Dr Maria Roca Lizarazu

Dr Maria Roca Lizarazu

Department of Modern Languages
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Maria Roca Lizarazu is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Modern Languages within LCAHM, specialising in contemporary German-language literature about migration and displacement, literary figurations of togetherness, (in-)hospitality and integration, German-and Austrian Holocaust literature, German-Jewish literature, specifically from Eastern Europe, Trauma studies and Memory studies.

Maria is also Academic Director for the Graduate Centre for Europe


  • PhD in German Studies, University of Warwick (2017)
  • MA in Comparative Literature, Ruhr-University Bochum (2012)
  • BA in German Literature and History, Humboldt University Berlin (2008)


Maria received her BA in German literature and History from the Humboldt University in Berlin in 2008. She then went on to complete an MA in Comparative Literature at the Ruhr-University Bochum during which she spent an internship semester at the Leo Baeck Institute London, working as a research assistant.

After completing her PhD in German Studies at the University of Warwick in 2017, Maria held an Institute of Advanced Study Early Career Fellowship at the University of Warwick (April 2017-March 2018), followed by the Sylvia Naish Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, London (March-August 2018). She also worked as a research assistant for the Global Research Priorities ‘Connecting Cultures’ at Warwick (June 2016-August 2019).

Maria joined Birmingham in September 2018 as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow.


  • LC German Core I – Advanced: Democracy, Diversity, and Dynamism (term 1)
  • LC German Core II – Advanced: Nation, Populism, and Conflict (term 2)


Maria’s doctoral research investigated representations of the Holocaust and the Second World War across a range of German- and Austrian-Jewish writers who belong to the second or third generation born after the Holocaust. These writers relate to the events from the position of the “nonwitness” (Weissman 2004), and in the face of major shifts in Holocaust memory since the turn of the millennium, such as the disappearance of the survivor and eyewitness generation and the increasing mediatisation and globalisation of the events. The Holocaust has therefore emerged as a highly discursivised “floating signifier” (Huyssen 2003), which travels transgenerationally, transmedially and transnationally.

Engaging with these shifts, Maria argued that Marianne Hirsch’s concept of “postmemory” (Hirsch 1997) and recent trauma theory need to be readjusted in order to account for the massive changes in Holocaust memory. Drawing on cultural and literary theories and transnational memory studies, she developed a new approach that focuses on the Holocaust as a form of “travelling trauma” (Tomsky 2011), tracing its remediation and recycling across geographical, cultural, medial, and representational boundaries.

Maria is currently turning her PhD into a monograph which is under contract with Camden House.

Her new Leverhulme-project is situated in transnational studies and will examine how contemporary German-language literature intervenes in the heated socio-political debates about integration in the wake of the so-called European "migrant/refugee crisis”. Current discussions oscillate between unreflected multiculturalism on the one hand and aggressive assimilationalism on the other. Analysing figurations of arrival, contact and dis-/integration in recent texts about migration and displacement, Maria’s research investigates how they challenge these discursive patterns. It examines whether and how fiction offers complex models of integration that involve conflicts, frictions and misunderstandings as key aspects of transnational encounter, thus championing innovative mode(l)s of togetherness in the global age.

Other activities

Maria is Honorary Associate Professor with the Department of History at the University of Warwick where she co-organises the Warwick Memory Group together with Professor Mark Philp (History).

Maria is a member of the Association for German Studies in the UK and Ireland (AGS), the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) and the German Studies Association (GSA).

Conference presentations and talks  - by invitation

  • ‘Beyond the Family (Novel)? Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s Politics and Poetics of Non-Belonging’, Transnational Families, Transnational Novels, Institute of Modern Languages Research, London, 12-13. July 2019.
  • ‘The Confrontational Jew – Negotiations of a Trope in Contemporary German-Jewish Discourse’, 50th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS), Boston, 16.-18. December 2018.
  • ‘Whither Memory Studies? An Overview of Recent and Future Trends’, Cultural Memory Studies Research Group, University of St Andrews, 31. October 2018.
  • ‘Beyond Postmemory? The Holocaust in Contemporary German-language Jewish Fiction’, Guest lecture at the Department of German, Durham University, 13. December 2017.
  • ‘Thomas Mann in Furs. Remediations of Sadomasochism in Maxim Biller’s Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz’, Guest lecture at the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 22. November 2016.

