Astrid Exel is a Ph.D. Candidate at the German Department of the University of California, Davis. She studied Theatre Studies and Slovene Language and Literature in Vienna and Ljubljana and holds a Mag. phil. from Universität Wien and a M.A. from UC Davis. She received scholarships from the Max Kade Foundation and the Republic of Slovenia and contributed the article Homo ludens (Pictures of an Imagined Exhibition) to the publication of the biography Mile Korun, edited by Vasja Predan and Ivo Svetina. Currently, she works as an Affiliated Instructor of German at UC Davis and is also a trainer for communication and personal development, and a curriculum designer. Astrid is especially interested in Austrian Literature, Cosmopolitanism, and the interdependence of literatures in the countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.
In her PhD project, Astrid Exel examines the influence of cosmopolitan thinking on Austrian literature and develops criteria for its characterization as (Austrian) cosmopolitan literature. In her dissertation, she wants to show that cosmopolitanism can be used to situate and analyse literary works that attempt to overcome national borders and connect people across countries. Her research focuses on three time periods framed by sociopolitical developments in Austria and Europe: The Fin-de-siècle, before the ‘Wende’ in 1989, and afterwards. The focus is on cultural dynamics that provide the grounds for acknowledgement of social equities and differences through language and inside and outside of national borders to prove the diversity of Austrian’s literature. For that purpose, Astrid Exel examines several literary works in the mentioned periods to see how the cosmopolitan perspectives themselves and their expression in Austria’s literature have changed throughout time.