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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Ms Denise Henschel

Denise Henschel





Dr Leila Mukhida


Denise Henschel received her MA in German literature and language from the Freie Universität Berlin (2016), where she also worked as a Student Research Assistant for Professor Anne Fleig (2012-2015). Before starting her PhD at the University of Cambridge, she taught German language at undergraduate level at Cardiff University (2016-2017) and at The University of Warwick (2017-2019), where she served as the convenor of the Year 2 module in Modern German Language. She actively engages with the public and has previously organised a series of cultural events, including a public reading with the author Ulrike Draesner, and a DAAD Writer-in-Residence programme with celebrated novelist Olga Grjasnowa.


Denise’s research is concerned with questions of the relation between the individual subject and the collective initiated by global changes in the contemporary now. Her project focuses on the rise of new forms of kinship and the ways in which contemporary cultural texts produce an ‘ästhetisches Eigenwissen’ that contributes to the critical questioning of the politics of subjectivity in Germany. By situating those questions in a specifically German context, her project aims further to analyse the complex entanglement between ‘kinship’ and the dominant discourse of ‘Germanness’.


Cambridge Trust Scholarship for PhD, 2019-2023

Conference Papers

‘Queering the Family: Performative Aesthetics and Kinship in Contemporary German Literature and Film.’ 44th Annual Conference of the German Studies Association (GSA), October 2020, Washington DC, USA [online]. 

‘Neue Formen der Beziehung: Reproduktion, Sexualität und Fürsorge in zeitgenössischer Kulturproduktion.’ Interdisciplinary Junior Research Network PRiNa (Politiken der Reproduktion), 

November 2019, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany.

‘Performative Aesthetics and New Forms of Kinship in Contemporary German Culture.’ 66th National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies, November 2019, Durham University, UK. 

‘Performative Writing as a Subversive Act: Hybrid Identities in Olga Grajsnowa’s Texts.’ 7th Euroacademia International Conference, Identities and Identification. Politicized uses of collective Identities, June 2018, Lucca, Italy.

er nicht als er oder Her Not All Her? Fragen nach weiblicher Auto(r)fiktionalität.‘ Symposium Jelinek autofiktional – Sprechen, Schreiben, Zitieren, June 2015, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

‘Auf den Spuren Robert Walsers: Eine poetologische Auseinandersetzung mit der Position des Dichters in er nicht als er (zu, mit Robert Walser).‘ Conference Faites ce que vous voulez! Faire, défaire, contrefaire l’autorité. Regards croisés sur Elfriede Jelinek, March 2014, Lyon/St.  Etienne, France.