Tom Vanassche

Tom Vanassche
Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Europäisch-jüdische Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte


Building: Kármán-Auditorium

Room: 205

Eilfschornsteinstr. 15

52062 Aachen


Phone: +49 241 80 96081
Fax Fax: +49 241 80 92615

Consultation hour

Currently taking place online after appointment by email


16.04.2021: PhD viva (summa cum laude).
Title of the dissertation: Ruptured Affections. The Pathos of Anti-Pathos in Shoah Literature and Historiography

Since October 2020: researcher at The Institute for German Literature and Literary Theory with a research focus on German-Jewish literature and culture (Professor Stephan Braese)

2015-2019: PhD researcher at Graduate School 1767 Factual and Fictional Narration (University Freiburg). Dissertation: Ruptured Affections. The pathos of anti-pathos in Shoah literature and historiography.

2008-2014: studies in German and English linguistics and literature as well as Comparative Literature and European Studies at Ghent University and King’s College London.


Research interests

  • Literature and Historiography of the Shoah
  • German-Jewish literature and culture (18th-21st century)
  • Documentary literature and art
  • Memory studies
  • History of Emotions
  • Ecocriticism and migration


As editor

1. Ko-Erinnerung: Grenzen, Herausforderungen und Perspektiven des neueren Shoagedenkens (with Daniela Henke) – Berlin: De Gruyter [=Medien und kulturelle Erinnerung 2] (2020)

Book chapters and articles

1. “Probing the limits of co-memoration. Edgar Hilsenrath’s rhetoric of commemoration” (in Ko-Erinnerung/Co-memoration)

2. “Screaming silences. Screen Memories and Postmemories of the Resistance and the Shoah in Two French Contemporary Novels” In: Special issue of Status Quaestionis (June 2020)

3. (expected Spring-Summer 2020) “Borderland Auschwitz. Lagerszpracha in Dieter Schlesak’s Capesius, der Auschwitzapotheker and its translations.” In: From Sarmatia to Mare Nostrum (ed. Sabine Egger, Stefan Hajduk, Britta Jung). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht [=Deutschsprachige Gegenwartsliteratur und Medien 25]

4. “Intertextualität in Capesius, der Auschwitzapotheker. Interferenzen zwischen Fiktivität, Fiktionalität, Faktualität.” In: Interferenzen – Dimensionen und Phänomene der Überlagerung in Literatur und Theorie (ed. Sebastian Donat, Martin Fritz, Monika Raič, Martin Sexl). Innsbruck: Innsbruck University Press 2018 [Comparanda 17], 123-134 []

5. “Hiding one’s feelings. ‘Emotionless’ rhetoric in Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews and Peter Weiss’s Die Ermittlung.” In: Writing Emotions. Theoretical Concepts and Selected Case Studies in Literature (ed. Susanne Knaller et al.). Bielefeld: transcript 2017, 311-329. []


6. (review essay, with Martin Hinze) “Theatre as Courtroom: The NSU protocols in Freiburg”. In: Getuigen. Tussen geschiedenis en herinnering / Témoigner. Entre histoire et mémoire (123) October 2016, S.18-22.

7. “To War. A Journey Along the Front of World War I (review)”. In: Getuigen. Tussen geschiedenis en herinnering / Témoigner. Entre histoire et mémoire (118), September 2014, S.195-196. []

Conferences and workshops


1. Conference Ko-Erinnerung/Co-memoration (Freiburg, 19-21.04.2018)
◦ co-organised with Daniela Henke
◦ funded by the DFG (German research council)

2. 2nd Graduiertenworkshop Erzählen im Wandel. Den Fokus verschieben. (Freiburg, 27-28.10.2017)
◦ co-organised with Ulrike Ackermann, Thorsten Glückhardt, Sebastian Kleinschmidt
◦ funded by the DFG (German research council)

3. Neue dokumentarische Tendenzen in der Literatur, (Ghent, 09.05.2014, followed by a visit to the Rimini-Protokolle at Halles de Schaerbeek, Brussels)
• co-organised with Gunther Martens


1. “Cool Memory: Antagonism, Intertextuality and Emotionality in Ruth Klüger’s weiter leben / Landscapes of Memory”. Presented at 3rd Memory Studies Annual Conference (Madrid, 25-28.06.2019)

2. Participation in and bullet point presentation (potential postdoc project) at Klima/Skepsis: Ökokritische Perspektiven auf den Anthropozän-Diskurs workshop (Innsbruck, 14-15.06.2019)

3. “No Bridging the Distance: Destabilising Reference in Ruth Klüger’s weiter leben and Landscapes of Memory”. Presented at Across Languages: Translingualism in Contemporary Women’s Writing (London, 30-31.05.2019)

4. “Ambiguous counter-discourses. Documentary literature and the perpetrator”. Presented at Lying and Related Fictions (Freiburg, 15-16.02.2019)

5. “Screen memory as postmemory? Commemorating the Resistance across borders and between fiction and history”. Presented at Past (Im)Perfect Continuous. Trans-cultural Articulations of the Post-Memory of WWII (Rome, 26-28.06.2018)

6. “Screen memory and reconciliation? Silence and polemics in the commemoration of Resistance”. Presented at Post-War: Remembrance, Recollection, Reconciliation (Oxford, 26.05.2018)

7. Contribution on ‘coolness’ and narrative empathy, Cognition and Affect in Holocaust Art seminar, 41st German Studies Association Annual Conference (Atlanta, 05-08.10.2017)

8. “Borderlands in Capesius, der Auschwitzapotheker”. Presented at From Sarmatia to Mare Nostrum: Borderland Spaces in German-Language Literature and other Media. Conference to mark the Centenary of Johannes Bobrowski’s Birth (London, 27-28.04.2017)

9. “Constructing fact and fiction: intertextuality and emotionality in Die Ermittlung and Capesius, der Auschwitzapotheker”. Presented at the 21st Conference of the International Comparative Literature Association. (Vienna, 21-27.07.2016)

10. “Hiding one’s feelings. Emotionless rhetoric in Peter Weiss’s Die Ermittlung and Raul Hilberg’s The Destruction of the European Jews”. Presented at Writing Emotions. Literature as Practice (19th to 21st Century) (Graz, 18-20.05.2016)

11. “Emotions and intertextuality in documentary literature”. Presented at Doctoral Schools Workshop History of Emotions (Ghent, 21-23.05.2014)

12. “Ästhetik, Emotion und Authentizität bei Dieter Schlesak und Alexander Kluge”. Presented at Neue dokumentarische Tendenzen in der Literatur (Ghent, 09.05.2014)



TORCH: travel grant Post-War: Remembrance, Recollection, Reconciliation (Oxford, 26 May 2018).

DAAD, Strategic Partnership U4 Network: research grant for attending the Dariah International Digital Humanities Summer School (Göttingen, 17-30 August 2014).