Zoe Kusmierz, M.A.


Born near Dortmund, I studied in Konstanz, at Rutgers (New Jersey), and at Leipzig University, where I completed my Magister degree in 2001. Since, I have been teaching American literature at the Institute and I work on my doctoral thesis on ‘The Cultural Work of Shopping Malls.’ I have a passion for movies, good chocolate, and running.



I am teaching American literature with an emphasis on topical and genre criticism. Recent seminars include ‘American Drama,’ ‘The Immigrant Experience,’ ‘American Landscapes,’ ‘Reading the Popular,’ and ‘Narratives of Consumption.’ During the past years I have also repeatedly taught an introductory class for first semester students, which focuses on literary studies and theory.



My research interests circle around popular culture, consumer culture, and spaces. In my doctoral thesis I investigate the shopping mall as a space of intricate social and consumer practices as well as a space that generates fantasies and plots of community, abundance, and destruction. Another field of interest lies in the process of transculturation that American (consumer) culture affords in its reception in Germany and Europe.


Community Service

As president of the American Studies Alumni Association (ASAA) I work to strengthen the network between our Alumni, the Institute, current students, and a broader public through our lecture series, ‘After American Studies’ informative programs, graduation ceremonies, and other events.


In addition, I have repeatedly volunteered for the interview committee for the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst.


Selected Publications and Papers

  • “Areas of Uncertainty: Observations on on the German Reception of Spike Lee and HipHop Culture.” Amerikanische Populärkultur in Deutschland: Case Studies in Cultural Transfer Past and Present. Ed. by Heike Paul and Katja Kanzler. Leipzig: Universitätsverlag, 2002. 167-80.
  • “Shopping Malls as Heterogeneous Leisure Spaces.” Conference: Leisure and Liberty. Sorbonne, Paris, 12-13 Nov. 2004.
  • “Carries in Wonderland: Konsum, Raum und Gender von Carrie Meeber bis Carrie Bradshaw”. Lecture Series: Sex in the City und anderswo. Deutsch-Amerikanischen Institut Nürnberg, Juli 2005
  • “ ‘The Glitter of Your Kitchen Pans’: Kitchen Appliances, Politics, and Fantasies at the American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959.” Conference: Ambivalent Americanizations: Popular and Consumer Culture in Central and Eastern Europe, Leipzig 24-26 Nov. 2005
  • “Carries im Wunderland: Konsum, Raum und gender von Carrie Meeber bis Carrie Bradshaw.” Screening Gender. Ed. Heike Paul. forthcoming.
  • “A Heterotopia of Fantasy and Reality: Observations on the Mall of America.” Conference Proceedings: Leisure and Liberty. Ed. Pierre Lagayette. Sorbonne, Paris. forthcoming.


Honors, Awards, Distinctions

  • Grantee of a scholarship by the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst
  • Grantee of a scholarship to the Fulbright Summer Institute, Amherst, 2003.