Dr Cecilia Novero

Cecilia Novero has a doctoral degree in German Studies from the University of Chicago (USA). After positions held at the University of Michigan, Vassar College and Penn State University (UP), she joined the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of Otago (NZ) in July 2008. Her book entitled Antidiets of the Avant-Garde: From Futurist Cooking to Eat Art (UMP 2010) examines the temporal relations between the historical Avant-garde and the Neo-Avant-Garde through an analysis of food incorporation and consumption. She has published scholarly articles on Dada, the cultural history of food, Viennese Actionism, artists Daniel Spoerri and Antoni Miralda, travel writing, and German and European film. Cecilia's research and teaching interests encompass aesthetics and critical theory, European cinema, travel literature, the former GDR, gender theories, and, currently, "animal studies". Cecilia considers the ways animals have been represented in the visual arts, including but not limited to cinema, and literature. She explores questions related to anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism as these return in images and texts from the 19th century to the present. Her main concern is first to disclose the limitations of human ways of seeing and looking in art and film, and, second, to point to works in which attempts are made to grapple with these very same limitations and, consequently --and foremost--, with canonical regimes of vision. Her research is informed by a wide array of theories, some already explored in relation to her previous research on the culinary in art, and some that stem more explicitly in the current debates about “posthumanism.”  Cecilia has already contributed and continues to contribute oral and published work on animals and Avant-Garde art, German film and animals, animals and feminist literature, both in NZ and internationally. In 2011-2012, she will present papers devoted to the afore-mentioned topics at the 4th Biennial Australian Animal Studies Group Conference (Brisbane), at the German Studies Association of Australia (Brisbane) and at the Modern Language Association Meeting (Seattle). Cecilia is happy to supervise theses dealing with representations of and theories on animals in literature, art and film.



“Daniel Spoerri’s Carnival of Animals (1995)” in Gorgeous Beasts: Animal Bodies in Historical Perspective, edited by Joan Landes, Paula Young and Paul Youngquist (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2012).


Antidiets of the Avant-garde: From Futurist Cooking to Eat Art (Minneapolis and London: UMP, 2010) is a cross-disciplinary analysis of the interrelationships in 20th century Europe among Avant-garde art and literature, consumption & consumerism, and Critical Theory. I argue that the scholarship on the Avant-garde —in both literature and art—has neglected the important function played by food and incorporation within it:  food used, in various works, both metaphorically and materially, i.e., as the material of art. The study brings together three intellectual currents:  the visual arts (theories of the Avant-garde and performance arts in particular, for example Yve Alain Bois, Didi Huberman, Benjamin Buchloh and Hal Foster); philosophical and historical approaches to food consumption and aesthetics (as in the work of Allen S. Weiss, Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson and Michel Onfray); and critical theory in a broad sense (from Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno via Roland Barthes to Perniola and Agamben) See: http://www.upress.umn.edu/Books/N/novero_antidiets.html.

Articles in Refereed Journals

“Painful Painting and Brutal Ecstasy: Brus and Muehl’s Material Actions,” seminar 43:4 (November 2007), 453-468.

“Class and Gender Anxieties in Weimar Nutritional Discourse: Max Rubner’s Volksernährung,” The Journal of Popular Culture 40:1 (January 2007): 109-146.

“Nouvelle Cuisine Meets the German Cinema: Bella Martha’s Recipe for Contemporary Film,” Food and Foodways 12:1 (January – March 2004): 27-52.

“Dada-Diets: Dysfunctional Physiologies of Devouring,” seminar 37:1 (February 2001): 1-20. 

“Stories of Food: German Nutritional Texts and Cookbooks between the Wars,” Journal of Popular Culture 34:3 (Winter 2000) 163-181.

“«Baratto» e l'affermazione passiva del pudore” Romance Languages Annual II (1992): 314-318 (double-columned).

Contributions to Art Catalogs, Chapters in Edited Volumes and Other Publications

“Miralda: Turning the Tables” in De Gustibus Non Disputandum: Miralda, Catalog of Exhibition at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 26 May – 27 September 2010 (Madrid: La Fabrica, 2010): 59-70.

Interview with Nicole Caruth on Antidiets of Avant-Garde Art21 published on 2nd December 2009: np.

“Christian Petzold’s Yella and the Phantoms of Late Capitalism” in Proceedings of the Film & History 2008 Biennial Conference, CD-ROM, edited by Cynthia J. Miller and Loren P.Q. Baybrook (Oshkosh, Wisconsin: Center for the Study of Film and History 2009). 

“Contemporary German Journeys to Italy” in Issues in Travel Writing: Empire, Spectacle, and Displacement, ed. K. Siegel (New York: Peter Lang 2002) 67-84.

