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Meet Visiting Assistant Professor Lydia Tang

Lydia Tang Moin, moin. Meet Lydia B. Tang, whose educational and professional journey has taken her from her hometown, Bremen, in the north of Germany to Göttingen, Berkeley, New York, Northfield (MN), and finally Nashville!

After graduating from the University of Göttingen (Germany) with an M.A. in German Literature and Media Studies, Lydia was keen on bringing these two disciplines together in her next project. The visual culture approach she was seeking led her to NYU’s Ph.D. program and inspired her dissertation “Die Inszenierung der Einbildungskraft,” in which she explores the role of imagination in eighteenth-century German drama and dramaturgy. In hindsight, the time spent in theaters on and off Broadway, in New York’s independent cinemas, and in the nosebleed seats at the Met Opera was just as important to her understanding of performativity and visuality as the long nights spent typing away in NYU’s Bobst Library.

 It was also in New York that Lydia discovered her calling for teaching. Encouraged by a diverse and highly motivated student body, excellent mentors, and two teaching awards, she was thrilled to land her first faculty position at a liberal arts college following her successful defense in 2013. At Carleton, Lydia coordinated the German language program and co-directed the department’s off-campus studies program in Berlin. She also designed and taught courses on topics such as crime stories, fairy tales, German postwar film, Berlin’s theater scene, and eighteenth and nineteenth-century German women writers.

After three years in Minnesota, Lydia was ready to trade her snowshoes for cowboy boots last August. In her new position as Visiting Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt, she currently splits her time between graduate and undergraduate classrooms and serves as the Department’s Delta Phi Alpha coordinator. She particularly enjoys being part of Vanderbilt’s vibrant research community. In addition to putting the finishing touches on her book manuscript, one of her recent talks looked beyond the Enlightenment stage to explore contemporary theatrical responses to the European migrant crisis. A second project, on the connection between the emerging discipline of pedagogy and German literature around 1800, inspired her current class: The Invention of Childhood (GER 4560). When she is not in her office in Furman 130, you may find her catching a depressing European movie in the Belcourt Theatre, following up on foodie recommendations in a cozy Germantown restaurant, or enjoying Nashville’s balmy temperatures in Centennial Park. 

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