Astrid Greve Kristensen: Research & CV

Strangers in a Strange Land. The Returns of Orphans in Czech Literature of the 2000’s.

Research Area 3 – Objects, Traces, Mapping: Everyday experience of spaces

Contact: astridgrevek(@)

The main objective of this project is to bring forth a new understanding of the orphan as a literary and cultural figure as it is presented in contemporary historical fiction. The focus lies on fiction that in particular tells the story of orphans in the Czech lands after 1945, encompassing the two dominating isms of the 20th century, Fascism and Socialism. I work with contemporary (post-2000) novels by authors such as Jáchym Topol, Radka Denemarková and Bianca Bellová, in addition to German W.G. Sebald. By comparing texts that differ significantly in their approach to representing trauma and loss, I believe the orphan narrative generates a variety of voices. My theoretical approach is of interdisciplinary scope, and combines both classical literary theory and narratology, memory studies and historical approaches to literature. I am in particular interested in questions of genre, archetypes and myths.



October 2020 – : Sorbonne University. PhD thesis in Literature, under the supervision of Clara Royer MCF, HDR.
Thesis: “Strangers in a Strange Land. The Returns of Orphans in German and Czech Literature of the 2000’s”.

Aug 2017 –May 2019: University of Oslo, Master in European languages: Russian, Polish, Czech, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian. Examples of subjects:Translation to and from a Slavic language. Czech text studies. Master’s thesis on Czech modern literature.

Aug 2015 –June 2017: University of Oslo, Bachelor in European languages: Polish, Czech, Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian

Aug 2012-December 2015: University of Oslo, Bachelor in Comparative Literature.

Aug 2009 –June 2011: Oslo By Steinerskole (High School), Special subjects: Literature and English.

Summer Schools: 

2022 – Roosta, Estonia. “Translating Memories in Literature, Film, Museums, and Monuments’, an Eastern European Memory Studies Summer School”. Presentation: “Returns and Returnees: Memory Quests”

2021 – Prague, Czech Republic, 4EU+ summer school of Memory studies: “Borderlands of Memory: Nationalism, Religion and Violence in Europe”

2018 – Olomouc, Czech Republic (Letní škola slovanských studií (LŠSS), Palacký Univerzita

2016 – Brno, Czech Republic (Letní škola slovanských (bohemistických) studií, Masarykova Univerzita) 

2014 – Prague, Czech Republic (Letní škola slovanských studií, Karlova Univerzita)

Conferences / Workshops: 

May 2022: CEFRES PhD workshop, “Household, Kinship, Intimacy: The Reconfiguration of Living Together”. Presentation: “The Bosom of the House: Orphans’ Homes in Post-war Fiction”.

May 2021: “Dilemmas of Modernity: 200 Years of Central European Cultures and Societies.” Online Conference organized by College for Central European Studies, 4EU+ Center for French Cultural and Francophone Studies, University of Warsaw. Conference paper: “Ilja Plays Civil War: The Layered Pasts of Kloktat dehet Through the Eyes of an Orphan”.

April 2021: “The Past in the Present: the Dynamics of Remembrance”. Interdisciplinary Online PhD Seminar. University of Warsaw. Organized by 4EU+


June-Nov 2022: 5000 euro grant by the 4EU+ alliance through Charles University to organize a workshop for young researchers in Prague in the fall of 2022 with Rose Smith (Charles University), Emina Zoletic (Warsaw University). Title: “Truth and Untruth: Transmissions of Memories of War”.  

Jan-June 2022: Organization committee for Journée d’étude at Sorbonne University: “Perspectives artistiques et littéraires sur les périphéries : Stratégies de subversion et d’émancipation des périphéries et des marges face aux centres”