Angelica Fenner

Associate Professor
Room 325E, 2 Sussex Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1J5


Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures


My researches coalesce around the concept of ‘mobility,’ whose volitional and compulsory permutations (e.g. labour migration, exile, diaspora, climate change, touristic travel, cosmopolitan privilege, flanerie) have become a defining feature of material and psychical life in the late 20th- and early 21st-century. I am interested in productive synergies that emerge when the analytics of mobility are applied to moving images, with consideration for aesthetics, style, medium specificity, and also those acts of cultural translation that render social content and questions of subjectivity legible. I am particularly drawn to women’s authorship and intersectionality, including filmmakers whose creative practice constitutes a minor or countercinematic stance in relation to more vernacular modes of visual storytelling and mainstream or industrial financing and production. These thematics inspired a special issue of Camera Obscura, co-edited with Hester Baer (U Maryland) and titled, "Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema: Contemporary Women's Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times," in print Fall 2018. More broadly, I've been exploring the pliancy of theories of affect and of neoliberalism for understanding new realist aesthetics in contemporary European cinemas, including so-called 'Berlin School' films and their successors.

In addition to articles and book chapters on migration and diaspora in European cinemas, I am author of Race Under Reconstruction in German Cinema (2011), which investigates the implications of early West German discourses on race and integration for visualizing the terms of belonging within postwar society. I have also co-edited with anthropologist Uli Linke {Rochester Institute of Technology) a themed issue of UC Berkeley’s online journal Transit on the topic “Contemporary Remediations of Race & Ethnicity in German Visual Cultures.” I also maintain a sustained engaged with the contemporary proliferation of first person filmmaking: I regularly teach a themed graduate seminar on the topic and have co-edited the anthology The Autobiographical Turn in Germanophone Documentary and Experimental Film (2014).


Race Under Reconstruction in German Cinema: Robert Stemmle's Toxi. University of Toronto Press, 2011. 283 pp.

Books Edited

The Autobiographical Turn in German Documentary and Experimental Film. Co-edited with Robin Curtis. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2014. 390 pp

Fascism and Neo-Fascism: Critical Writings on the Radical Right in Europe. Co-edited with Eric Weitz. NY: Palgrave, 2004. 286 pp.

Guest Editor

Special Issue: Rethinking Gender and German Cinema: Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times.  Hester Baer and Angelica Fenner, Guest Editors. Camera Obscura 99 (2018).

Special Issue: Contemporary (Re)Mediations of Race and Ethnicity in German Visual Cultures.  Angelica Fenner and Uli Linke, Guest Editors. Transit: A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World (UC Berkeley), 9.2 (December 2014).

Articles in Academic Journals

“Introduction: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema.”Co-authored with Hester Baer. Special Issue: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema: Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times. Camera Obscura 99 (2018): 1-19.

“Jennifer Fox’s Transcultural Talking Cure: Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman.” Journal of Feminist Media Studies 9.4 (2009): 427-445. Special Issue: Transcultural Media and the Transnational Politics of Difference.

“Aural Topographies of Migration in Yamina Benguigui’s Inch’Allah dimanche.” Camera Obscura 66 (2007): 93-127.

 “Turkish Cinema in the New Europe: Visualizing Ethnic Conflict in Sinan Çetin's Berlin in Berlin.Camera Obscura 44 (2001): 105-149.

"Personal Vendettas and their Public Appropriations: The Politics of Film Reception in Sibylle Schönemann’s Verriegelte Zeit." GDR Bulletin24 (Spring 1997): 47-57.

"Versuch eines interkulturellen Dialogs: Mehrstimmigkeit als Erzählstrategie in Helma Sanders-Brahms' Shirin's Hochzeit." Frauen in der Literaturwissenschaft Rundbrief 49 
(Dezember 1996): 25-29.

Articles in Books

“Rising in the East/Sett(l)ing in the West: Tibetan Buddhism in Contemporary Documentary.” In The Blackwell Companion to Contemporary Documentary Film, eds. Alex Juhasz and Alisa Lebow, 341-365. Boston: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.

