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Aleksandra Prica
Associate Professor of German Literature


I have studied German Literature and Theology at the University of Zürich in Switzerland and at the Humboldt University in Berlin. I received my Ph.D. degree in Medieval German Literature at the University of Zürich in 2010. Before spending two years on a postdoctoral grant at the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago I was a Senior Research Associate (Oberassistentin) of Medieval German Studies in the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Zürich. I joined the faculty of UNC in January 2016.

Intellectual Biography & Awards

My scholarship and teaching seek to merge two main academic interests and approaches to literature: on the one hand, my interest is historical and focuses on medieval and early modern literary texts and their cultural contexts. On the other, my perspective is theoretical and emphasizes the relationship between literature and philosophical and theoretical discourses, including theories of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I experiment with new ways of meaningfully relating aesthetics to the study of cultural practices, historical concepts and the philosophical examination of the human condition.

I have two published books. The first book entitled Heilsgeschichten: Untersuchungen zur mittelalterlichen Bibelauslegung zwischen Poetik und Exegese appeared in 2010 with the Swiss Chronos Press. In this study, I examine poetic strategies in medieval interpretations and retellings of the Bible. My second book Decay and Afterlife: Form, Time, and the Textuality of Ruins, 1100 to 1900 (University of Chicago Press, 2022) combines literary, philosophical, and historiographical works from Latin, Italian, French, German, and English sources. I address ruins as textual forms of extraordinary geographical and temporal breadth, intellectual variability and reflexivity, and unexpected aesthetic affinities. Through close readings of texts about disintegration and survival, I traverse eight hundred years of intellectual and literary history, from Seneca and Petrarch to Hegel, Goethe, and Georg Simmel.

I have co-edited a volume on the mediality of time and I am the co-editor of Pietas litterata: An International Yearbook for Religious Knowledge in German Literature of the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. My current book project is on speculations about the end times.

My research has been supported by the Swiss National Foundation and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

Recent Publications

Decay and Afterlife: Form, Time, and the Textuality of Ruins, 1100 to 1900Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022. 


“Limes-Gestalten. Über Zeit und Form in der Troja-Literatur,” in: Julia Weitbrech, Timo Reivekamp-Felber, eds.: Letzte Dinge. Deutungsmuster und Erzählformen des Umgangs mit Vergänglichkeit im Horizont heterochroner Zeitsemantiken. Encomia Deutsch IV. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (accepted and in preparation)

“Nüchterne Trunkenheit. Methodisch kontrollierte Erbauung auf amplifiziertem Fundament,” in: Susanne Köbele, Claudio Notz, eds: Die Versuchung der schönen Form, Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2019, 77-90.


“Lingering: Visions of Past and Future in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,” in: Christian Kiening and Martina Stercken (eds.): Temporality and Mediality in Late Medieval and Early Modern Culture. Turnhout: Brepols 2018, 229-254.


“Offenbarung,” in: Daniel Weidner (ed.), Handbuch Literatur und Religion, Stuttgart, Weimar: J.B. Metzler Verlag 2016.



imMittellalter“Das Stocken der Heilsgeschichte. Säkularisierungsdynamiken in der Literatur aus dem Umfeld des Deutschen Ordens,” in: Susanne Köbele, Bruno Quast (eds.), Literarische Säkularisierung im Mittelalter, Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2014, 329-356.


PhilosophischeKehrseiten“Ruine. Versuch über die philosophische Kehrseite bei Georg Simmel,” in: Natalie Pieper, Benno Wirz (eds.), Philosophische Kehrseiten. Eine andere Einleitung in die Philosophie, Freiburg/Br.: Verlag Karl Alber 2014, 273-297.


WiederkehrWiederkehr und Verheissung. Dynamiken der Medialität in der Zeitlichkeit. Zürich: Chronos Verlag 2011 (Medienwandel-Medienwechsel-Medienwissen 16); co-edited with Christian Kiening and Benno Wirz.


HeilsgeschichtenHeilsgeschichten. Untersuchungen zur mittelalterlichen Bibelauslegung zwischen Poetik und Exegese. Zürich: Chronos Verlag 2010 (Medienwandel-Medienwechsel-Medienwissen 8).


Frequently Taught Courses

  • GERM 303: Introduction to German Literature
  • GSLL 212: Game of Thrones and the Worlds of the European Middle Ages


Additional Information

For more about Dr. Prica, see her Curriculum Vitae.