Anna Zimmer

Associate Professor, German

Began teaching at NMU in 2015

Anna Zimmer received her B.A. from Carleton College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Georgetown University.  She taught at Georgetown, Hood College, and Emory University before joining the Department of Languages, Literatures and International Studies at Northern in August 2015.  Dr. Zimmer enjoys teaching beginning, intermediate, and advanced undergraduate learners of German.  Whether a first semester course or an upper-level class, all of Dr. Zimmer’s courses are informed by Second Language Acquisition research and assist students in becoming competent and culturally literate users of German through a focus on language, culture, and politics at all levels.  She also enjoys teaching interdisciplinary courses in English, especially in the International Studies and Honors Programs.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Zimmer maintains an active research agenda.  She has been awarded several grants by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to study and conduct research at the Technische Universität Dresden and the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. 

While in Dresden, Dr. Zimmer explored one of her main research interests: the intersection between history and stories (Geschichte und Geschichten) and analyzed novels that grapple with memories of the Allied bombing of Germany during World War II.  Her time in Berlin prompted a shift away from the air war and its literary representations and a turn toward the portrayal of late twentieth and early twenty-first century violent conflicts in contemporary literature.  Her research examines the forms and functions of memory—especially of the Second World War—as presented in German-language novels that prominently figure violent conflicts and wars since 1990, including the Rwandan civil war, the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the NATO mission in Kosovo, 9/11, and the Iraq War.  Informed by the interdisciplinary fields of migration studies and memory studies, her research illustrates how multi-perspectival literary texts utilize the past not only as a lens through which more recent conflicts are understood, but also to confront current social issues, ranging from the deployment of troops to the tightening of immigration law.  Currently, Dr. Zimmer is expanding upon her research on German 9/11 novels and engaging in comparative studies with American 9/11 novels.  She is also continuing her interdisciplinary research on narratives about recent violent conflicts and wars, focusing on the representation of asylum seekers. 

Her recent publications include:

“Putting the Past and Present on Trial: Migration and Memory in Ludwig Laher’s Documentary Novel, Verfahren.” The Eastern European Turn in Contemporary German-Language Literature. Spec. issue of German Life & Letters 68.2 (2015): 190-210.

“Abschied von typischen 9/11 (Satz-)Zeichen. Multidirektionale Erinnerungen aus New York und Bagdad in Thomas Lehrs September. Fata Morgana.” Abschied von 9/11? – Distanznahmen zur Katastrophe. Hg. Stephan Packard und Ursula Hennigfeld. Frank & Timme, 2013. 87-107.

Dr. Zimmer has also served as the Assistant Director of the Honors Program at NMU since October 2019.  For more information, please visit

In her free time, Dr. Zimmer enjoys yoga, long walks and hikes with her husband and dog, visiting art museums, sending snail mail, and cooking for friends and students.

Anna portrait