Sonja R. Fritzsche

(she, sie/her, ihr)
(517) 353-8750

301 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyLinguistics, Languages, and CulturesAcademic Personnel and AdministrationDeans Administration

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies and Administration
Professor of German Studies


ORCID: 0000-0003-4907-1961

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D., University of MinnesotaGermanic Studies (2001)
M.A., University of California, Los Angeles – Modern European History (1995)
B.A., Indiana University (1992)

Through my position of Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Administration in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University where I have served since January 1, 2024, I am able to pursue highly meaningful, values-driven work together with dedicated colleagues. In this new role, I oversee academic affairs, Integrative Studies in the Arts & Humanities, and the Excel Network in the College as well as continue to support the Dean in non-tenure stream promotion and tenure system reappointment, promotion, and tenure review. I continue to share knowledge and expand opportunities via the Culture of Care initiative and Charting Pathways to Intellectual Leadership (CPIL) model. In my most recent Academic Personnel and Administration position (2017-2023) in the College, I focused on equitable and inclusive searches and faculty review procedures, College-wide faculty development and leadership initiatives that employ “transformative listening” (ADFL Bulletin 2022), creating habits of diversity, equity, and inclusion across the College, and non-tenure stream mentoring and career pathways.

A Professor of German Studies, my current critical health humanities project is in the area of comparative German/US autism and disability studies entitled “White, abled fragility: Affect in German Caregiver Storytelling On and Off the Autism Spectrum.” A large part of my work focuses on German and Central/Eastern European literary history and film in the area of utopian/dystopian studies and comparative science fiction of the Cold War and related topics, and has appeared in six languages (See my website and c.v.) Resulting publications include: The Routledge Companion to Gender and Science Fiction (2023) with Lisa Yaszek, Keren Omry, and Wendy Gay Peterson, Science Fiction Circuits of the South and East (2018) with Anindita Banerjee, The Liverpool Companion to World Science Fiction Film (2014, 2021 pbk./e-book), and the open access Science Fiction Literature in East Germany (2006). I have also published a number of articles, book chapters, and public online scholarship.

A primary goal of my scholarly career has been to foster greater awareness of science fiction beyond Anglo-American contexts (global SF) and to support young scholars doing work on the SF in languages other than English. Consequently, I place great value on mentorship and stewardship. To this end, I served as President of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL) in 2015, as Vice President of the Science Fiction Research Association (2019-2021), and also now with the Coalition of Women in German (2023-2025). I am a Fulbright and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) grant recipient. Consider submitting a proposal to publish in the book series that I co-edit with Gerry Canavan (Marquette) – World Science Fiction Studies with Peter Lang Oxford.

Currently, I serve as co-PI with the Big Ten Academic Alliance Less Commonly Taught and Indigenous Languages Partnership grant (PI: Christopher P. Long, 2019-2024) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Among other aspects, this iteration of the grant focuses on supporting Anishnaabemowin institution in communities and institutions as well as creating cross-institutional partnerships to sustain and grow LCTL instruction as central to the DEI mission of MSU and higher education. 

Finally – remember: practice transformative change to establish the “everyday utopia” (Davina Cooper 2013) and go through life with the radical humility (2022), kindness, generosity (Fitzpatrick 2019, 2023), and grace (Kyodo Williams 2016) that one gets from a life spent tandem cycling many, many miles.


In Process. Current co-authored book project. White, Abled Fragility: Affect in German Caregiver Storytelling On and Off the Autism Spectrum.


Melissa Elliot and Sonja Fritzsche. “The East German Disco Film: An Intermedial Approach to the GDR’s Imagined (Musical) Futures.” German Studies Review vol. 46, no. 2, May 2023, pp. 189-206.

Sonja Fritzsche. “Transformative Listening For Chairs: Navigating Difficult Conversations To Bring About Change.” ADFL Bulletin vol. 47, no. 1, December 2022, pp. 96-106.

Sonja Fritzsche, Bill Hart-Davidson and Christopher P. Long. “Charting Pathways of Intellectual Leadership. An Initiative for Transformational Institutional Change.” Change. The Magazine of Higher Learning May/June 2022. 19-27.

Sonja Fritzsche, Luca Giupponi, Emily Heidrich Uebel, Felix Kronenberg, Christopher P. Long, and Koen Van Gorp. “Languages as Drivers of Institutional Diversity: The Case of Less Commonly Taught Languages.” The Language Educator Special Issue “Anti-Racism in the World Language Classroom.” vol 17, no. 1,Winter 2022, pp. 45-47.

