People / Faculty

Lila Balint

Lilla Balint

Assistant Professor of German

Research Areas

Contemporary German Literature and Media; Theories of the Contemporary; Aesthetics and Politics; Transnationalism and Translation; Digital Writing; European Jewish Literatures; Literary and Cultural Theory; Theories of the Novel

5327 Dwinelle

Recent courses

Cold War Stories; Aesthetics of the Contemporary; Literature in the Digital Age; Self, Other, Society: German Literature from the 18th Century to the Contemporary (Hamilton College); The Art of Translation (Vanderbilt University); The Contemporary German Novel (Vanderbilt University)


Professor Balint received her Ph.D. in German Studies from Stanford University in 2014, where she was recipient of the Ric Weiland Graduate Student Fellowship and Stanford’s Centennial Teaching Award (2012). In the final year of her graduate studies, Balint was a Geballe Dissertation Prize Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. Before returning to California to join UC Berkeley, she held appointments at Vanderbilt University and Hamilton College. At Vanderbilt, she served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in German and also directed Vanderbilt University’s Summer-in-Berlin Program. At Hamilton College, Balint received the Teaching Award for Excellence in Pedagogy (2018).

Since 2018, Balint is Assistant Professor of German in the Department of German at University of California, Berkeley. She specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century German literature, culture, and intellectual history in its broader comparative contexts. At UC Berkeley, she is affiliated with the Institute for European Studies and the Jewish Studies Program.

Currently, she is at work on a book manuscript, “Ruins of Utopia: History, Memory, and the Novel after 1989,” that exposes the afterlife of socialism in contemporary literature. This comparative and multilingual study, puts authors from Central Europe in dialogue to investigate how historical fiction after 1989 reconstructs the Cold War East. Located at the intersections of narrative poetics, cultural history, and memory studies, the book analyzes how novelists from diverse linguistic and cultural contexts re-envision Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Her other main research project is an exploration of contemporary work through its artistic renderings, both in analogue and digital formats. Examining the works of Judith Hermann, Kathrin Röggla, Harun Farocki, Stefanie Sargnagel, and Rainald Goetz, among others, alongside theoretical explorations of labor in the new economy, the project zooms in on concepts such as productivity, exhaustion, care, and creativity. Part of this project was the international conference “Arbeit 2000,” which Balint co-organized at the Alfried-Krupp-Wissenschaftskolleg Greifswald (with Heide Volkening).

Selected publications

“Ruins of Utopia: History, Memory, and the Novel after 1989” [book manuscript in progress]

“Europe, 1914: Comparatism and Georg Lukács’s Theory of the Novel” [article in progress]

“’Dann bleibt mir noch eine Stunde, in der ich es nicht schaffe irgend etwas Sinnvolles zu tun, und ich mache den Fernseher an’: Konzeptionen des medialen Selbst bei Wolfgang Herrndorf,“ Wolfgang Herrndorf, ed. Matthias Lorenz (forthcoming in 2018).

“Transnational Strategies and Jewish Writing: Péter Nádas’s Parallel Stories as a European Novel,” Yearbook for European Jewish Literature Studies, Volume 4 (forthcoming in 2018).

“Sickness unto Death in the Age of 24/7: Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Arbeit und Struktur,” On 24/7: Neoliberalism and the Undoing of Time, special issue of Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature, eds. Necia Chronister and Lutz Koepnick, Volume 40.2 (2016).

“‘Laßt uns doch mal wieder einen Nazi verspeisen’: Unverdaute deutsch-jüdische Geschichte bei Barbara Honigmann” (‘Let’s Devour a Nazi Again!’: Indigested German-Jewish History in Barbara Honigmann’s Bilder von A.), Ordre et désordre à table, Germanica, No. 57 (2015).

“Weder Fakt noch Fiktion: Eine Grauzone. Zur Epistemologie des Erinnerns bei Barbara Honigmann” (Neither Fact Nor Fiction: A Gray Zone. The Epistemology of Remembrance in Barbara Honigmann’s Fiction), Kurz hinter der Wahrheit und dicht neben der Lüge: Zum Werk Barbara Honigmanns, eds. Yfaat Weiss and Amir Eshel, Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2013.

“Auf der Suche nach dem verlorenen Raum—Das relativistische Raumkonzept und die Erzähltheorie” (In Search of Lost Space—Relativistic Notions of Space and Narrative Theory), Gelebte Milieus und virtuelle Räume: Der Raum in der Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft, ed. Klára Berzeviczy et al, Leipzig: Frank und Timme Verlag, 2009.