearing and being heard in Rainer Maria Rilke, Paula Modersohn-Becker, Walter Benjamin, and Robert Walser. One chapter explores technological hearing in Kafka’s fiction and autobiographical writing, focusing on the figure of the seashell (Muschel) and its relation to the outer form of the hearing organ (Ohrmuschel) and to the telephone receiver (Hörmuschel). A second chapter, on overhearing and eavesdropping, contains further work on Kafka; in this, I argue that overhearing provides a means of affirmative connection in ‘Die Verwandlung’. I also rely upon several diary entries and Kafka’s recently published drawings. My analysis ranges across different forms and genres (poetry, painting, autobiography, etc.), often within the oeuvre of a single author; for example, I consider Kafka not only as an author, but as an artist in several senses.

Gabriele von Bassermann
Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany

Gegenstand meines Forschungsprojektes sind die frühesten Publikationen Franz Kafkas. Im ersten Heft des Hyperion (März 1908) veröffentlicht er acht Prosaminiaturen unter dem Titel Betrachtung, im März- / Aprilheft 1909 folgen das Gespräch mit dem Beter und das Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen. Im März 1911 publiziert Kafka in der Prager Tageszeitung Bohemia unter dem Titel Eine entschlafene Zeitschrift einen ‚Nachruf‘ auf den Hyperion, nachdem die Zeitschrift im März 1910 ihr Erscheinen eingestellt hat. Die Forschung hat an dieser Rezension die Ambivalenz zwischen Lob und scharfer Kritik wiederholt konstatiert, ohne eine überzeugende Erklärung dafür anzubieten. Die Rekonstruktion des intendierten, aber nicht verwirklichten Programms der Zeitschrift hat ergeben, dass Kafkas Rezension einer klassisch-romantischen Ästhetik verpflichtet ist, was in meiner Studie als Kafkas frühe Poetik verstanden werden soll. Diese These ist zu verifizieren, indem – erstens – Kafkas Betrachtung im Kontext des Hyperion-Heftes 1/1 und – zweitens – die beiden Gespräche im Kontext des Hyperion-Heftes 2/8 analysiert werden. Zudem möchte ich Kafkas Rezensionen (1909/1910), seine Essays zur Literatur- und Sprachkritik (1911/1912) sowie seine Bezugnahme auf die Person und das Werk Johann Wolfgang Goethes (1912) in die Analyse einbeziehen.

Fabio Bartoli
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá, Colombia

I received my PhD in Philosophy with Magna Cum Laude distinction from University of Salamanca (Spain) and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá (Colombia) with the thesis “Un mismo lado del mundo”. La seducción donjuanesca y la decisión fáustica en Kierkegaard y Kafka (2021). B.A. in Philosophy from University of Pisa (Italy) (2017), M.A. in Late Modern History from University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (2019).

My research on Kafka is focused on different topics, on which I have already published several research articles: Kierkegaard’s influence on Kafka; The problem of the writing in Kafka; The relation between Kafka and Sickness. My current research examines the aesthetics implications of suicidal thoughts in Kafka’s early diaries and letters.

Johannes Görbert
Post-Doctoral Researcher
University of Fribourg, Switzerland

My research looks at Kafka from the perspective of Literary Disability Studies. My primary focus has been on “Die Verwandlung” (“The Metamorphosis”): both the text itself as well as its reception in disability culture. Kafka’s texts can be connected to the topic of disability in many ways, and Literary Disability Studies offer a new, yet largely underutilized perspective on his work.
This research is part of a larger project on German Modernist literature up to 1933. Other texts I look at from the perspective of Literary Disability Studies come from authors such as Bertolt Brecht, Veza Canetti, Alfred Döblin, Max Herrmann-Neiße, Thomas Mann, Joseph Roth and Ernst Toller.

