Lars-Frederik Bockmann

PhD Candidate

Lansstraße 5-9
14195 Berlin


2014 Master of Arts, North American Studies, JFKI, Freie Universität Berlin
2011 Bachelor of Arts, English and History, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg


Professional Experience

2013-2015 Student Assistant at the Department of Literature, JFKI
2009-2011 Tutor, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg        
2009 Four-week internship at the German Literature Archive in Marbach


Fellowships and Awards

2008 Scholarship awarded by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
(German National Academic Foundation)


Conferences and Workshops

2011-2013 Participation in the two-year “Geisteswissenschaftliches Kolleg,” organized by the German National Academic Foundation
2009 Participation in the Summer Academy at Schloss Salem held by the German National Academic Foundation

Diasporic Dilemmas: Jewish American Identities, Genre Fictions and Double Structures of Collective Memory in the Literary Writing of Michael Chabon


Following a period of a supposed“ whitening” of American Jews, the last two decades have seen an expanding interest in the Jewish American Community in exploring distinctive Jewish traditions and in reconceiving American Jews as a diasporic ethnic minority. This striking shift towards discourses of Jewish history and identity, sometimes even referred to as a contemporary “Jewish literary renaissance”, is perhaps most prominently reflected in the novels of Michael Chabon – above all in his Pulitzer Prize winning 2000 novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and his 2007 The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.


The previous scholarly debate on these recent articulations of Jewish difference, as well as on Chabon’s writing in particular, has tended to take a dichotomous approach that focuses on the question whether these texts are “authentic” or “merely symbolic” representations of Jewishness.


It is the premise of my dissertation project, however, that Chabon’s novels include both the ‘authentic’ and the ‘constructed’ dimensions of contemporary Jewish American articulations of identity, and that we therefore need to read Chabon’s work through a double lens that registers the texts’ constructive and deconstructive tendencies vis-à-vis collective memory and diasporic Jewish identity. In my dissertation I intend to examine how in Chabon’s work – mainly in the texts of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – not only different temporalities and literary genres, but also different cultural histories as well as different forms of masculinity constantly compete with each other, with the surprising and paradoxical result that the authenticity of each register is subverted at the same time that it is affirmed.

Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft