Yasemin Yildiz is Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature at UCLA. Previously, she held a tenured position in German at the University of Illinois and served as a Visiting Associate Professor of German at Harvard University. In 2016, she received the DAAD Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in German and European Studies, awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service and the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

Prof. Yildiz’s book, Beyond the Mother Tongue: The Postmonolingual Condition (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012) won the MLA’s Scaglione Prize in Germanic Languages and Literatures in 2012 and received Honorable Mention for the Laura Shannon Prize for Contemporary European Studies in 2014. Beyond the Mother Tongue argues that the multilingual practices in literature, arts, and everyday life that have increasingly come into public and scholarly view since the 1990s cannot be understood without recognition of monolingualism as a historically specific, shaping force that continues to frame and impact those practices to this day. The particular chapters investigate the investments in, engagements with, and attempted resistances to the monolingual paradigm in the multilingual writings of authors ranging from Kafka and Adorno to Yoko Tawada, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, and Feridun Zaimoglu. Through these readings, Beyond the Mother Tongue suggests that the dimensions of gender, kinship, and affect encoded in the “mother tongue” are crucial to the persistence of monolingualism and the challenge of multilingualism.

Currently, Prof. Yildiz is working on the book project Citizens of MemoryMigrant Archives of Holocaust Remembrance, co-authored with Michael Rothberg. This book in progress explores the effect of transnational migration on cultural memory. More specifically, Citizens of Memory assembles and analyzes a wide range of memory work by Germany-based immigrant writers, artists, and activists relating to National Socialism, the Holocaust, and World War II. The interventions of the project lie in offering a new (or newly visible) archive of materials, a recalibrated account of postwar Germany that brings together memory discourses and migration history, and a conceptual rethinking of the relationship of memory and migration more generally. Funding for this project has been provided by the ACLS.


  • Ph.D. in German Studies from Cornell University
  • M.A. in German Literature from the Universität Hamburg
  • Completed graduate coursework in Comparative Literature at the City University of New York on a Fulbright scholarship and attended the School for Criticism and Theory in Ithaca, NY


Prof. Yildiz’s research focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first century literature and culture, with interests in literary multilingualism and translation, migration and transnational studies, minority discourses (especially Turkish-German and German-Jewish), memory studies, gender studies, and Holocaust studies.


Featured Works

  • Tales That Touch book cover
    Tales That Touch
    Migration, Translation, and Temporality in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century German Literature and Culture
    De Gruyter, September 20, 2022
  • Beyond the Mother Tongue book cover
    Beyond the Mother Tongue
    The Postmonolingual Condition
    Modern Language Initiative, December 1, 2013

Field of Interest

Literary multilingualism, migration, transnationalism, minority discourse

Selected Publications


“Aras Ören’s What Does Niyazi Want in Naunyn Street. A Partial Translation with a Translator’s Introduction.” Monatshefte 112.4 (Winter 2020). 659-674.

“The Letter in the Suitcase” by Menekşe Toprak. Translation from Turkish with a Translator’s Introduction. Massachusetts Review (Fall 2017). 429-441.

Selected Essays

“Reading Racialization: Yadé Kara’s Selam Berlin.” German Studies Review 46.1 (February 2023, forthcoming).

“Migrant Spaces.” Routledge Handbook of Memory Activism. Ed. by Yifat Gutman and Jenny Wüstenberg. New York/ London: Routledge, 2023 (in press).

Tales that Touch: Migration, Translation, and Temporality in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century German Literature and Culture. Ed. with Bettina Brandt. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2022.

“Introduction: Tales that Touch.” With Bettina Brandt. Tales that Touch: Migration, Translation, and Temporality in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century German Literature and Culture. Ed. With Bettina Brandt. Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2022. 1-22.

“Hexen gegen Rassismus: Über die ‘Zeit, wo du zum einen die politische Auseinandersetzung hattest, zum anderen aber auch Raum für Ästhetik, Körper und Musik’.” [Witches Against Racism: About the ‘Time When You Had Political Engagement but Also Space for Aesthetics, the Body, and Music.’] Migrantischer Feminismus in der Frauen:bewegung in Deutschland (1985-2000) [Migrant Feminism in the Women’s* Movement in Germany (1985-2000)]. Ed. by Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez and Pinar Tuzcu. Münster: edition assemblage, 2021, 231-248.

“Berlin as a Migratory Setting.” The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Berlin. Ed. by Andrew Webber. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 206-226.

“Wordforce: Ethnicized Gender and Literary Style in Kanak Sprak and Koppstoff.” Feridun Zaimoglu. Ed. by Tom Cheesman and Karin E. Yesilada. Contemporary German Writers and Filmmakers Series. Bern: Peter Lang, 2012. 71-91.

“Memory Citizenship: Migrant Archives of Holocaust Remembrance in Contemporary Germany.” With Michael Rothberg. Parallax. Special Issue: “Transcultural Memory” 17.4 (2011): 32-48.

“Governing European Subjects: Tolerance and Guilt in the Discourse of ‘Muslim Women’” Cultural Critique 77.1 (2011): 70-101.

“Turkish Girls, Allah’s Daughters, and the Contemporary German Subject: Itinerary of a Figure.” German Life and Letters 62.3 (2009): 465-481.

“Immer noch keine Adresse in Deutschland? Adressierung als politische Strategie.” Kritik des Okzidentalismus: Transdisziplinäre Beiträge zu (Neo-)Orientalismus und Geschlecht. [Still no Address in Germany? Forms of Address as Political Strategy. Critique of Occidentalism: Transdisciplinary Contributions on (Neo-)Orientalism and Gender] Ed. by Gabriele Dietze, Claudia Brunner, and Edith Wenzel. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2009, 83-99.