Shuang Xu
Assistant Professor
Sun Yat-Sen University, China

Topics on Kafka:
discourse history of governmentality and economy; bureaucracy, archives and media aesthetics in Kafka’s texts; affects and media theories

Prekäre Kollektive. Das Gemeinschafts-Denken bei Kafka und Derrida,Verlag Königshausen & Neumann, 2020.
„Kafkas Gemeinschaftsdenken. Zeitgenössische zionistische Diskurse und ihre Problematisierung in den China-Texten“. Comparatio (No.13 2021):35-50.
„Kafka und das Archiv. Die Institutionalisierung der Nachlassbewahrung im Wandel des Autorschaftsverständnisses“. Literaturstraße. (No.22 2021):145-157.
Wir alle spielen Theater. Das Theatralische und die Konstruktion des Normalen des Alltags in Kafkas Texten“. Germanistische Kulturwissenschaften. (No.1 2020): 47-52.
„Melancholie und Identifikation: Melancholieanalyse anhand Lacans Theorie der Identifikation am Beispiel von Hölderlin Hyperion oder der Eremit in Griechenland“. Germanistische Kulturwissenschaften. (No.2 2016): 60-65.

Abderrahim Trebak
Associate Professor
University Hassan II Casablanca, Marocco

Abderrahim Trebak is Associate Professor at the business school E.N.C.G Casablanca, University Hassan II Morocco. He is coordinator of the languages and communication module and is also affiliated with the German Studies programs. He earned his Ph.D at TU-D: Technical University of Dresden in Germany, with a specialty in modern German literature. He has published a number of articles on German language, translation, and education system. He is currently working on German language for business at graduate school.

Trebak’s current work focuses on Kafka’s love affairs. Through Jacqueline Raoul-Duval’s Kafka, l’éternel fiancé (Kafka in Love), Trebak highlights the singular and one-sided, complex love stories of Kafka and explores the role of his passionate and paradoxical correspondence during his love affairs as inspiration to his famous masterpieces.

Nicolas Weisensel
Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany

Aim of the PhD-project is a comprehensive analysis of the works of Franz Kafka from the perspective of Environmental Humanities, with special consideration of Ecocriticism, New Materialism and associated concepts entanglement (Karen Barad), naturecultures (Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour), vital materialism (Jane Bennett).

Meindert Peters
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
University of Oxford, UK

Ballet adaptations of modernist works by authors such as Franz Kafka and Virginia Woolf have been thriving in the last twenty years. Why? Modernist literature’s exploration of the mind and its experiments with language seem at odds with the non-verbal medium of dance and its emphasis on the body and movement. By turning to this untold history of dance adaptations, my second book-length project will generate a new understanding of the reception and continuing relevance of modernist literature in the twenty-first century.

Eva Haude
Leipzig University, Germany

Ach, achgott, pfui, o, jesus!
Kafka’s Interjections
Following Benjamin’s demand to understand Kafka’s narrative world as a “codex of gestures,” this dissertation project focuses on a specific group of gestures – namely on “interjections,” the part of speech also referred to as “vocal gestures.” While this type of word has already received in-depth attention in other literary contexts, a systematic study of interjections in Kafka’s oeuvre is not yet available. The dissertation project provides an overview of the linguistic peculiarities of interjections and their connection to certain aspects of Kafka research. Subsequently, the project provides a systematic survey of all interjections in Kafka’s narrative works. The main part of the project is a close reading analysis of selected interjections and their textual environments, which is intended to illuminate the enormous linguistic power of interjections in Kafka’s narrative work.

Haneul Lee
Academic Visitor
University of Oxford, UK

My doctoral dissertation, Die Bildwelt in Walter Benjamins Kafka-Lektüre (The Image-World in Walter Benjamin’s Reading of Kafka, 2023, Fink Verlag), focusses on images of Kafkaesque figures and various material images, such as portraits, Asian and expressionist paintings and silent films, that appear in Benjamin’s different texts on Kafka, including an essay, personal correspondence, a radio lecture, fragmentary pieces, numerous notes and drafts. While this project focuses more on Benjamin, my research in Oxford as an academic visitor examines the reception of Kafka in South Korea in various fields, such as translation, literature and popular culture, exploring versatile intercultural adaptations of Kafka’s work in the country over the last 70 years. I am also translating Carolin Duttlinger’s The Cambridge Introduction to Kafka (2013, Cambridge) into Korean (2024, Greenbee) and have sought to create dialogue between the Oxford Kafka Research Centre and the Korean Kafka-Society.