Conference presentations and talks

  • Displacement, Disintegration and (Non-)Belonging  in Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s novel Ausser Sich [Beside Myself] (2017), Meeting of the Association of German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland, University of Bristol, 4.-6. September 2019.
  • ‘What (the Future) Could Have Been. Holocaust Memory in Robert Menasse’s Die Hauptstadt [The Capital] (2017)’, Memories of the Future, Institute for Modern Languages Research, London, 29.-30. March 2019.
  • ‘Unredeemed Pasts, Precarious Futures – Holocaust Memory in Crisis in Robert Menasse’s Die Hauptstadt [The Capital] (2017)’, GSAI Conference: Conflict, Crisis and Culture, University College Dublin, 16.-17. November 2018.
  • ‘The City as a Transnational “Memory-Trace” in Robert Menasse’s Die Hauptstadt (2017)’, Writing in Cities Across Languages and Nations, Institute for Modern Languages Research, London, 25. June 2018.
  • ‘“...there are no somebody else’s victims” – Towards a Cosmopolitan Ethics of Holocaust Memory in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther’, Archives of Resistance: Cosmopolitanism, Memory and World Literature, University of Leeds, 20-22. June 2018.
  • ‘Between Minority and the Mainstream – Constructions of Jewishness in the Contemporary German Mediascape’, Contemporary Jewish Women’s Writing in Germany and Austria – A ‘Minor’ Literature? Institute of Modern Languages Research, London, 27 April 2018.  
  • ‘“Jeder hat jemanden hier” – Renegotiating the Victim-Perpetrator-Binary in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther (2014)’, Victim Narratives in Transnational Contexts, Universität Innsbruck, 25-27. January 2018.
  • ‘Beyond Unspeakability – Figurations of “Travelling Trauma” in Contemporary German-language Literature about the Holocaust’, Testimony, Memory and Reading Trauma in Representations of the Holocaust, University of East Anglia, 15. July 2017
  • ‘Beyond Speech? Renegotiating a Trope in Contemporary German- and Austrian-Jewish Literature About the Holocaust’, Seventy-Ninth Meeting of the Association of German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland, Newcastle University, 31. August-2. September 2016.
  • ‘“Alles in Scherben, ohne Bezug”? Towards a Quasicrystalline Poetics in Holocaust Remembrance in Eva Menasse’s Fiction’, DAAD Postgraduate Summer School in German Studies, University of Leeds, 4.-7. May 2016.
  • ‘Das besondere Gedächtnis der osteuropäisch-jüdischen Literatur: Reframing the Holocaust in the Texts of Vladimir Vertlib and Katja Petrowskaja’, Seventy-Eighth Meeting of the Association of German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, 2.-4. September 2015.
  • ‘Erinnerungskreuzungen - Transnational Holocaust Memories in Vladimir Vertlib’s Das besondere Gedächtnis der Rosa Masur’, DAAD Postgraduate Summer School in German Studies, University of Oxford, 7.-10. July 2015.
  • ‘From Unspeakability to “Hyperspeakabiliy”. Representing the Holocaust in Contemporary German-Jewish Literature’, Beyond Speech: Silence and the Unspeakable Across Cultures, University of Manchester, 8. May 2015.
  • ‘“Erinnerung an die Erinnerung”. Holocaust Memory and the Problem of Authenticity in Benjamin Stein’s Die Leinwand (2010)’, After Downfall: 10 Years of the Nazi Past in German Culture, University of St. Andrew’s, 27.-28. February 2015.
  • ‘Vom Familienroman zum “Erinnerungsmosaik”. Remembering the Holocaust in Eva Menasse’s Fiction’, “Es geht uns gut”. Recent Trends in (Re)writing the Past in Austrian Literature since 2000, Ingeborg Bachmann Centre for Austrian Literature, London, 27. November 2014.
  • ‘Making Things Talk. Object, Narrative and (Post-)Memory in Nicole Krauss’s Great House and Gila Lustiger’s So sind Wir’, Things to Remember. Materializing Memories in Art and Popular Culture, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 4.-6. June 2014.
  • ‘Trauma Time’, Joint International PhD and Postdoctoral Workshop: Living in a Culture of Immediacy. The Longing for Time in Contemporary Culture, Universität Konstanz, 14. May 2014.



  • The Holocaust in Contemporary German- and Austrian-Jewish Literature – Beyond Postmemory? Rochester, NY: Camden House (forthcoming).

Book chapters

  • “Liaisons Dangereuses – Nachbarn, (Mit-)Täter und ‘implicated subjects’ in Katja Petrowskajas Vielleicht Esther“ [Liaisons Dangereuses – Neighbours, Perpetrators and ‘implicated subjects’ in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther“], in: Opfernarrative in transnationalen Kontexten/Victim Narratives in Transnational Contexts, ed. Eva Binder, Christof Diem, Miriam Finkelstein, Sieglinde Klettenhammer, Birgit Mertz‐Baumgartner, Marijana Milošević, Julia Pröll, Berlin: de Gruyter (accepted for publication).
  • “Why Don't You Talk To Me? Transmissional Objects in the Works of Gila Lustiger and Nicole Krauss”, in: Hoffmann, Bettina and Ursula Reuter (Eds.), Translated Memories. Transgenerational Perspectives in Literature on the Holocaust, Lanham, MD (Lexington Books) (forthcoming).

