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University of Delaware Faculty Profiles

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  • Monika Shafi, Elias Ahuja Professor of German

    Elias Ahuja Professor of German
    University of Delaware
    121 Jastak-Burgess Hall
    Newark, DE 19716
    (302) 831-2037


    Monika Shafi has authored four books, Housebound: Selfhood and Domestic Space in Contemporary German Fiction (Rochester: Camden, 2012); Balancing Acts: Intercultural Encounters in Contemporary German and Austrian Literature (Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2001); Gertrud Kolmar: Eine Einführung in das Werk (Munich: iudicium,1995), and Utopische Entwürfe in der Literatur von Frauen (Bern: Peter Lang, 1989). She also edited Approaches to Teaching Grass’s The Tin Drum in the series Approaches to Teaching World Literature (New York: MLA, 2008).

    Monika Shafi started at UD in 1986. Monika retired from the University of Delaware in December of 2018. 


    Ph.D., German Literature, University of Maryland

    M.A. , German Literature and Political Sciences, University of Freiburg, Germany

    Current and Past Courses

    ​Monika Shafi teaches survey courses in German literature as well as advanced undergraduate and graduate seminars. Topics include, “German-Jewish Writers,” “German Women Writers,” Narratives of the Nation: Post-wall German Literature; “Fatal Attractions: Love and Marriage in 19th and 20th Century German Prose”.


    Discourses of Work in the Neoliberal Economy

    Representations of Old Age and Locations of Care


    “’Mit der Wende kam der Appetit’ Food, Work, and Gender in Terézia Mora’s novel Der einzige Mann auf dem Kontinent,” In Chloe, Beihefte zum Daphnis, “ […] wenn sie das Wort Ich gebraucht,” Festschrift für Barbara Becker-Cantarino, eds. Jacqueline Vasant and John Pustejovsky. 47 (2013): 307-324.

    “Discourses of Work in Uwe Timm’s Kopfjäger: Bericht aus dem Inneren des Landes”, Gegenwartsliteratur: Ein germanistisches Jahrbuch. Contemporary Literature: A German Studies Yearbook 11/2012: 149-169.

    “Of Heimat, Words, and Work: Günter Grass’s Grimms Wörter: Eine Liebeserklärung”, Heimat: At the Intersection of Memory and Space. Eds. Friederike Eigler and Jens Kugele. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012, 179-192.

    “’New Concept- new life: Bodies and Buildings in Katharina Hacker’s novel Die Habenichtse,” Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies. Special Issue: Globalization, German Literature, and the New Economy. Guest Editors David Coury and Sabine von Dirke. XLVII, 4 (September 2011): 344-56.

    “Gűnter Grass’s Beim Häuten der Zwiebel (Peeling The Onion),” The Novel in German since 1990. Ed. Stuart Taberner. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011, 270-283.

    “Constructions of Islam: Select Voices from Germany and the Netherlands” Religion and Identity in Germany Today: Doubters, Believers, Seekers in Literature and Film, eds. Julian Preece, Frank Finlay and Sinéad Crowe. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2010, 163-182.

    Balancing Acts: Intercultural Encounters in Contemporary German and Austrian Literature. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2001.

    Gertrud Kolmar: Eine Einführung in das Werk. München: iudicium,1995.

    Utopische Entwürfe in der Literatur von Frauen. Bern: Peter Lang, 1989.

    Approaches to Teaching Grass’s The Tin Drum. Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Series Editor Joseph Gibaldi. New York: MLA, 2008.

    Approaches to Teaching Grass’s The Tin Drum. Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Series Editor Joseph Gibaldi. New York: MLA, 2008.

    The career of Günter Grass began dramatically in 1959, with the publication of his first novel. The Tin Drum brought instant fame to the thirty-two-year-old author and led to his receiving the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature. Translated into dozens of languages, the novel has sold over four million copies worldwide. Its status as a major text of postwar German literature, however, has not diminished its provocative nature. In both style and content, it continues to challenge scholars, teachers, and students.

    This volume, like others in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature, is divided into two parts. Part 1, “Materials,” provides the instructor with bibliographic information on the text, critical studies, and audiovisual and Internet resources. Part 2, “Approaches,” contains eighteen essays on teaching The Tin Drum, including three that discuss Völker Schlöndorff’s 1979 film adaptation of the novel. Some of the topics covered are the historical context (Nazism, World War II, the Holocaust), Oskar Matzerath as an unreliable narrator, the imagery (e.g., eels, the Virgin Mary), the use of German fairy tales, and how Grass’s satirical treatment of Germany speaks to postwar generations.

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    Housebound: Selfhood and Domestic Space in Contemporary German Fiction. Rochester: Camden, 2012.

    In life and in fiction, houses are compelling objects that shape an impressive range of personal and public affairs. A house embodies experiences often intensely emotional, and it also represents both a major financial investment and a material reality embedded in architectural, aesthetic, and social traditions. The house, the place where we try to be at home, can be regarded — as theorists from Gaston Bachelard to Edward S. Casey have argued — as the key space for our constructions of selfhood and belonging. A host of contemporary German narratives featuring houses highlight this relationship between selfhood and domestic space. Beginning with a historical and theoretical overview of the house in German literature, Housebound analyzes the shelters — often highly ambivalent spaces — that writers such as Katharina Hacker, Arno Geiger, Walter Kappacher, Monika Maron, Jenny Erpenbeck, Judith Hermann, Barbara Honigmann, and Emine Sevgi Özdamar build in their texts and what these reveal about contemporary selfhood in Germany and its relationship to the social world. The concluding comparative analysis of Katharina Hacker’s Die Habenichtse and the English novelist Ian McEwan’s Saturday reveals these developments in another national literature and makes a case for the global appeal of the domestic as a major site of identity politics. Monika Shafi is the Elias Ahuja Professor of German and served as the Chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Delaware until her retirement in December 2018. 

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  • Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
  • Jastak-Burgess Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • 30 East Main St.
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-2591