Irene Kacandes

Academic Appointments

Professor of German Studies
Professor of Comparative Literature
The Dartmouth Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature

Irene Kacandes, The Dartmouth Professor of German and Comparative Literature, chaired the Department of German Studies from 2008-2011. She studied at the Free University of Berlin and as a Fulbright Scholar at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. In 1991 she completed her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard and taught at the University of Texas before coming to Dartmouth in 1994. Her interests in German range from Goethe and Kleist to Grass and Christa Wolf, and she has also published studies on Modern Greek literature. Specializing in narrative theory, cultural studies, and life writing, she has written articles concerning orality and literacy, feminist linguistics, trauma and memory studies, the Holocaust and Holocaust memoir, and experimental memoirs. In 2001 The University of Nebraska Press issued her Talk Fiction: Literature and the Talk Explosion as part of its "Frontiers of Narrative Series," and in 2009 it published Daddy's War: Greek American Stories. A Paramemoir. Fall 2015 her co-written book on mortality, Let's Talk About Death, appeared with Prometheus Books. The Chinese translation has just appeared in PRC. She is the co-editor of A User's Guide to German Cultural Studies (1997); with Marianne Hirsch, of Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust, published by the Modern Language Association in 2004, and with Kathryn Abrams of a special issue of Women's Studies Quarterly on "Witness." Her most recent publication is an anthology co-edited with her colleague Yuliya Komska called Eastern Europe Unmapped (Berghahn 2017). Irene has served in a number of international leadership positions, including as president of the International Society for the Study of Narrative and of the German Studies Association. She runs a book series on "Interdisciplinary German Cultural Studies" published by de Gruyter Verlag in Berlin. Her current research concerns the concept of co-witnessing which she has proposed as a role for those who were not at a trauma but want to testify to those who were.  Her main illustration concerns the oldest taped testimonies of Holocaust survivors (interviewed and recorded by psychologist David Boder in 1946).

338 Dartmouth Hall
HB 6084
Comparative Literature
German Studies
Jewish Studies
Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
A.B. Harvard-Radcliffe College
Freie Universität, Berlin
Aristotle University, Thessaloniki
A.M. Harvard University
Ph.D. Harvard University

Selected Publications

“Beauty on My Mind: Reading Literature in an Age of Cultural Studies,” The Aesthetics of Cultural Studies, M Bérubé (ed.), (2005) 156-174.

“Toujours/Encore la Shoah?” in Europe et mémoire: une liaison dangereuse?, P Carrard (trans.), (2005) 19-39.

Teaching the Representation of the Holocaust, edited with M Hirsch, (2004).

Talk Fiction: Literature and the Talk Explosion , (Frontiers of Narrative Series), (2001).

A User’s Guide to German Cultural Studies , edited with S Denham and J Petropoulos, (1997).

Let's Talk about Death, with Steve Gordon (2015)

"Experimental Life Writing" in Routledge Encyclopedia of Experimental Literature.  Eds. Joe Bray, Alison Gibson, Brian McHale.  London: Routledge, 2012.  380-312.

"Displacement, Trauma, Language, Identity." in Women Writers at the Crossroads of Language.  Eds. Valérie Cossy et al. Geneva: MetisPresses, 2009. 213-228.

Daddy's War:  Greek American Stories: A Paramemoir.  Lincoln:  U of Nebraska P, 2009.  Paperback edition 2012.

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Speaking engagements

April 2019 E Pluribus Unum, Clark University

Works in progress

“An Anatomy of Family Memory”

“Testimony and Co-Witnessing after the Holocaust”