Our Guest: Terri Tomsky

Terri Tomsky

 © Ella Dreyfus


University of Alberta - Faculty Exchange
May 2022

Home university / Country
University of Alberta / Canada

Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies

Research areas
Postcolonial, cultural memory, and human rights literary studies

Guest of 
Ulla Ratheiser &
Christian Quendler

Institut für Anglistik &
Institut für Amerikastudie

Guest lecture
05.05.2022: “Cosmopolitanism: Past and Future”

 "Such exchanges help me see the world in a new way and have brought much needed respite and optimism after the last two years of uncertainty and anxiety."


I am visiting the University of Innsbruck because...

My home university in Canada, University of Alberta, offers a faculty teaching exchange. Personally, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the faculty and students in the Department of American Studies. While here, I am looking forward to participating in the AYA Spring Colloquium and Writing Workshop for Emerging Scholars in American Studies. Because of the pandemic, this visit was postponed for two years: it’s wonderful to finally be here!


Innsbruck for me is...

... a magical place: it’s a city that is nestled in the Alps and steeped in Habsburgian cosmopolitan history and so its space – in terms of both landscape and the city – possesses a unique kind of beauty. Not only that, but Innsbruck offers enthusiastic walkers a way to escape the city and all these walks are all close proximity: there are thousands of hikes through the Alpine meadows that offer solitude, beauty, a way to critically reflect upon life as well as appreciate the beauty of nature. I’ve been particularly amazed by the ubiquity of “alms” – the restaurant mountain huts – welcoming hikers with their excellent food and cold beers: this is truly a unique and privileged experience that reveals to this Canadian how cities can be designed to better facilitate health, sustainability, and harmony with nature.


At the University of Innsbruck I will...

I will give several lectures on research areas I work on, including Surveillance literature, the history of cosmopolitanism, and cultural mediations on Guantanamo, the US naval base prison in Cuba. I am especially interested to hear how these areas of study are understood outside of the North American context. I’ve been fortunate to have already participated in the AYA Spring Colloquium in early May and have heard a variety of graduate student research and learned much about their scholarly interests. I have been very impressed by the international outlook of these young scholars and their expansive intellectual curiosity. I very much hope our paths will cross again some time soon.

From Innsbruck I take home with me...

From Innsbruck I take home with me a sense of gratitude for the wonderful people who have facilitated my stay here and welcomed me so warmly. I also anticipate I will leave with a sense of inspiration as well as the opportunities afforded me, including building new friendships and solidarities with the scholars here. Such exchanges help me see the world in a new way and have brought much needed respite and optimism after the last two years of uncertainty and anxiety.

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