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June Hwang


June Hwang is an Associate Professor of German Studies, as well as a faculty member of the Jewish Studies and Film Studies programs, at the University of Rochester.

She specializes in twentieth-century film, culture and literature with an emphasis on Holocaust Studies, German Jewish Studies, questions of modernity, film theory, and critical theory. Her book Lost in Time: Locating the Stranger in German Modernity (Northwestern UP, 2014) explores discourses of timelessness in the works of central figures of German modernity, such as Walter Benjamin, Georg Simmel, Siegfried Kracauer, and Helmuth Plessner, as well as Alfred Döblin, Joseph Roth, and Hugo Bettauer. Her current work includes a collection of essays that look at the relationship between minority identities, power, privilege, and subjectivity in relation to Holocaust Studies.

Fellow Project: Subjective Distances

Within cultural studies more broadly and German Studies specifically, there have been continuing debates about discourses of diversity and minority identities in both research and pedagogical practices. My experiences in German Studies – as a student, as a researcher, as an instructor – cannot be disconnected from my experiences as a Korean American, non-disabled, cis woman both in the United States and abroad. It has impacted my relationship to cultural studies, to language learning, to fellow students and academics, to the kinds of access I have to the experiences of others. My intellectual pursuits, and particularly my more recent work in Holocaust Studies, have made it clear to me that the distance of an outsider is subjective; it is not universal and homogenous, nor is it cold, objective and indifferent. And within these distances is a complicated relationship informed by power discrepancies, dominant and minority cultures, histories, class structures and gender. A model of affective distances is one that does not conflate empathy with identification and understanding, but also does not deny the importance of emotions for our connections to experiences outside of our own. In working through this model, and its impact on my teaching and research, I am finding that I need to foreground my own experiences in order to tease out the implications of an idiosyncratic, subjective distance that is multi-directional, intersectional and constantly changing.


Prof. June J. Hwang, PhD
Associate Professor of German
429 Lattimore Hall
P.O. Box 270082
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627

T: +1 585 275-4251