Alexa Weik von Mossner – Principal Investigator

Alexa is Associate Professor of American Studies at the University of Klagenfurt. Her scholarly research explores American literature, film, and digital media from a cognitive perspective with a particular focus on affect and emotion. She has been a Visiting Researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2014-2015 with support from the Swiss National Science Foundation and a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at the University of Munich from 2010-2011. Her academic book publications include Cosmopolitan Minds: Literature, Emotion, and the Transnational Imagination (University of Texas Press, 2014) and Affective Ecologies: Empathy, Emotion and Environmental Narrative (Ohio State UP, 2017). She is the editor of Moving Environments: Affect, Emotion, Ecology, and Film (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2014) and the co-editor (with Sylvia Mayer) of The Anticipation of Catastrophe: Environmental Risk in North American Literature and Culture (Winter, 2014) and Ethnic American Literatures and Critical Race Narratology (with Marijana Mikić and Mario Grill, forthcoming from Routledge). She has also published widely in forums such as the African American Review, MELUS, Poetics Today, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Environmental Humanities, English Studies, Textual Practice and the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. For more information, go to her personal website.

Marijana Mikić — PhD Researcher

Marijana holds a PhD from the Department of English at the University of Klagenfurt (completed in 2022). Her dissertation, “Race, Space, and Emotion in Twenty-First-Century African American Literature,” explores how novels by African American writers as varied as Colson Whitehead, Brit Bennett, Percival Everett, and N.K. Jemisin interrogate individual emotional experience as closely bound up with the social production of both race and geography. With Alexa Weik von Mossner and Mario Grill, she is co-editor of Ethnic American Literatures and Critical Race Narratology (Routledge 2022), and with Mario Grill, she curated the blog series “How Reading Shapes Us” during her time on the project. Her scholarly articles have appeared in Journal of Narrative Theory, Anglia, Orbis Litterarum, and aspeers. An essay on strategic empathy and expanded intersectionality in African American literature since Toni Morrison’s Home, co-authored with Derek C. Maus, is forthcoming in The Bloomsbury Handbook to Toni Morrison (edited by Linda Wagner-Martin and Kelly Reames).

Mario Grill — PhD Researcher

Mario holds an M.A. in English from the University of Klagenfurt. His research interests revolve around cognitive approaches to Chicanx and Latinx literatures and cognitive narratology. As part of the Narrative Encounters team, he uses a cognitive approach to Chicanx literature, investigating how these novels invite readers to feel with their characters and take part in their transcultural journeys. With Alexa Weik von Mossner and Marijana Mikić, he is co-editor of Ethnic American Literatures and Critical Race Narratology (forthcoming from Routledge), and with Marijana Mikić, he curated the blog series “How Reading Shapes Us” during his time on the project. His article on Cerríe Moraga’s Native Country of the Heart was published in Prose Studies, and he is currently working on his dissertation, “Transgressing Borders: Chicanx Literatures, Emotion, Time, and Cognitive Ethnic Narratology” (WT), which is situated at the intersections of simulation theory, the study of emotional memory, and theoretical explorations of narrative time. In it, he explores how Chicanx texts (re)map narrative time and connect pasts and presents, showcasing how these ethnic “Others” within US society invite readers to feel with them in their transcultural journeys.


James J. Donahue

James J. Donahue is Associate Professor and Assistant Chair for the Department of English & Communication at SUNY Potsdam, where he teaches courses in Native American Literature, Speculative Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. His most recent books are Contemporary Native Fiction: Toward a Narrative Poetics of Survivance and the co-edited collection (with Jennifer Ho and Shaun Morgan) Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States.

Matthias Klestil

Matthias Klestil is Postdoc Assistant in American Studies at the University of Klagenfurt. He wrote his Ph.D. on nineteenth-century African American literature and was Bavarian Fellow at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. His first book, Environmental Knowledge, Race, and African American Literature, was published in 2022 by Palgrave Macmillan. His current research focuses on narrative theory, ecocriticism, and contemporary North American fiction and film.

Derek C. Maus

Derek C. Maus is Professor of English and Communication at the State University of New York at Potsdam, where he teaches numerous courses on contemporary literature from all over the world. He has published numerous books and articles, most of which have focused on the subject of satire. His full CV, samples of his work, and other scholarly information can be found here.