MAY 5 @ 6PM: PEN World Voices Lit Crawl / The Literary Mews “Teaching in Times of Trouble: The University as Sanctuary”

As part of Literary Mews Festival, and the PEN World Voices Festival Lit Crawl, Deutsches Haus at NYU presents “Teaching in Times of Trouble: The University as Sanctuary”, a conversation among Rosamond S. King, Katya Petrowskaja, current DAAD Chair in Contemporary Poetics at the German Department at NYU, and Fracine Prose and moderated by Atina Grossmann. The conversation will examine the complex challenges that professors and teachers find themselves faced with in the current political climate.
As a writer, how do you teach in troubled times? How political should you be, can you be, and do you want to be? What lessons and insights from the past and from other countries and cultures might provide guidance and shed some light on the complex challenges that professors and teachers in the United States currently find themselves faced with? Are there new limits to academic freedom? What role does the university play in a changing political climate like ours, what is the societal responsibility of its teaching staff, and can the university be a sanctuary? The accomplished international writers and professors participating in this timely conversation will explore these questions as part of the Literary Mews and Lit Crawl.
Rosamond S. King is a critical and creative writer and artist whose scholarly work focuses on sexuality, performance, and literature in the Caribbean and Africa. Her book Island Bodies: Transgressive Sexualities in the Caribbean Imagination received the 2015 Caribbean Studies Association best book award, and her research has been widely published in venues such as Callaloo, Women and Performance, The Caribbean Review of Gender Studies, and The Journal of African-American Studies. King’s poetry collection Rock | Salt | Stone was recently published by Nightboat Books; individual poems have been published in more than two dozen journals and anthologies, including The Caribbean Writer, The Feminist Wire, Drunken Boat, and Poet Lore, and she has performed around the world. King is the creative editor of sx salon: a small axe literary platform, on the Board of Directors of the Organization of Women Writers of Africa, and is associate professor at Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York.
Katya Petrowskaja was born in Kiev in 1970. She studied Russian literature and semiotics at the University of Tartu, Estonia, and received her Ph.D. in Russian Literature (dissertation: “Vladislav Khodasevich: Poetics of Prose”) at the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow. She moved to Berlin in 1999 and has lived there since. As a Russian-language journalist, she appeared at Radio Liberty/Free Europe, Deutsche Welle, Snob, and published op-eds with multiple periodicals. As a German-language journalist, she has written for German and Swiss newspapers such as TAZ and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Since 2011, she has been a regular columnist at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sontagszeitung (FAS), with an ongoing series of columns on photography. She has been a co-initiator and organizer of several international socio-political conferences including the Kiewer-Gespräche (Ukrainian-German Forum).  Petrowskaja’s first book, Vielleicht Esther (Maybe Esther), appeared with Suhrkamp in 2014. It won 7 international literary awards and has been translated into 20 languages. The English translation is forthcoming with Harper Collins in spring 2018. Some of her prizes and awards include: Premio Strega Europeo 2015,  Ernst-Toller-Preis 2014, Schubart Literaturpreis 2015 »aspekte«-Literaturpreis 2014, Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis 2013 (one the main literature prizes in the German-speaking world). Katya is currently the DAAD Distinguished Chair in Contemporary Poetics in NYU’s Department of German.
Francine Prose is the author of twenty-one works of fiction, including, most recently, the highly-acclaimed, New York Times bestselling novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club: Paris, 1932. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like A Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including a Guggenheim and a Fulbright, a Director’s Fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, Francine Prose is a former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in New York City.
Atina Grossmann is Professor of History in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union in New York City. Publications include Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (2007, German 2012), Wege in der Fremde: Deutsch-jüdische Begegnungsgeschichte zwischen New York, Berlin und Teheran (2012), and Reforming Sex: The German Movement for Birth Control and Abortion Reform, 1920-1950 (1995); co-edited volumes on Crimes of War: Guilt and Denial in the Twentieth Century 2002) and After the Nazi Racial State: Difference and Democracy in Germany and Europe (2009), as well as Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish Survival in the Soviet Union (with M.Edele and S. Fitzpatrick) and The JDC at 100 (with A Patt, L. Levi, M. Maud), both forthcoming 2017. She is working, together with Dorota Glowacka, on a brief summary volume (Bloomsbury) on Gender and the Holocaust and her current research focuses on “Remapping Survival: Jewish Refugees and Lost Memories of Displacement, Trauma, and Rescue in the Soviet Union, Iran, and India,” as well as the entanglements of family memoir and historical scholarship.
Lit Crawl NYC brings literature to the streets via readings, discussions, and dozens of events full of readers, writers, and all-around literary merriment. Since 2015, Lit Crawl NYC has been jointly produced by Litquake and PEN America, an organization dedicated to defending free expression, supporting persecuted writers, and promoting literary culture. Please click here for the full schedule.
Events at Deutsches Haus are free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event, please send an email to[at] As space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event to ensure you get a good seat. Thank you!
“Teaching in Times of Trouble: The University as Sanctuary” is a DAAD-sponsored event.

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