Edited special issues

  • With Godela Weiss-Sussex, ‘Rethinking “Minor Literature” – Contemporary Jewish Women’s Writing in Germany and Austria’, Special Collection for Modern Languages Open (in preparation, submission of ms in August 2019).
  • With Joseph Twist, ‘Rethinking Community and Subjectivity in Contemporary German Culture and Thought’, Special Issue of Oxford German Studies (in preparation, submission of ms in March 2020).


  • ‘“Integration ist definitiv nicht unser Anliegen, eher schon Desintegration” - Renegotiations of (Non-)Belonging in Contemporary German (Jewish) Literature and Culture’, Special Issue of Humanities on ‘Aspects of Contemporary German Fiction’ (in preparation, submission of ms in September 2019).
  •  ‘Ec-static Existences: The Poetics and Politics of (Non-)Belonging in Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s Außer Sich (2017)’ Special Collection of Modern Languages Open on ‘Rethinking “Minor Literature” – Contemporary Jewish Women’s Writing in Germany and Austria’ (in preparation, submission of ms in August 2019).
  • ‘Moments of Possibility. Holocaust Postmemory, Subjunctivity, and Futurity in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther (2014) und Robert Menasse’s Die Hauptstadt (2017)’, Forum for Modern Language Studies (accepted for publication).
  •  “Beyond Unspeakability – Configurations of ‘Travelling Trauma’ in Contemporary German-Language Literature About the Holocaust”, German Life and Letters (forthcoming).
  • “The Family Tree, the Web, and the Palimpsest: Figures of Postmemory in Katja Petrowskaja’s Vielleicht Esther”, Modern Language Review 113.1 (2018), pp. 169-189.
  • “Thomas Mann in Furs: Remediations of Sadomasochism in Maxim Biller’s Im Kopf von Bruno Schulz and Harlem Holocaust”, Edinburgh German Yearbook 11 (2017), pp. 113-131.


  • With Rebekah Vince, “Memory Studies Goes Planetary: An Interview with Stef Craps”, Exchanges 5.2 (2018), pp. 1-15.

Conference reports

  • Workshop report: ‘Translingual and Transnational Urban Writing’, OWRI: Cross-languages Dynamics Blog, 6. August 2018.
  • Objects and Emotions – Loss and Acquisition of Jewish Property’, in: Annual Report of Activities, ed. Leo Baeck Institute London, pp. 61-69.


  • Review of McGlothlin, Erin and Jennifer Kapczynski (Eds.), Persistent Legacy. The Holocaust and German Studies, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies (in preparation).
  • Review of Garloff, Katja and Agnes Mueller (Eds.), German-Jewish Literature after 1990, Modern Languages Review (forthcoming)
  • Review of Kim, David, Cosmopolitan Parables. Trauma and Responsibility in Contemporary Germany, Comparative Literature Studies (forthcoming).
  • Review of Garloff, Katja, Mixed Feelings. Tropes of Love in Contemporary German Jewish Culture, Modern Language Review (forthcoming).
  • Review of Jilovsky, Esther, Jordana Silverstein and David Slucki (Eds.), In the Shadows of Memory. The Holocaust and the Third Generation, Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 16.3 (2017), pp. 522-523.
  • Review of Aarons, Victoria (Ed.), Third-Generation Holocaust Narratives: Memory in Memoir and Fiction, Holocaust Studies 24.1 (2018), pp. 124-128.
  • Review of Jilovsky, Esther, Remembering the Holocaust: Generations, Witnessing and Place, Holocaust Studies 24.1 (2018), pp. 128-130.
  • Review of Weiss-Sussex, Godela, Jüdin und Moderne. Literarisierungen der Lebenswelt deutsch-jüdischer Autorinnen in Berlin (1900–1918), Modern Language Review 112.3 (2017), pp. 742-744.
  • “Für Tories nicht geeignet. Ken Loachs neuer Film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ rechnet ab mit Austeritätspolitik und dem Zerfall des britischen Sozialsystems”, literaturkritik.de, 10.01.17.
  • Review of Jilovsky, Esther, Jordana Silverstein and David Slucki (Eds.), In the Shadows of Memory. The Holocaust and the Third Generation, Holocaust Studies 22.4 (2016), pp. 468-472.
  • Review of Welzer, Harald, Sabine Moller and Karoline Tschuggnall, “Opa war kein Nazi”. Nationalsozialismus und Holocaust im Familiengedächtnis, Jahrbuch für Forschungen zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung 3 (2007), p. 191.

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