ddesocio@umich.edu

My current CV can be found here.

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan.  I work in the fields of German and Austrian modernism, critical theory, temporality studies, feminist studies, the history of sexuality, and queer theory.

Since 2018, I’ve co-founded and served on my department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee, which seeks to implement in our unit the University of Michigan’s strategic plan for DEI, found here. Additionally, I created my department’s first DEI Research and Teaching Database, which compiles sources across media and genre by and/or about historically underrepresented and disadvantaged group; the goal is for this interactive online database to serve as a source for more inclusive curricula and innovative research. Our vision is backed by the strong conviction that academic and intellectual excellence can only be achieved when every individual feels welcomed, supported, and valued as a member of our community. Through departmental policies, programming, and innovative curricula for both undergraduate and graduate students, we seek to create a dynamic, diverse, and inclusive program regarding student and faculty recruitment and retention, pedagogy and the practice of teaching, and professional development.

At the University of Michigan, I have received several awards for both my research and my teaching. In 2021, I will hold the position as a Sweetland Center for Writing Junior Fellow, a fellowship in which I design and teach an original first-year writing intensive course on a topic of my choice: disco and dance cultures. For the 2019-2020 academic year, I was awarded the Rackham Predoctoral Scholarship, Rackham Graduate School’s most prestigious award, to fund my dissertation work. My essay, “’Augen, die mich anstarrten:’ The Displacement of Eyes and the Privileges of Vision in Early Hofmannsthal,” received the 2014-15 Alan P. Cottrell Prize for best paper written in a German Studies seminar at the University of Michigan. As an instructor, I was awarded the Frank X. Braun Memorial Graduate Student Instructor Award in 2017 for my self-designed undergraduate course “Queer German Cultures,” the first such course offered in the department and university. 

I have also followed my research and pedagogical passions to service for the university. Since 2019, I have been as graduate student instructor consultant for the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan, in which I mentor graduate students instructors (GSIs) from across the university to improve their teaching and student learning. In a parallel position as an IT-instructional consultant, I work with GSIs to incorporate digital learning technologies and electronic devices into their classroom. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have served on the Graduate Student Instructor Advisory Group for Remote Teaching, working with a select group of fellow students and instructional staff to put together a package of best practices, resources, and forms of support for faculty, lecturers, and GSIs to teach remotely and in hybrid formats.

This public-oriented work has inspired me to join as a 2020-2021 Fellow the Institute of Social Change at the University of Michigan, meeting with researchers, activists, and community organizers from Detroit and the surrounding area to discuss the intersections of my research with the issues of race, bias, oppression, and inclusion both inside and outside the academy. This opportunity has provided me with opportunities to think about the connections between my scholarly knowledge and pressing social issues and to think about ways I can develop and implement mutually beneficial projects in collaboration with community partners in the future. I have come away with a knowledge of key concepts and practices in public scholarship, learning how to communicate with multiple audiences and forge an identity as a teacher-scholar working across a range of settings.

I received my B.A. magna cum laude in German Studies and Modern European History from Columbia University in 2014, writing an honors thesis on portrayals of homosexuality in early 20th century gay German literature.