Naqvi named Leavenworth Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures

Fatima Naqvi
Fatima Naqvi

Fatima Naqvi, a pathbreaking scholar of German language cinema and literatures, has been appointed the Elias W. Leavenworth Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Professor of Film and Media Studies, effective July 1.

She is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures and the Film and Media Studies program.

Naqvi joined the Yale faculty in 2019, having previously held faculty positions at Rutgers and visiting positions at Harvard and Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Her scholarship touches on multiple domains and defies categorization: she studies the intersection of architecture and literature and film, ecological films, Austrian authors and filmmakers of the 20th and 21st centuries and the landscape in the post-1945 period. This work has drawn accolades: she has held a Fulbright Professorship at the Centre for Intermediality Studies and fellowships from the Austrian-Academic Exchange Service, among other honors. 

She is the author of four books. In “The Literary and Cultural Rhetoric of Victimhood: Western Europe 1970-2005” (2007), Naqvi traces the concept of victimhood across Western European literature, engaging with a wide range of authors: Sigmund Freud, Theodor Adorno, Rene Girard, Michelle Houellebecq, Elfriede Jelinek, and others. “Trügerische Vertrautheit: Filme von Michael Haneke/ Deceptive Familiarity: Films by Michael Haneke” (2010) explores the relationship between the work of filmmaker Michael Haneke, literary adaptation, and the end of empire, deftly placing his films in a broader social and political context. In “How We Learn Where We Live: Thomas Bernhard, Architecture, and Bildung” (2016), Naqvi shows how architecture can be fundamental to education. Her book “The White Ribbon” (2020), about Michael Haneke’s 2009 film, reflects on the guise of literariness and historical authenticity. Her forthcoming books include “The Insulted Landscape,” which is an adaptation of her Zurich Distinguished Lecture from 2019. It looks at the interconnection between urban development, democratic thought, and political paralysis in West Germany from the 1960s on. Other projects focus the topic of fremdschämen — the sense of shame for another — in contemporary media, on the representation of hospitals in 20th century German culture, and the problem of generosity and environmental consciousness in recent documentary films. This wide-ranging body of work demonstrates Naqvi’s expansive scholarly breadth. 

Naqvi is active in shaping the trajectory of German and Austrian culture. She is an associate member of the Instutute of Cultural Inquiry (ICI) Berlin and is also a board member of Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies (BIAAS). She has served on the editorial board of major journals in the field, including Germanic Review, German Quarterly, Wiener Digitale Revue and others, and she has been on the jury for the Austrian Translation Prize of the Austrian Cultural Forum and on review committees for the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Her public-facing work includes workshops on film and multiculturalism for educators and speaking engagements at film festivals and cultural institutions in the U.S. and abroad. 

In her courses, she teaches on 20th and 21st century German literature and film. These courses include Vienna 1900–1938, post-1945 film, German literature of the post-1945 period, literature and architecture, modernism, and landscape and film. While Naqvi has only recently joined the Yale community, she has already made a substantial impact. As director of graduate studies in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, she has led efforts to update graduate curricula. She has developed new interdisciplinary courses on film and architecture and has participated in student critiques at the Yale School of Architecture, strengthening bonds between the School of Architecture and the FAS. 

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