Dominique Haensell


Lansstraße 5-9
14195 Berlin


since 2014

Doctoral candidate

GSNAS, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany

Dissertation Working Title:Black Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary Diasporic Fiction


Critical Methodologies, MA Distinction

King’s College, London, UK

Thesis Title: A Vacant Masquerade – Fantasy, Frustration and the Precarious Male Subject in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut


English Philology, Comparative Literatures (AVL), BA 1.1

Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany

Thesis Title: Switch Assembly and Glitch Control – Cyborg Constructions in Contemporary Female Pop


Academic Experience

November 2014

Panel chair: Afrofuturism

‘Approaching Blackness’

13th Annual Students and Graduates Conference,

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

June 2009 - January 2011 (p/t)

Research Assistant

Interdisciplinary research project: Sonderforschungsbereich 447: 'Kulturen des Performativen' (Cultures of Performativity)

Freie Universität Berlin



Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes Alumna of the German National Merit Foundation, awarded a full scholarship in 2010 and an additional grant to complete a Master’s Degree abroad

Dissertation Project: Black Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary Diasporic Fiction


This project explores the aesthetic actualization of a distinct and contested notion of cosmopolitanism in contemporary fictional works of the Anglophone African diaspora. A special attention will be paid to authors who have recently, and not undisputedly so, been labeled under the term “Afropolitanism” and on a critical evaluation of how this cosmopolitan buzzword differs from or is challenged by older concepts like Pan-Africanism. As these works are predominantly set, produced and received in a US context, the supposed ‘newness’ of the perspectives of a “Non-American Black” generation of artists will be questioned, contrasted and related to other or more established diasporic epistemologies. The selected works and authors include: Teju Cole (Open City, 2011), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah (Toronto, 2013), NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names, 2013)and Dinaw Mengestu (Children of the Revolution, 2007/All Our Names 2014).


Generally, the dissertation employs the concept of aesthetic “Afropolitanism“ as a tool to trace not only the limits, but also the various entry points, origins, futures and trajectories of ‘blackness’. I posit that the discourses both surrounding and resonating within the particular works pertain not only to global representations of the African continent, but also the notion of fluid and heterogeneous global ‘blackness’. While the dissertation aims to illuminate the international momentum and theoretical impetus of what has come to be regarded a watershed moment in African literatures, its initial focus lies on how the texts foreground different epistemic positionalities towards the African Diaspora and its generic conventions through their respective treatment of temporality, historiography and the transnational imaginary.

Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft