Dr. Straß-Senol is currently research assistant and lecturer at the Institute of English and American Studies at the University of Oldenburg and post-doc research fellow with the interdisciplinary research and writer's fellowship programme Fiction Meets Science (funded by Volkswagen Foundation) at Oldenburg/Bremen. She was a Phd candidate at the Research Training Group from 2012 to 2015. She finished and defended her dissertation in June 2015, after which she temporarly replaced Dr. Fabienne Imlinger during her materinty leave as research coordinator until January 2016. She then continued as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Research Training group from February to August 2016.
Abstract of the Research Project
Postcolonial Verse Novels: A Cosmopolitan Genre?
The project analyses the verse novel as a generic form that is especially suitable for literary explorations and interpretations of 'world citizenship'. It considers contemporary postcolonial verse novels to discuss whether and in what way the form is tied to processes of globalisation and cosmopolitanisation. In order to investigate how these texts respond and model (individual) affiliation with an international community and how they thereby conceptualise and problematise the notion of cosmopolitanism, the project engages not only with theories of cosmopolitanism ranging from its early inceptions to contemporary models but traces the generic history of the verse novel and its relation to the epos. While this generic affiliation is not new, the project sets out to update previous considerations on this genealogical relationship by way of focussing on the question whether forerunners of cosmopolitan characters can already be found in ancient epics and how changing notions of cosmo-polis and global citizenship register in and actualise the contemporary epic poetic form of the verse novel.
Abstract of the dissertation
Stories of Pollution
The dissertation examines contemporary postcolonial novels that address the problem of environmental pollution with anthropogenic toxins. The study's central argument is that in order to make apprehensible the ramifications of the contamination with industrial chemicals and nuclear radiation, these novels employ narrative strategies that can best be described in terms of a postcolonial toxic Gothic.
Toxicity is elusive and uncontainable: It is relatively imperceptible to the senses if not mediated by technology (toxic particles are invisible to the unaided eye, and many toxins cannot be smelled or felt) and its adverse effects unfold across time and space. The relative invisibility and the impossibility of limiting it to a circumscribed location or time, thus, are those characteristics of toxicity that present the greatest challenges to representation. The dissertation argues that the narrative texts discussed in it turn to Gothic tropes and imagery in the attempt to represent anthropogenic toxicity, the contamination of postcolonial environments and the anxieties it creates. The dissertation's primary text corpus consists of Robert Barclay's Meļaļ: A Novel of the Pacific (2002), Ana Castillo's So Far From God (1993), Kiana Davenport's House of Many Gods (2007), Helon Habila's Oil on Water (2011), Indra Sinha's Animal's People (2007) and Helena Maria Viramontes' Under the Feet of Jesus (1995). Conjoining the "toxic Gothic" with what has been referred to as the "postcolonial Gothic", these postcolonial toxic Gothic narratives address the combined experience of environmental contamination and the political and economic structures and phenomena (such as "toxic capitalism" or "nuclear colonialism") that facilitate this pollution.
Stories of Pollution's in-depth discussion of the narrative mode of the postcolonial toxic Gothic makes the study a fruitful contribution to the field of environmentally oriented literary and cultural studies, in particular to the sub-field of postcolonial ecocriticism.
REAL – Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature. Vol. 33: Meteorologies of Modernity: Weather and Climate Discourses in the Anthropocene. Eds. Sarah Fekadu, Hanna Straß-Senol und Tobias Döring. Tübingen: Narr, 2017.
Stories of Pollution: Narrating Toxicity in Postcolonial Contexts. Diss. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 2015. Microfiche.
with Sarah Fekadu: „Meteorologies of Modernity: Introduction“. REAL – Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature. Vol. 33: Meteorologies of Modernity: Weather and Climate Discourses in the Anthropocene. Eds. Sarah Fekadu, Hanna Straß-Senol und Tobias Döring. Tübingen: Narr, 2017. Print.
„Weather Phenomena in Linda Hogan’s People of the Whale”. REAL – Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature. Vol. 33: Meteorologies of Modernity: Weather and Climate Discourses in the Anthropocene. Eds. Sarah Fekadu, Hanna Straß-Senol und Tobias Döring. Tübingen: Narr, 2017. Print.
"'a living death, life inside-out': The Postcolonial Toxic Gothic in Robert Barclay’s Meļaļ: A Novel of the Pacific". In: Jernej Habjan, Fabienne Imlinger: Globalizing Literary Genres, London/New York: Routledge, 2016.
with Jonathan Steinwand: "Verzauberte Giftigkeit: Schleichende Gewalt im postkolonialen Roman". In: Christian Moser, Linda Simonis: Komparatistik: Jahrbuch der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft (DGAVL) (2013), Heidelberg: Synchron, 2014. S. 15-27.
Book Review: Stephanie LeMenager Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century (2014). Ecozon@. In Vol. 6 No.1 (2015). Web.