German teaching exchange brings Anne Potjans

September 2, 2019

German teaching exchange brings Anne Potjans

The University Honors Program, in collaboration with the Department of English, is excited to welcome Anne Potjans into our community this fall, through a teaching and research exchange between Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the University of Washington Honors Program.

The exchange originated from our partnership with Humboldt through Honors’ Berlin study abroad programs (check out a course blog here) — a partnership that has yielded many opportunities for teaching and collaborative research over the past 8 years.

Anne Potjans, Humboldt University

Anne Potjans is a talented instructor at Humboldt, where she teaches both Bachelor and Master students in American and English studies. The chair of her department, Martin Klepper, describes her as: “one of our most promising young scholars who combines highly interesting, creative and innovative research with a thorough knowledge of American literary scholarship, African American Studies, and Cultural Studies.”

Prior to teaching at Humboldt, Potjans earned her masters in American Studies and History at the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, from which she graduated with honors. In her master thesis she explored “identity formation and black consciousness in African American and Afro-German autobiographies.” She has presented her research at national and international conferences. She has also co-organized two conferences on “Race, Power, and Privilege” as well as “Current Perspectives in American Studies.” Her other fields of expertise include urban culture and the Naturalist novel.

Potjans is currently writing her dissertation (and book) on the representation and use of rage and abjection in Black feminist literature and poetry. Her related Honors course, HONORS 210 B: Distant Connections: Black Political Consciousness in Germany and the United States (VLPA, DIV) is in the autumn 2019 Honors course line up. Students taking the course will learn about the cultural conjunctions between these two diasporic communities as they are mediated through cultural productions, such as fictional and non-fictional literary texts, music and film, as well as through activism and community politics.

As Potjans takes up residence in the Honors suite throughout the fall quarter, Honors’ Associate Director and Department of English Affiliate, Dr. Julie Villegas, will be writing and teaching at Humboldt. American Studies graduate students at Humboldt will have the opportunity to take a course being developed by Dr. Villegas on Mestiza Consciousness, which is related to her sustained work in critical mixed-race studies. While at Humboldt, Villegas will also be updating her dissertation: The Racial Shadow in American Literature (1997) for wider publication, and she will perform a reading of her poetry and prose works through Humboldt’s Du Bois Lecture Series.

In addition, Villegas will participate in activities that deepen the diplomacy and research collaborations between the schools. Similarly, Potjans plans to participate in events like our annual Open House where we welcome our new students, our Global Challenges discussion on November 6, a variety of cultural outings, and more!

We are thrilled to welcome Anne Potjans into UW Honors and to share Dr. Villegas with our colleagues in Berlin.