A Visiting Fellow at the GHI, Jana Schmidt is a literary scholar with interests in post-1945 literatures, the politics and aesthetics of exile, and theories of memory and relation. She earned her PhD in Comparative Literature at the University at Buffalo and has been a postdoctoral scholar at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College as well as a visiting professor at Bard. Publications include a monograph on Hannah Arendt, Hannah Arendt und die Folgen (2018), as well as essays on Jacques Derrida, Philip Guston, H.G. Adler, and Ingeborg Bachmann. Most recently, she has written on "poetry as human rights history" and on Bertolt Brecht's little-known dialogue Refugee Conversationsfor a special issue of the Journal of Narrative Theory.
Her current project, "Futures Not Yet: Jewish Exile, Black Politics," follows the traces of German-Jewish exiles and their encounters with Black life, politics, and anti-Black racism in the United States between their arrival in the 1940s and the 1960s. It inquires into the fraught ways emigres use their own experience of racial persecution and terror to understand the position of Black Americans while writing their history as and with their own.
GHI Research ProjectFutures Not Yet: Jewish Exile, Black Politics