Dr. Florian Bast

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Dr. Florian Bast
Assistant Lecturer for American Studies
Room 3502 | Phone: (0341) 973 7334
Office Hours: -




I was born and raised in the Westerwald Region of Rhineland-Palatinate. Choosing German Studies, American Studies, and Journalism as my subjects, I enrolled at the University of Leipzig in 2003. A year of studying German literature and American literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, was influential in convincing me to pursue a doctorate degree in American Studies. Having graduated from the University of Leipzig in 2008, I have recently finished work on my doctoral thesis.



I teach and have taught a number of classes in the “Literature and Culture” track of American Studies Leipzig's Bachelor of Arts program. These include introductory courses and tutorials as well as topical seminars. I have also co-taught an MA level class on “Methods and Theories.” Starting in the winter semester of 11/12, I have repeatedly taught the MA class which results in the publication of aspeers: emerging voices in american studies. I am particularly invested in teaching students to work closely with primary texts, to recognize the heterogeneity and diversity of American literature, and to appreciate the omnipresence of texts and their interpretation in everyday life.



In my doctoral work, I looked closely at the work of African American science fiction author Octavia Butler. Specifically, my study analyzes the ways in which some of Butler's writings perform theoretical work as they contribute to ongoing philosophical discussions by conducting an intra-oeuvre dialogue on the complexities of conceptualizating agency. More broadly speaking, my research interest lies in American fiction writing, movies, and TV series. My studies tend to focus on African American literature and science fiction. I have taught and done extensive scholarly work on subjects such as the neo-slave narrative, vampires, trauma, and African American literature.


Community Service

My most important work for the community may be managing the Picador Guest Professorship for Literature at American Studies Leipzig. I organize and co-organize most of the readings and public events the professorship entails and this consider them a great opportunity to interact with the city’s public. After several years of membership in the student council, during which I advised fellow students about their academic options and study tracks, I am now one of the academic advisors (Fachstudienberater) for the Bachelor of Arts in American Studies.

I am a member of numerous organizations devoted to establishing and maintaining academic networks in the broadest sense of the term, such as the American Studies Alumni Association, the DGFA (German Association for American Studies), the Alumni der Studienstiftung, the Vereinigung von Förderern und Freunden der Universität Leipzig, the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, and the Collegium for African American Research. 

In 2010 I was one of the organizers of the Postgraduate Forum of the German Association for American Studies.


