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Xan Holt

Postdoctoral Weinberg Fellow

Xan Holt received his Ph.D. in German from Columbia University in 2020. His research and teaching interests include literature of the borderlands, migration and displacement, critical race studies, and film and new media. During the 2019-2020 academic year, he was a Lead Teaching Fellow and a GSAS Teaching Scholar, and he was awarded the German Department Teaching Award in 2020. His research has been published in the Johnson-Jahrbuch and the Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft der Arno-Schmidt-Leser. Xan is also the editorial assistant of The Germanic Review and is currently co-editing a special issue on the impact of Netflix and other transnational streaming services on Germanophone television.


He is completing a book manuscript entitled Transit and Trespass: Border-Crossing Poetics in German and Polish Literature Since 1945. Focusing on transborder narratives of travel and flight in the works of Jenny Erpenbeck, Zbigniew Herbert, Uwe Johnson, and Olga Tokarczuk, it investigates how these authors draw on border crossings as acts of political and aesthetic transgression. As the book shows, these writers advance uniquely literary alternatives to the geopolitical structures of their age, developing border-crossing poetics that inform their use of narrative, imagery, and intertextuality. The book project was awarded a Humanities War & Peace Initiative Grant by the Division of Humanities at Columbia University and a Peter Suhrkamp Stipend by the Uwe Johnson Society at the Universität Rostock.


His next project “Recycled Waste: Aesthetic Revaluation Under Late Capitalism” looks at artistic works made after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the subsequent devaluation of regions, cultural and commercial products, and ways of life in the face of an expanding global market. For this project, Xan was awarded a fellowship in the research area “Literary Currencies” as a part of the Freie Universität’s Cluster of Excellence “Temporal Communities.”

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