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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Melina Mandelbaum

picture of dr Mandelbaum
Schröder Research Associate
Affiliated Lecturer
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics
Raised Faculty Building
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Melina is the Schröder Research Associate and an Affiliated Lecturer in the German section, Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics, and a College Research Associate at King’s College, Cambridge.


Positioned at the intersection of political science, literary and cultural scholarship, her research explores how citizenship is imagined and narrated in novels, political theory, and policy discourses. This currently takes the form of two major projects, one focusing on historical narratives of citizenship in 20th-century German novels, the second on utopian and dystopian discourses around future forms of citizenship in contemporary literary fiction and policy in Germany and the UK.


In its broadest terms, Melina’s work is dedicated to critically examining and furthering the relationship between cultural production and social and epistemic justice. Her current research is aligned with an international EU Horizon/UKRI project, ‘The Cartography of the Political Novel in Europe’, which investigates how the political novel contributes to understandings of local and global politics, and how it may be used as a means of political experience, protest, and participation. She is also lead-convenor of the cross-faculty research seminar Cultural Production and Social Justice, which explores the role of the arts and humanities in creating an ethical and sustainable societal future.


Prior to her current role, Melina held an AHRC post-doctoral fellowship, also at Cambridge. Her PhD, completed at Cambridge in 2022, was supported by scholarships from the AHRC and King’s College, as well as an honorary Vice-Chancellor’s Award. Melina holds a BA in International Studies from Goldsmiths, an MSc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an MPhil in European Literature and Culture from the University of Cambridge.

Teaching interests: 

Melina is teaching on the following courses this year (23-24):


‘Modern German Culture – 1890 to the Present Day’


‘Aspects of German Speaking Europe Since 1945’


For GE13, I co-developed a new module, ‘Futurity and Utopianism in Contemporary German Culture’, with Maria Roca Lizarazu


Literary Translation

Research interests: 

Citizenship; statelessness; 20th and 21st century political novel; social innovation; futurism; utopian literature and thought.

Published works: 

Mandelbaum, M., ‘“To the Future Turned, We Stand”: Progress and the Temporal Politics of Citizenship in the German Democratic Republic’, Oxford German Studies, Feb 2024


Mandelbaum, M., ‘Administering Exclusion: Statelessness, Identity Papers, and Narrative Strategy in B. Traven’s The Death Ship’ (1926)’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, April 2021 (awarded the Forum Prize for best essay of the year).



In progress:

Mandelbaum, M.: Reading Citizens: Narratives of Citizenship in the Twentieth-Century German Novel (runner-up, Women in German Studies book Prize)