Tobias Jochum


Lansstraße 5-9
14195 Berlin

Research Interests

  • Contemporary and 20th Century U.S. and Spanish American Narrative
  • Hemispheric American Studies
  • U.S.-Mexico Border Studies
  • Chicanx & Latinx Studies
  • Critical Theory
  • Feminisms & Gender Studies
  • Critical Race & Ethnic Studies
  • Postcolonial Theory & Decoloniality


since 2014

Doctoral Candidate

Graduate School of North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin


Master of Arts, North American Studies (Estudios norteamericanos)

Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain

MA thesis: "From Impassioned Analysis to Factual Fiction: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Writing (Against) Femicide


Bachelor of Arts, North American Studies

John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

BA thesis: "The Public Life an Works of Oscar Zeta Acosta"

2008/09 University of California Berkeley; Direct Exchange, Fulbright
2006/07 Universidad de La Laguna, Tenerife (Spain); Erasmus







Workshop "Drifting Apart? Democracy and Its Discontents" (panelist)

10th Anniversary Conference Graduate School of North American Studies

"The Fault Lines of Democracy: Conversations, Contestations, and Cross-Cultural Comparisons"

Berlin, Germany. Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. October 20-21







"Resisting the Script, Scripting Resistance: Literary Responses to Fear, Impunity, and Militarization at the Northern Mexico Border" (presented paper)

Framing Violence. A Multidisciplinary Symposium on Theorizing Frames.

Berlin, Germany. John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin. July 1-2


"Reclaiming Murder City: Memory, Fear, and Hope in New Northern Mexico Border Fiction" (presented paper)

EAAS Conference 2016 "Mapping Transnational America"

Constanta, Romania. April 3-6







"'Textual Photography' and Poetic Testimony in Sergio González Rodríguez' The Femicide Machine" (presented paper)

Latin American Studies Association, 33th International Congress

"precariedades, exclusiones, emergencias"

San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 27-30







"Feminicide: Explanatory Frameworks, Representational Challenges"

(panel chair)


"'The Weight of Words, the Shock of Photos': Poetic Testimony and Elliptical Images in Sergio González Rodríguez' The Femicide Machine"

(presented paper)

European American Studies Association, 60th Anniversary Conference

"America: Justice, Conflict, War"

The Hague, Netherlands, April 3-6







"The Juárez Femicides in U.S. Literature: Social Activism and Representation of Violence in Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders" (presented paper)

11th Spanish Association for American Studies Conference

"TRANS-: The Poetics and Politics of Crossing in the U.S."

La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, March 20-22




Co-editor and introduction (with Laura Gillman):

Special Issue: New Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Feminicide at the U.S.-Mexico Border. Forum for Interamerican Research 8:2 (September 2015).


Journal article:

"The Weight of Words, the Shock of Photos: Poetic Testimony and Elliptical Images in Sergio González Rodríguez' The Femicide Machine"

FIAR 8:2 (September 2015).

Summer Schools






"Borders, Border Thinking, Borderlands" Summer Institute

University of Bremen, Duke University and University of North Carolina.

Bremen, Germany, May 15-26






"Frontera Fictions: Life and Death at the US-Mexico Border" (seminar)

JFK Institute, Literature Dept., Freie Universität Berlin; WS 2016/17.


The Ethics of Representation in Contemporary Literary Narratives of Border Violence (Dissertationsprojekt)

Dissertation in Literatur

Mentoring team:
First supervisor: Prof. Ulla Haselstein
Second supervisor: Prof. José David Saldívar, PhD
Third supervisor: Prof. Dr. MaryAnn Snyder-Körber

The northern Mexican border city Ciudad Juárez has been allotted an extraordinary position in a panorama of informal war against vulnerable populations throughout the Americas under the necropolitical order of contemporary globalized neoliberalism. Over the past 25 years, the city has emerged as a hypervisible vanguard for emergent forms of sovereignty that announce their presence through spectacularized displays of patriarchal cruelty (Segato). Both the infamous femicides that surfaced in the early 1990s and, more recently, the state-sanctioned terrors of the militarized drug war became emblematic for historical trends throughout the rest of Mexico and beyond, while generating prolific responses by a transnational coalition of activists, analysts, and artists. In their brutality and complexity these atrocities spell a crisis of representation that poses tremendous ethical, epistemological, and reflective demands for critical inquiries and creative engagements. To which extent is it possible and even imperative to represent such horrors while doing justice to their social, historical, and political dimensions? How can cultural and literary texts engage and move an audience while maneuvering risks of exploitation, sensationalism, misappropriation, and re-victimization?

Foregrounding the political and ethical potential of literary interventions, my dissertation focuses on three distinct narrative engagements with the historical archive and transnational imaginary of Ciudad Juárez. The impressionist photo essay Juárez: The Laboratory of Our Future (1998), helmed by U.S.-journalist Charles Bowden, prompts a critical reconsideration of the aesthetics of shock and the journalistic valorization of (visual) immediacy. In Roberto Bolaño's novel 2666 (2004; 2008), conceived from the distance of his European exile, the documented history of the Juárez femicides becomes a found metaphor that signals the larger failures and limitations of (Euro)modernity under the rise of global neoliberalism. The satirical novel Garabato (2014) by Juarense writer Willivaldo Delgadillo, finally, dissects the discursive and historical layers of the border city from within to forge a narrative ethos of self-reflection and resistance.

The social, material, and discursive tangle that is "Juárez" emerges in my project as a catalyst for new critical vocabularies and epistemologies for our current era of crisis and generates new forms of political resistance and innovative, often hybridized modes of representation that merge documentation and referential reality with a restrained imagination and a commitment to cultural and historical memory with a quest for alternative futures beyond our present horizons and hegemonies.


Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft