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Didem UcaAssistant Professor of German Studies


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (2019)
  • A.M., University of Pennsylvania (2014)
  • A.B., Bryn Mawr College (2011)


Teaching Fields: Nineteenth through twenty-first century German-language literature and culture, narratives of migration, travel, exile, and marginalization, women’s, gender, sexuality studies, Turkish-German studies, coming of age 

A native of Long Island, New York and Turkish-Arab-American, Didem Uca began learning German in her first year of college. After graduating with her A.B. in Comparative Literature and German from Bryn Mawr College, she held a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship at Gaziantep University in Turkey. She continued her studies at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving her A.M. and Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures and a graduate certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Her doctoral research was supported by a Fulbright Fellowship at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2016-2017. She joined the Emory College faculty in fall 2020 after spending one year as Visiting Assistant Professor of German at Colgate University, where she was nominated for the Phi Eta Sigma Professor of the Year Award. 

Her research focuses on cultural production that centers the experiences of post/migrants within an intersectional framework and has appeared or is forthcoming in Monatshefte, Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching GermanSeminar: A Journal of Germanic StudiesSymposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures, and International Journal of Communication. Her current book project, tentatively titled Coming of Age on the Move: The Transnational Bildungsroman in German, analyzes twentieth- and twenty-first century examples of the genre that rework, revise, and reframe its longstanding tropes. Beyond her work on more conventional literary genres, Dr. Uca has published on hip-hop music by German-language artists of color and the use of social media as a platform for social justice activism. Since 2019, she has served as Co-Editor of the trilingual journal Jahrbuch Türkisch-Deutsche Studien, and she translates from German and Turkish into English, with her most recent translations appearing in TRANSIT.

She enjoys teaching the span of German-language cultures and supporting students at all stages, from developing the building blocks of expression in German to discovering the thrill of literary analysis and also serves as Associated Faculty in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. A recipient of the Goethe-Institut/American Association of Teachers of German Certificate of Merit in 2020, Dr. Uca is committed to fostering classroom communities and pedagogical practices in which diversity and inclusion are central tenets. She was a guest author for the new intermediate German textbook, Impuls Deutsch 2, contributing lessons on Turkish-German and other post/migrant communities, and is a frequent presenter on inclusive and antiracist teaching strategies. Her work in the classroom is matched by leadership roles in professional organizations that further diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia, including serving on the steering committees of the Coalition of Women in German and the Diversity, Decolonization, and the German Curriculum Collective and co-chairing the MLA Committee on the Status of Graduate Students in the Humanities.



(2022) “In/Visible: The Perception of Physical Alterity in Yoko Tawada’s ‘Fersenlos’ through an Intersectional Lens.” Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook, 21, Special Issue: Contemporary German Literature and Disability  (peer-reviewed)

(2022). with Maria Stehle and Kate Zambon, “Hip-Hop Pedagogies, Social Justice, and Transnational Area Studies: Eko Fresh’s ‘Aber’ and Joyner Lucas’ ‘I’m not Racist’ in Dialogue.” Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German (peer-reviewed)

 (2021). “‘[A]ber Zitronen haben nicht geblüht’: Heimat, Agency, and the Adaptation of the Mignon Figure in Irmgard Keun’s Kind aller Länder (1938).” Monatshefte, 113.4, pp. 556-577 (peer-reviewed) (link)

(2021). “White Noise and Black Boxes: Social Justice Discourses and Social Media Practices.” Forum on Digital Curation. Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, 57.2, pp. 310-318 (invited contribution) (link)

(2019). “‘Grissgott’ meets ‘Kung Fu’: Multilingualism, Humor, and Trauma in Saša Stanišić’s Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert (2006).” Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures, 73.3, pp. 185-201 (peer-reviewed) (link)

(2016). Co-authored with Kate Zambon, “Patriots and Pedagogues: Cultural Institutions and the Performative Politics of Minority German Hip-Hop.” International Journal of Communication, Vol. 10, pp. 726-747 (peer-reviewed) (link)


(2020) Guest author, Impuls Deutsch 2 (intermediate German language textbook)

Translations (Select)

(2021). Trans. German to English: “Sex” by Reyhan Şahin from Eure Heimat ist unser Albtraum, TRANSIT. (peer-reviewed) (link)

(2021). Trans. German to English: “Home” by Mithu Sanyal from Eure Heimat ist unser Albtraum, TRANSIT. (peer-reviewed) (link)

(2021). Trans. German to English: “Two Çayspoons of Şekir” by Keça Filankes, SAND Journal. (link)

(2014). Trans. Turkish to English: “An Essay about the Heart of the Protest: Bitter Bewilderment.” Essay by Ece Temelkuran. Jahrbuch Türkisch-Deutsche Studien, Vol. 5 

Reviews and Public Scholarship (Select)

(2021). Review: Diversity and Decolonization in German Studies. Edited by Regine Criser and Ervin Malakaj. German Studies Review. Vol. 44.1

(2020). Review: Anxious Journeys: Twenty-First-Century Travel Writing in German. Edited by Karin Baumgartner and Monika Shafi. German Studies Review, Vol. 43.2, pp. 445-447

(2020). Collaborative post, “The Future of German Studies,” Diversity, Decolonization, and the German Curriculum Blog. (link)

(2019). “@womeningerman: A Digital Feminist German Studies Archive on Twitter,” Digital Feminist Collective, University of Alberta. (link)

(2019). “Why do German Migration Studies Matter Today?” Diversity, Decolonization, and the German Curriculum Blog. (link)

(2018). “When Your Faves are Problematic: Interrupting Harmful Narratives as Feminist Practice.” Digital Feminist Collective, University of Alberta. (link)

(2018). “Passagen des Exils/Passages of Exile ed. by Burcu Dogramaci and Elisabeth Otto (review).” Feminist German Studies, Vol. 34, pp. 159-161.