Prof. Dr. Kerstin Knopf

I am full professor of North American and postcolonial literary and cultural studies and primarily interested in coloniality and possible decolonization in diverse and manifold processes. Out of this basic interest grow my specific research interests as, for example, Indigenous and postcolonial films and literatures around the world, German colonialism in the Pacific, its ramifications and neocolonial conditions, and respective post/colonial texts in the Pacific, or literatures of marginalized groups in Canada and the US as for example Black Canadian or Indigenous/ChicanX literatures and prison literatures. Another research field are epistemological power relations, postcolonial and Indigenous knowledge systems, and decentralizing of knowledge and knowledge practices in North America and other English-speaking settler states. 

Our world is full of contradictions, many of which are reproduced by ongoing coloniality, settler colonialism, enslavement, anti-blackness, discrimination, racism, xenophobia, homo- and transphobia, sexism, ageism, ableism, totalitarianism and many more. Ensuing hegemonic practices, discourses, and norms still determine conditions of life, administrative, political and social structures, educational systems, text and knowledge practices in the former colonizing and colonized nations as well as for the still colonized Indigenous nations in colonial settler states. Such political, social, legal, and educational hegemonies, power hierarchies, forms of oppression and violence were and are always answered by anticolonial, antiracist, and anti-discriminatory struggles, movements to decenter and decolonize Eurocentric domination and ubiquity, and academic schools that bring forth Black, Indigenous, postcolonial, and decolonial scholarship. We meet such contradictory positions and practices, but also heterogeneous constellations that integrate contradictory and oppositional positions and practices at every turn in our globalised world. To trace and analyze these macro- and micro appearances of contradiction as well as contradicting and resisting stand points and processes is a new challenge that will help us unveil and work against Eurocentric normalization practices and neocolonial positions und processes. 

My working group consists of Phd students and Postdoctoral researchers from Germany, Nigeria, India, Turkey, and the US that work on projects such as African migration literature, African women’s literature, hunger literature, Turkish women and film, ChicanX and Mexican film, German American poetry, and condemned femininities in North America. Aware of asymmetries in global academia and my privileged position within the German university system, I support anticolonial, antiracist, and decolonial scholarship. I encourage prospective applicants to join the RTG and my research group with projects related to the formations, emergences, and repercussions of contradictions and contradictory practices in our diverse and pluralistic world and thus engage in critical and pluriversal knowledge production. 

name contradiction

“Contradiction becomes real where someone names contradiction.”

Ingo H. Warnke
every day

“Living in contradictions is what we experience every day. Why do we know so little about it?”

Gisela Febel
idea of democratic critique

“If you think that acts of contradicting someone always need to point to better solutions, you haven’t really understood the idea of democratic critique.”

Martin Nonhoff
coherence in thought

“The imperative of non-contradiction generally produces a coherence in thought that is often at odds with social complexities.”

Yan Suarsana
relational

“At first I thought contradiction was always a relational thing; but the more I ponder it, the more I think contradiction creates relation.”

Ingo H. Warnke