Sonja Fritzsche. “Fascist Drag: Race, Laibach, and Playing Nazi in the Iron Sky Universe.” Science Fiction Film and Television vol. 15, no. 1, 2022, pp. 21-39. Project MUSE

Invited Introduction. Sonja Fritzsche. “German SF in Translation.” for Out of this World: Speculative Fiction in Translation from the Cold War to the New Millennium. By Rachel S. Cordasco. U of Illinois Press, 2021. 81-85.

Cara Cilano, Sonja Fritzsche, Bill Hart-Davidson, and Christopher P. Long. “Staying with the Trouble – Designing a Values-enacted Academy.” London School of Economics Social Impact Blog, April 23, 2020.

(Invited) March-Russell, Paul, Sonja Fritzsche, Paul Kincaid, Adam Roberts. “Whose History is it Anyway?” Roundtable on The Cambridge History of Science Fiction (2019). Foundation. The International Review of Science Fiction. 137, vol. 49, no. 3, Winter 2020, pp. 85-100.

See above Portfolio for Book publications. See CV for full list of publications.

University News

College of Arts & Letters Part of National Blueprint for Advancing College Equity and Excellence
Published January 13, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
As a member of the Boyer 2030 Commission, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English at Michigan State University, participated in the development of a national…Read now »
Planning for the Future of Work
Published June 10, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
green trees with a brown brick tower in the background and a blue sky
Dear College of Arts & Letters Staff and Faculty, With intention and care, we in the College of Arts & Letters (CAL) are beginning to emerge from what has been a somber and…Read now »
Return to Campus Pre-Planning
Published May 21, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
Brown brick building with blue sky and clouds in the background and trees with changing fall leaves in front
Dear College of Arts & Letters Staff and Faculty, As you have read recently in President Stanley’s e-mail of May 17 “Bringing More Employees Back to Campus,” the state of Michigan as…Read now »
Expectations of Another COVID Summer
Published May 5, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
brick building with a blue sky surrounded by trees
Dear College of Arts & Letters Staff and Faculty, As we embark upon yet another summer in the shadow of COVID-19, we invite you to pause and reflect on the past year. The work we have done…Read now »
An Open Letter to Our MSU Asian Pacific Islander Desi American and Asian Communities
Published March 19, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
photo of an orange brick building with a clock tower in front of a cloudy sky and green trees
Dear College of Arts & Letters Students, Staff, and Faculty We stand in solidarity with our Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) and Asian communities in the wake of the racist and…Read now »
Culture of Care in COVID-19
Published September 14, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
red brick bell tower in the center of a plaza with flowers blooming and trees surrounding
In uncertain times, what we value most helps to guide us. Our top priority remains the health and safety of all members of the College of Arts & Letters. For two years, faculty and staff…Read now »
A Message of Reassurance
Published May 26, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
photo of an orange brick building with a clock tower in front of a cloudy sky and green trees as well as a light blue lantern lamppost to the left
Dear Colleagues, As the 2020 Spring semester has come to a close, we want to thank you for the hard work required to shift to remote teaching, and also to acknowledge the myriad of other…Read now »
Less Commonly Taught and Indigenous Languages the Focus of $2.5 Million Grant
Published July 22, 2019 in College of Arts & Letters
The word "Language" is highlighted in pink
Michigan State University was awarded a four-year, $2.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support further development in the research and teaching of less commonly…Read now »
Podcast: Faculty Mentorship at MSU
Published May 1, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
Microphone with Michigan State University mug sitting on table
On the latest episode of The Liberal Arts Endeavor, a podcast by the Michigan State University’s College of Arts & Letters, host Dean Christopher P. Long discusses the culture of care for…Read now »
Dear MSU, Remember The Survivors
Published February 7, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
msu rock painted white with teal "thank you" and heart and black signatures
By Sonja Fritzsche on February 7, 2018 MSU Rock painted with the names of the survivors.  Since August 2017, I have been an Associate Dean at Michigan State University. For months, I have…Read now »
Interim Chair of LingLang Appointed
Published March 6, 2017 in College of Arts & Letters
Man with short hair and glasses in a green polo against a brown background smiling at the camera
Professor Jason Merrill has been appointed Interim Chair of the Department of Linguistics & Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages. The 12-month appointment is effective August…Read now »
Fritzsche Appointed Associate Dean for Faculty and Administration
Published December 15, 2016 in College of Arts & Letters
woman with short hair wearing a white shirt with a blue scarf
Sonja Fritzsche, Professor of German and Chair of MSU’s Department of Linguistics and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages, has been appointed Associate Dean for Faculty and…Read now »
$300K Faculty Summer Fellowship Program Launched by College of Arts & Letters
Published February 9, 2016 in College of Arts & Letters
msu red cedar river
The College of Arts & Letters (CAL) at Michigan State University has announced the creation of its Faculty Summer Fellowship Program with a commitment of $300,000 over summer 2016 to pilot the…Read now »