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Diana Thiesen

Diana Thiesen
IRTG Diversity
University of Trier
DM 249
Phone +49 651 201 3320
E-Mail thiesen@uni-trier.de


Intersectionality in Contemporary East Asian Canadian Fiction

(Supervisors: Ralf Hertel, Trier / Lianne Moyes, Montréal
Mentoring: Eva Bischoff, Trier)

In the aftermath of the so-called “refugee crisis”, debates about migration and integration have become virulent in modern Western societies. However, it is not exclusively the social category of race, which creates a sense of otherness. The rather recent theory of intersectionality combines various approaches by asking how different social categories such as race, class, gender, age, sexual identity, religion, or physical ability are interdependent in defining an individual’s identity, in the perception by others, and how social power relations are created. I argue that in an age of globalization, shifts in the perception of intersectional concerns that can be traced in East Asian Canadian fiction point towards more general developments in societal discourse. In times of pervasive global discourses about gender differences, migration and inclusion, my PhD-thesis aims hence at shedding light on the diachronic development of the encounter between Eastern and Western cultures in Canadian fiction. I wish not only to examine the negotiation of race as a category of differentiation in East Asian Canadian novels from the 1990s until today, but I will include further social markers derived from intersectionality theory to examine the negotiation of diversity from East Asian immigrants’ perspectives. In order to identify social categories and their intersection, I will combine a multilevel approach based on Winkler/Degele (2010) with literary studies’ close reading. The operationalization of this approach for the analysis of literature will thus enable me not only to examine processes of identity formation on the microlevel, but it provides also – by considering the representational level – a method to gain insight into the underlying cultural symbolism.

Winkler, Gabriele/Degele, Nina. Intersektionalität. Zur Analyse sozialer Ungleichheiten. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2010.


Since 2019
Doctoral Candidate at IRTG Diversity
Magistra Artium (Master) in English Literature and Linguistics, French Literature and Political Theory, University of Trier, Germany (M.A.): 1.5

Work Experience

2017/2018/ 2019
Tutor (tutorial “Introduction to Literary Studies 2: A Bird’s-Eye View of English Literature”, University of Trier, Germany)
Lecturer (undergraduate seminar “Introduction to Literary Studies 1: Basic Concepts of Literary Analysis”, University of Trier, Germany)
2017 - 2019
Freelancer (local newspaper “Wochenspiegel”, Trier, Germany)
Research Assistant (Canadian Studies Centre, University of Trier, Germany)
Research Assistant (German Research Institute for Public Administration, Speyer, Germany)
2014 - 2016
Student Assistant (German Research Institute for Public Administration, Speyer, Germany)
Student Assistant (Political Sciences, University of Trier, Germany)
Intern (German American Institute, Saarbrücken, Germany)

Awards and Fellowships

Research Fellow, International Research Training Group “Diversity. Mediating Difference in Transcultural Spaces”, University of Trier/Saarland University/Université de Montréal, Germany/Canada

Short-Time Scholar for PhD-Beginners, University of Trier, Germany


"Of Monkey Kings and Fox Ladies—Intersectionality, Empowerment and Myth in Wayson Choy’s The Jade Peony", in: Ralf Hertel/Eva-Maria Windberger (eds.), Empowering Contemporary Fiction in English. The Impact of Empowerment in Literary Studies (Boston: Brill), 172-185.

Conference Presentations

“Of Monkey Kings & Fox Ladies – Myth Transmission in Contemporary East Asian Canadian Fiction”
16th Annual Conference of the Emerging Scholars’ Forum of the Association for Canadian Studies in German-speaking Countries, University of Kassel, Germany

“Spaces-in-between“: Transkulturalismus in ostasiatisch-kanadischer Literatur und Gesellschaft
Annual Colloquium of the Centre for Postcolonial and Gender Studies, University of Trier, Germany

“Transkulturalismus in anglokanadischer Literatur und Gesellschaft“
Monthly Colloquium for Literary Scholars, University of Trier, Germany