Elizabeth “Biz” Nijdam is an Assistant Professor in German Studies. She graduated from the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2017, after receiving her Masters in Germanic Studies from the University of Victoria in 2007. Her dissertation, “‘Drawing for me means communication’: Anke Feuchtenberger and German Art Comics after 1989,” traces East German artistic traditions, transnational feminist discourses, and the politics of German unification into the comics and graphic art of East German artist Anke Feuchtenberger.
Before coming to UBC, Biz was Visiting Assistant Professor in German Studies and Film & Media Studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. From 2017-2018, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Biz’s current book project, Panelled Pasts: History, Media and Memory in the German Graphic Novel (under contract with Ohio State University Press), examines how comics have become an important form for popular investigations of East German experience. Analyzing twelve graphic novels and webcomics thematizing life in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), this project evaluates how the comics medium negotiates the divide between history and memory at the intersection of text and image.
Biz’s research has been funded by a SSHRC doctoral grant along with numerous institutional grants and fellowships at the University of Michigan and the Swann Foundation Fellowship from the Library of Congress. She is a collaborator in numerous international comics projects, including the “Women in Comics in the Baltic Region: A Multidisciplinary Study of Feminist Comic Art” at Södertörn University in Stockholm, Sweden and the “Visualities of Gender in German-language Comics” at the University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria. Her recent publications include articles in The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, World Literature Today, International Journal of Comic Art, and ImageText, and chapters in the edited volume Class, Please Open Your Comics (2015) and the forthcoming book Comics of the New Europe: Intersections and Reflections with University of Leuven Press.
In addition to founding the University of Michigan’s first comics studies working group, the Transnational Comics Studies Workshop, Biz is also the Secretary for the Executive Committee of the International Comic Arts Forum and President of the Executive Board of the Comics Studies Society’s Graduate Student Caucus.
Having been raised in Vancouver, Biz is thrilled to be returning home to teach German language, film and comics at UBC!