Kristina Pilz was a 2017-2018 Mellon Collaborative Fellow for Reaching New Publics. Her research is guided by her larger interest in Poetry and Poetics, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, Postcolonial, as well as Race and Ethnicity Studies. These interests inform her focus on German literature from the late 19th to the 21st century.
In March 2019, she defended her dissertation on Afro-German poetry and autobiography, entitled Writing Across Margins: Contemporary Afro-German Literature. She argues that Afro-German literature functions as aesthetic activism by creating collective identity through textual practices. Black German textual practices develop parameters of collective identity that range from the emergence of Afro-German voices to a new understanding of Afro-German blackness; from a new recognition of Afro-German identities, to the rise of an Afro-German memory. The writing practices that shape parameters of collective identity—métissage, imagery, autofiction, multilayering—organize her dissertation and provide the categories for textual analysis. By combining close readings with aesthetic and cultural theory, her research demonstrates that Afro-German writing practices help to bend and transgress literary and social categories.