"The Redistribution of the Sensible in Thomas Arslan’s From Afar.” In European Visions: Small Cinemas in Transition, eds. Janelle Blankenship and Tobias Nagl, 367-388.  Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2015.  

“Introduction: Cultivating Peripheral Vision.” Special Issue: “Contemporary (Re)Mediations of Race and Ethnicity in German Visual Cultures.” Co-edited with Uli Linke. Transit: A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World (UC Berkeley), 9.2 (December 2014).

“Whither Autobiography? The Difficulties of Saying ‘I’ in the German Context.” Co-authored with Robin Curtis. In The Autobiographical Turn in German Documentary and Experimental Film, ed. Robin Curtis & Angelica Fenner, 1-34. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2014.

“Clearing Out Family History in Seven Dumpsters and a Corpse.” Co-authored with Waltraud Maierhofer. In The Autobiographical Turn in Contemporary German Documentary and Experimental Film, edited by Robin Curtis and Angelica Fenner 210-31. Rochester, NY: Camden, 2014.

“The Gen(t)rification of Heimat: Framing Hamburg’s Creative Class in Fatih Akin’s Soul Kitchen.” In The Place of Politics in German, edited by Martin Blumenthal-Barby, 243-268. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2014.

"Roots and Routes of the Diasporic Documentarian: A Psychogeography of Fatih Akin's Wir haben vergessen zürück zu kehren." In Turkish-German Cinema in the New Millenium: Sites, Sounds, and Screenseds. Sabine Hake and Barbara Mennell, 59-71. New York: Berghahn Press, 2012.

"Jennifer Fox's Transcultural Talking Cure: Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman." In The Cinema of Me: The Self and Subjectivity in First Person Documentary Filmed. Alisa Lebow. 119-141. London: Wallflower Press, 2012. [Reprint]

Cinematic Discourses of Race and Reconstruction in Transnational Perspective.” In From Black to Schwarz: Cultural Crossover between African America and Germanyeds. Maria Diedrich & Jürgen Heinrichs, 227-244. LIT Verlag, 2010.

“The Reterritorialization of Enjoyment in the Adenauer Era.” In Framing the Fifties: Cinema in a Divided Germany, eds. John Davidson & Sabine Hake, 166-179. NY: Berghahn, 2007.

"Beyond the Pleasure Principle: Repetition Trauma and the Tyrannies of Genre in Frieder Schlaich's Otomo." In Fascism and Neo-Fascism: Critical Writings on the Radical Right in Europe, eds. Angelica Fenner & Eric Weitz, 259-278. NY: Palgrave, 2004.

"Traversing the Representational Politics of Migration in Xavier Koller's Journey of Hope." In Moving Pictures, Traveling Identities: Exile, Migration, Border Crossing in Cinema, ed. Eva Rueschmann, 18-38. Oxford: University of Mississippi Press, 2003.

"Theorizing the Internet: Scholarly Collaboration, Authorial Identity, and the Bounds of Listserver Culture." In After Postmodernism: Austrian Literature and Film in Transition, ed. Willy Riemer, 348-361. Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, 2001.

Filmmaker Interviews

“Representation Matters: Tatjana Turankyj on Women’s Filmmaking and the Pro Quota Film Movement.” Camera Obscura 99 (2018): 129-145. Special Issue: Revisiting Feminism and German Cinema: Women’s Film Authorship in Neoliberal Times,” eds Hester Baer and Angelica Fenner.

"If People Want to Oppress You, They Make You Say ‘I’: Hito Steyerl in Conversation.” In The Autobiographical Turn in Germanophone Documentary and Experimental Filmedited by Robin Curtis and Angelica Fenner, 37-51. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2014.

"The Hybrid Approach: An Interview with the Filmmaker Branwen Okpako." Women in German Yearbook 28 (2012): 113-137.

