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Current Visiting Scholars

Dani Niesta Kayser

Daniela Niesta Kayser


University of Potsdam

Daniela Niesta Kayser will spend her visiting scholar year working on one primary project while combining two related research areas: She will write a book that addresses (a) the effects of threats to self from demographic change and (b) the predictors of moral courage necessary to overcome ostracism with particular application to migration. Niesta Kayser’s past and present work analyzes universal sources of threat to a person’s self, such as social exclusion, threat to freedom, and mortality salience. Migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable to these threats given their status as newcomers to a system paired with a lack of social and legal status. Her research plan interweaves threats induced to both the newcomers and the hosts in a migration society with interventions that facilitate integration. Moreover, this line of research will be used as a scientific tool from which a more comprehensive model of moral courage may evolve in the face of norm violations in different situational contexts.

Niesta Kayser is a researcher and lecturer in psychology at the University of Potsdam, Germany, whose research falls at the intersection between threat to self, moral conduct in situations of norm violations, interpersonal relationships, and educational development. Currently, she is responsible for methods teaching and advising in the education science doctoral program at the University of Potsdam. She is also the principal investigator in a German Science Foundation project examining approach and avoidance motives in interpersonal relationships impacted by the color red. Niesta Kayser is the co-organizer of a 2018 conference for the scientific exchange and development of refugee teacher programs on a national and international level.

For more information see Niesta Kayser’s Research Gate website:

Cecile Roudeau

Cecile Roudeau


Paris Diderot University

Cécile Roudeau is currently working on a book project titled Beyond Stateless Literature: Practices of Democratic Power in Nineteenth-Century US Letters. This book follows her essay, written in French, on the “Fictions of the Commons in Nineteenth-century US Literature,” which she will be handing over to her editor this fall.

Roudeau started her career as a specialist of New England regionalism and women’s writing. Her first book (Presses Universitaires Paris Sorbonne, 2012) revisits the notion of “place” in New England regionalist writing, and argues that “taking place” was as much a political and epistemic claim as a spatial experience. Her new project builds on a growing body of empirical and theoretical work on the state (in sociology, political science, and history) that reconsiders the articulation between democracy and the state away from the presumptive opposition between the two. Roudeau’s project builds on this revisionist trend and proposes that contra the interpretations of early to mid-nineteenth century American literature as a literature against the state, the state was not avoided at all by nineteenth-century writers and critics. Building on a pragmatic methodology, the book is not so much interested in the imaginary of statecraft as in forms of (literary) practice. Because it engages female writers alongside male canonical writers, it will extend the ongoing research on the democratic state into realms such as domesticity and gender politics.

Roudeau is a former student of the Lycée Louis le Grand, the École normale supérieure rue d’Ulm, and received her PhD from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne. She previously spent a fellowship year and Clare College, Cambridge and Princeton University. She is currently professor of American literature at Université Paris Diderot, France.