AGI News

2016 DAAD Prize in German and European Studies to be Awarded to Dr. Yasemin Yildiz, UCLA

Building a Smarter German-American Partnership

Yasemin Yildiz

Congratulations to Dr. Yasemin Yildiz of UCLA, the recipient of the 2016 DAAD Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies for her outstanding academic work in the Humanities.

Yasemin Yildiz is Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature at UCLA.  She grew up in Bremen and began her academic life at the Universität Hamburg, where she studied German Literature and History, earning an M.A. with a thesis on Holocaust testimonies. A Fulbright scholarship took her to the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, where she undertook additional course work in Comparative Literature. She went on to complete her graduate training in German Studies at Cornell University under Leslie A. Adelson. Her dissertation was the basis for her 2012 book Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition, which argues that today’s multilingual practices in literature, arts, and everyday life cannot be understood without the recognition of the continued impact of monolingualism, a modern paradigm that only emerged around 1800. Beyond the Mother Tongue received the Modern Language Association’s 2012 Scaglione Prize in Germanic Studies and Honorable Mention for the Laura Shannon Prize for Contemporary European Studies in 2014. Frequently engaging with pressing contemporary issues, Yasemin Yildiz has also published essays on Islam, gender, migration, and minority discourses. Her research has received support from organizations such as the American Association of University Women, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the British Council. Together with her co-author Michael Rothberg, she is currently completing a book on Turkish-German writers’, artists’, and activists’ innovative memory work related to the Holocaust and National Socialism.

Before joining the German and Comparative Literature Departments at UCLA, she held a tenured position at the University of Illinois and served as a Visiting Associate Professor of German at Harvard University. She frequently spends time in Berlin, whose diverse and lively cultural scene has provided much material and stimulus for her work.


Every year, the American-German Institute (AGI) awards the DAAD Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies in recognition of exceptional work in one of the Institute’s three major areas of research: Foreign & Domestic Policy Studies; Business & Economics; and Society, Culture & Politics. The central aim of this prize is to foster a new generation of American scholarship on Germany and encourage innovative contributions to the interdisciplinary scope of German Studies. This year’s prize is awarded in the field of Humanities. The Prize is presented at the Institute’s annual Global Leadership Award Dinner.