“The Dialogical Documentary: Jennifer Fox on Finding a New Film Language.” CineAction 77 (May 2009): 25-33.

“Seyhan Derin: ‘She has her own way of asserting herself.’” Women in German 21 (2005): 43-61.

DVD Audio Commentary

Toxi (Robert Stemmle, 1952, Germany, 89 min.). Produced by the DEFA Library, University of Massachusetts, 2011).

Review Essays

Matthias Frey. Postwall German Cinema: History, Film History, and Cinephilia (NY: Berghahn, 2013) and Gabrielle Mueller and James Skidmore, eds. Cinema and Social Change in Germany and Austria (Waterloo, ON: Wilfried Laurier, 2012) in Seminar 50.4 (November 2014): 511-515.

Michael Renov. The Subject of Documentary (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2004) in Quarterly Review of Film & Video 25.3 (2008): 251-256.

Jacqueline Levitin, Judith Plessis, Valerie Raoul, eds. Women Filmmakers Refocusing (NY: Routledge, 2003) in Jump Cut 49 (Spring 2007)

Caryl Flinn. The New German Cinema: Music, History, and the Matter of Style (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004) in Journal of Film Music 1.4 (Winter 2006).

Linda Schulte-Sasse. Entertaining the Third Reich: Illusions of Wholeness in Nazi Cinema (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996) in Film Quarterly 54.1 (Fall 2000): 44-46.

Marc Silberman, German Cinema: Texts in Context (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1995) and Wallace Steadman Watson. Understanding Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Film as Private and Public Art (Columbia: University of South Carolina, 1996) in Film Quarterly 51.2 (Winter 1998): 57-58.

Book Reviews

Eric Rentschler. The Use and Abuse of Cinema: German Legacies from the Weimar Era to the Present. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015) in Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 55.1 (2019): 81-82.

Sara Lennox, ed. Remapping Black Germany: New Perspectives on Afro-German History, Politics, and Culture (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2016) in The Germanic Review 93.4 (2018).

Marion Kraft, ed. Kinder der Befreiung: Transatlantische Erfahrungen und Perspektiven Schwarzer Deutscher der Nachkriegsgeneration(Berlin: Unrast, 2015) in Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 53.1 (2017): 93-96.

Marco Abel, The Countercinema of the Berlin School(Rochester,NY: Camden, 2012) in Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 52.3 (2016): 346-348.

Eli Goldblatt. Coming Home: A Literacy Autobiography (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University, 2012) in International Journal of Communication 8 (2014): 2-10.

Monika Albrecht. “Europa ist nicht die Welt.” Postkolonialismus in Literatur und Geschichte der westdeutschen Nachkriegszeit (Bielefeld: Aisthesis Verlag, 2008) in Gegenwartsliteratur 13 (2014): 347.

Tina Campt. Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012) in Journal of Family History 38.3 (July 2013).

 Tobias Nagl. Die unheimliche Maschine: Rasse und Representation im Weimarer Kino. (München: Edition Text+Kritik, 2009) in Film Blatt15.43 (Fall 2010).

Christine Haase. When Heimat Meets Hollywood: German Filmmakers and America, 1985-2005 (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2007) in German Studies Review 33.3 (October 2010): 706-7.

Heide Fehrenbach. Race after Hitler: Black Occupation Children in Postwar Germany and America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005) in German Studies Review 31.1 (February 2008): 178-79.

Nora Alter & Lutz Köpnick, eds. Sound Matters: Essays on the Acoustics of Modern German Culture (New York: Berghahn Books, 2004) in German Studies Review 30.1 (February 2007): 235.

Ian Balfour & Atom Egoyan, eds. Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film. (Boston: MIT Press, 2004) in Journal of Popular Film & Television34.2 (June 2006): 95-96.


PhD, University of Minnesota
MA, University of Massachusetts Amherst
BA, Oberlin College

Administrative Service

Undergraduate Coordinator, 2019-2020