Dr. Mahshid Mayar
Assistant Professor | wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
North American Literature and Culture
Faculty of Linguistics and Litrature
Postfach 10 01 31
Office: UHG C4 - 222
Office Hours: Teusdays 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. and by appointment
Dr. Mahshid Mayar
I am a literary critic and cultural historian. Since Oct. 2016, I am an assistant professor of American Studies at Bielefeld University, where I teach historical and literary American childhoods, transnational American literature, 19th-century US cultural history, and critical game studies. In my current position, I follow two lines of research: While I engage with the 'blank' in postmodern American literature ('erasure' and 'blackout' literature) for my second-book project, I also conduct research on digital games, where I theorize the study of digital games and examine game titles that open dialogues on US history and culture.
My first book, Citizens and Rulers of the World: American Children and World Geography at the Turn of the 20th Century, is under contract with the University of North Carolina Press. The volume is scheduled to come out late in 2020.
In 2017, I was a post-doctoral fellow at the English Department, Amherst College.
To view my academic CV, please click here.
Since the start of my career in American Studies, I have enjoyed working at the borders between disciplines. My research, and later my teaching, navigate the contact zones between cultural geography and childhood studies, history of empires and critical game studies, post-modern US literature as well as transnational American studies. To get an overview of the various lines of research I have been working on since 2010, please click on the links below.
So far, my publications have appeared in three broad fields: childhood studies (including history of education in the United States, juvenile periodicals, war and childhood, children as archival presences and childhood as archival material), cultural geography of the US Empire (including my forthcoming first book on world geography knowledge at the turn of the 20th century, theoretical speculations on terra incognita in slated, blank globes, and production of geographic knowledge through geographical toys), and critical game studies (including the study of pacifism in strategy games, speculations on the intersections of game studies and American studies, a study of historical digital games in the Anthropocene, and genre interventions in the study of Western digital games).
Evolving out of my long-standing interest in absence, silence, and blank as points of contention (see, for instance, the forthcoming articles on blank as imperial and erasure as a quality of children’s toys in the 19th-century US market), my second-book project focuses on postmodern American literature, examining erasure and redaction in literary texts as a matter of inter-textuality and at the service of political ends.
Furthermore, I have given talks at various national, European, and international conferences and workshops (complete list of my conference activities since 2010 can be found in my CV). Listed here are the talks I have been invited to deliver at various venues, including the keynote lecture scheduled for the Future and Reality of Gaming (FROG), Vienna, Austria.
At the teaching end, the seminars I design and teach are writing-intensive (essay writing phases) and offer frequent possibilities to the students to lead small-group discussions (in ‘discussion islands’ about a given, supplementary topic). Depending on the topic, I help the students develop presentations which are either completely research-based or depend on performance and exhibition (‘thematic museums’).