Selected Publications and Talks

  • “Agency in Octavia Butler's Novels.” Presentation. Postgraduiertenforum der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien. Munich, Germany. 31 October 2009.
  • With Alexandra Hähnert, Máté Vince Horváth, Diana Labisch, and Sevara Pan, eds. aspeers: emerging voices in american studies 5 (2012).
  • With Ewa A. Adamkiewicz; Richard A. Bachmann; Elisabeth Böhme; Eric W. Fraunholz; Katharina Gensch; Wiebke Kartheus; Theresia Lakomy; Erica L. Larson; Martin Opitz; Sören Schoppmeier; and Tyrone Thomas White, Jr., eds. aspeers: emerging voices in american studies 6 (2013).
  • With Linda Esch, Paul Lück, Anna Richter, Annalisa Schmidt, Patricia Isabella Schumacher, Paul Simon, Silane Vatonne, eds. aspeers: emerging voices in american studies 7 (2014).
  • With Eric W. Fraunholz and Christina Harms: “aspeers: Europas Erste Fachzeitschrift für Amerikastudien auf MA Ebene als Didaktisches Projekt.” Poster Presentation. Tag der Lehre. Leipzig, Germany. 13 October 2013.
  • “Biology and Symbiosis in Octavia Butler's Fledgling.” Presentation. Letting the Vampire In. Bochum, Germany. 9 December 2010.
  • With Marie-Louise Löffler. “Bites from the Margins: Contemporary African American
    Women’s Vampire Literature.” Kultur und Geschlecht 8 (2011). <http://www.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/genderstudies/kulturundgeschlecht/pdf/Loeffler_African_American. pdf>
  • “Confronting Bodies: Octavia Butler's Kindred as a Narrative of Agency.” Presentation. 31st International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. Orlando, Florida, USA. 19 March 2010.
  • With Anne Grob, Sebastian M. Herrmann, Franziska Kloth, Frank Usbeck, guest eds. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies 12 (2011).<http://www-copas.uni-regensburg.de/articles/issue_12/12_00_contents.php>
  • “‘The Evening and the Morning and the Night’ as an Example of Agency in the Works of Octavia Butler.’” Guest lecture given in the seminar “‘Ok Computer? American Science Fiction in the 20th Century’” taught by Johanna Heil, MA, at the Chair of Prof. Dr Carmen Birkle. Philips-University Marburg, Germany. 8 December 2011.
  • “Fantastic Voices: Octavia Butler's First-Person Narrators.” Presentation. Dreams Not Only American: Science Fiction Research Association Conference. Lublin, Poland. 9 July 2011.
  • “’I Awoke to Darkness’: Octavia Butler's Fledgling as an Example of Postmodern African American Literature.” Guest lecture given in the seminar “‘Key Topics in Literature: African American Literature from Its Beginnings to the Present” taught by Dr. Marie-Luise Löffler at the Chair of Prof. Dr Sabine Broeck. University of Bremen, Germany. 16 January 2014.
  • ‘I Hugged Myself’: First-Person Narration as an Agential Act in Octavia Butler’s ‘The Evening and the Morning and the Night.’” Black Intersectionalities: A Critique for the 21st Century. Ed. Monica Michlin and Jean-Paul Rocchi. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2013. 68-82. Print.
  • “‘I won't always ask.’ Complicating Agency in Octavia Butler's Fledgling.” Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies 11 (2010). <http://www-copas.uni-regensburg.de/articles/issue_11/11_08_text_bast.php.>
  • “‘No.’: The Narrative Theorizing of Embodied Agency in Octavia Butler's KindredExtrapolation. 53.2 (2012): 151-81.
  • “Reading Red: The Troping of Trauma in Toni Morrison's Beloved.” Callaloo. 34.4 (2011): 1069-86.
  • “‘Shori Matthews Has Told Us the Truth’: Unreliable Narration in Octavia Butler's Fledgling. Presentation. 33rd International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. Orlando, Florida, USA. 21 March 2012.
  • “Stories of Self: Narrative Agency in the Works of Octavia Butler.” Presentation. Black States of Desire: Dispossession, Circulation, Transformation. Bi-Annual Conference of the Collegium for African American Research. Paris, France. 8 April, 2011.
  • ‘There Was Barely a Recognizable Human Feature Left’: Octavia Butler’s ‘The Evening and the Morning and the Night’ and the Narration of Self in the Face of its Looming Self-Destruction. Presentation. Current Research in Speculative Fiction. Liverpool, UK. 18 June 2012.
  • “The Unreliable Heroine: Fledgling's Shori as Octavia Butler's Most Problematic Protagonist.” Presentation. 43rd Annualy Convention of the Northeast Modern Language Association. Rochester, NY, USA. 17 March 2012.
  • “Total Embodiment: Octavia Butler's Dawn as a Cautionary Tale.” 4th Annual Conference of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung / 33. Wetzlarer Tage der Phantastik. Wetzlar, Germany. September 2013.
  • ‘Your Body Has Made a Different Choice’: Biologism as an Ideology in Octavia Butler’s Dawn.” Presentation. American Utopias: 40th International Conference of the Austrian Association for American Studies. Salzburg, Austria. November 2013.


Honors, Awards, Distinctions

  • German National Academic Foundation from 2003 to 2008.
  • German National Academic Foundation Position as a Research Assisstant and Graduate Student at the German Department of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, in 2005/2006.
  • DAAD Conference Travel Scholarships in March 2010 and in March 2012.
  • Fulbright Summer Institute in San Francisco and Washington, DC, in the Summer of 2012.
  • 2012 Student Paper Award of the Science Fiction Research Association.