Isabel Schröder | Associate Postgraduate

Dynamics and Experiences of Globalisation
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: sroederi  ( at )  hu-berlin.de Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Home Institution : Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Position : PhD student | Disciplines : Afrikawissenschaften |

Biography

Isabel Schröder is a PhD student at the Institute for Asian and African Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin and associated PhD student at the Centre Marc Bloch.

  • MA Religion and Culture, Humboldt University Berlin
  • BA Area Studies Asia/Africa, Humboldt University Berlin

Scholarship

  • PhD Scholarship granted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation
  • PhD Scholarship for completion of the dissertation by the Centre Marc Bloch

Researchtopic

  • Key words: Prison literature, Africa (especially Eritrea, Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Zimbabwe), intersectionality, heterotopia, testimony & bearing witness
  • Research fields: African Studies, Literary Studies, Gender Studies, History, Postcolonial Studies

Title of thesis

Writing the prison. Testimonial literature and fiction by African women writers

Institution of thesis

Institut für Asien-und Afrikawissenschaften

Supervisor

Prof. Dr. Susanne Gehrmann

Organisation of Events

  • Junges Forum "Penser la violence en Afrique au travers de l’expérience des femmes: vulnérabilité & subversion“ / „Thinking about violence in Africa through women’s experiences: vulnerability & subversion", September 14th-15th, 2020, Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin. Organisation: Jérémie Thérond and Isabel Schröder
  • Co-organization of the central seminar at Centre Marc Bloch for the summer semester 2021

Activities

  • Teaching assignment „Solidarity and 'sisterhood‘ in African prison literature“, summer semester 2019, Institute for Asian and African Studies & Commission for the Promotion of Women, Humboldt University Berlin
  • Representative of associated PhD students at Centre Marc Bloch, 11/2020 - 11/2021

Writing the prison. Testimonial literature and fiction by African women writers

My interdisciplinary research project covers the areas African and Literary Studies, Gender Studies, History and Postcolonial Studies.

In my research I am working on prison texts from different African women writers in English and in French, mainly focusing on the period from the 1970ies until today. I am looking at testimonial accounts of (former) prisoners as well as at novels that are set in prison. I argue that the joint analysis of testimonial and fictional literature is of particular epistemological interest, as both text types simultaneously perform testimonial functions and employ strategies of fictional narration. Despite the very different historic-political and cultural contexts the chosen prison texts stem from, they often share the similarity of combining their criticism of political circumstances with a criticism of social structures. Although the latter is frequently gender-specific, it may only be understood in interconnection with other categories of difference (e.g. race, class, religion, sexuality, age etc.). In order to comprehend power relations in their complexity, I follow an intersectional research approach. The intersectional approach is not only important concerning the sociopolitical criticism expressed against the situation outside of prison, but it is as well relevant for the analysis of power relations inside the prison. Following Michel Foucault, the prison space is here understood as heterotopia.This allows to perceive the prison site as a space for reflection, in which the women authors may identify, weigh and sometimes even subvert common societal structures that are operating in- and outside the heterotopia.

Publications

Articles:

  • 2021. "Narrating Lives and Negotiating Space in Prison. A Comparative Analysis of Calixthe Beyala’s Tu t’appelleras Tanga and Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory", in Crossings & Comparisons in African Literatures and Cultures, edited by Susanne Gehrmann and Pepetual Mforbe Chiangong. Trier: WVT. (accepted)

Reviews:

  • 2019. "Review of: Gilbert, Catherine. From Surviving to Living. Voice, Trauma and Witness in Rwanda Women's Writing (2018)", in Stichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien 19/37, p. 148‐155. (https://stichproben.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/p_stichproben/Artikel/Nummer37/07_Rezension_Schroeder.pdf)

Lexical Entries:

  • 2020. "Calixthe Beyala - 'Tu t'appelleras Tanga'", in Kindlers Literatur Lexikon. Edited by Heinz Ludwig Arnold. Stuttgart [et al.]: Verlag J.B. Metzler. Published on Kindlers Literatur Lexikon Online (www.kll-online.de).
  • 2020. "Mukasonga, Scholastique - 'Biogramm'", in Kindlers Literatur Lexikon. Edited by Heinz Ludwig Arnold. Stuttgart [et al.]: Verlag J.B. Metzler. Published on Kindlers Literatur Lexikon Online (www.kll-online.de).
  • 2020. "Scholastique Mukasonga - 'Notre-Dame du Nil'", in Kindlers Literatur Lexikon. Edited by Heinz Ludwig Arnold. Stuttgart [et al.]: Verlag J.B. Metzler. Published on Kindlers Literatur Lexikon Online (www.kll-online.de).
Publications in PDF format