“Daniel Spoerri’s ‘Invention of Tradition’: Symi and Eat Art,” article solicited for Daniel Spoerri presents Eat Art. Catalog of the exhibition at Jeu de Paume, curated by Daniel Abadie. Paris April 29-June 5th, 2002: 51-57. [In French] 

“Daniel Spoerri’s ‘Invention of Tradition’: Symi and Eat Art,” article solicited for Daniel Spoerri presents Eat Art  Catalog of the exhibition at Aktionsforum Praterinsel curated by Elizabeth Hartung (Munich, 2001): 64-75. [In German]

“Food,” Encyclopedia of Contemporary German Culture, ed. John Sanford (London: Routledge, 1999): 271-273.
“Feminisms, German,” The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature, eds. Friederike Eigler and Susanne Kord (Washington: Greenwood Press, 1995): 155-157. 

"Struck, Karin,” The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature (Washington: Greenwood Press, 1995): 496-498.

“Spie post-moderne:  Gli intellettuali tedeschi e la Stasi: L'affare Anderson,” Linea D'Ombra 75  (1992):33.

“Interviews with artists Gilberto Zorio and Mainolfi Dopodomani” 1 (1988), no page numbers.


 “Benjamin’s Ghosts. Interventions in Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory. Edited by Gerhard Richter,” review-article CLS 41.2 (Spring 2004): 296-303.

Frauen Kochen. Edited by Martian Kaller-Dietrich and Annemarie Schweighofer,” review-article in Food and Foodways 11.4 (October – December 2003): 250-255.

Walter Benjamin and the Corpus of Autobiography by Gerhard Richter,” seminar 39:4 (November 2003): 368-370.

Benjamin Heute: Großstadtdiskurs, Postkolonialität und Flanerie by Rolf Goebel,” review-article in German Quarterly 76.2 (Spring 2003): 233-237.

Neo-Avantgarde and Culture Industry: Essays on European and American Art from 1955 to 1975 by Benjamin Buchloh,” review-article in Canadian Review of Comparative Literature 28:4 (2001): 539-544. (It came out in 2004, but appears as 2001 due to backlog]

Die Dichterin und das schelmische Erhabene. Else Lasker-Schulers Die Naechte Tino von Bagdads by Vivian Liska,” Colloquia Germanica  33.4 (2000): 402-404.

Primo Levi: Tragedy of an Optimist by Myriam Anissimov,” review-article in Annali d'Italianistica 17 (1999): 381-387.

Überbleibsel. Eine kleine Erotik der Kueche  by Jeannette Lander,” review-article Focus on Literatur 5 (1996): 56-61.

Die Entdeckung der Currywurst  by Uwe Timm,” Focus on Literatur  1:2 (1994): 202-205.


Alexander Kluge  (excerpts) Eds. Sergio Toffetti and Giovanni Spagnoletti  (Torino: Lindau 1994): 35-40; 47-85. From German into Italian.

The Education of a Gardener by Russell Page (Torino: Allemandi 1994) 400 pages. From English into Italian.

“Uwe Kolbe (poem) ”  Poesia contemporanea tedesca Ed. by Anna Chiarloni  (Torino:  Einaudi  1994): 355. From German into Italian.

“Gayatri C. Spivak” by Rebecca West and Marguerite Waller in I discorsi della critica in America  (Roma:  Bulzoni 1993): 149-164 From English into Italian.

“La riunificazione stentata” by Gabriele Dietze in Linea D’Ombra 75 (1992): 33-38. From German into Italian.
“La mia Germania non compare in nessun atlante”  by Jurek Becker and Martin Walser in  L'Opera al Rosso 1  (1990), np. From German into Italian.

PROFESSIONAL PAPERS (of relevance to Animal Studies)

Invited Presentations


(September 2010): “Of Silence, Sound and Animals: The power of powerlessness in Kleist’s The Beggarwoman of Locarno,” Heinrich von Kleist and Modernity, International Conference, organized by Prof. Bernd Fischer and Prof. Tim Mehigan

(May 2010): “Daniel Spoerri’s Eat Art and the Avant-Garde,” Department of Languages and Cultures Research Seminar

(October 2009): “Devouring Art Devouring History: Spoerri's Neo-Avantgarde,"  History/Art History Research Seminar


  1. (September 2006): “Introducing Primal Secretions: A Günter Brus Retrospective,” an exhibition curated by Osvaldo Romberg, Professor and Director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
  2. (September 2006): “Violence as Vulnerability: Günter Brus’s Surgical Art” (invited by Prof. Jean-Michel Rabaté, Princeton University and University of Pennsylvania)


  1. (May 2006): “The Neo-Avant-garde’s Infra-Humans” (faculty seminar “Visualizing Animals”)
  2. (March 2004): “To Live with Art is to Eat Art: Daniel Spoerri”


(January 2002): “Teaching Cultural Studies: Narratives of Eating”


(September 2001): Respondent to Paul Lawrence Rose, Mitrani Professor of European History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for Research on Antisemitism. Paper Title: “Extermination / Ausrottung: Meanings, Ambiguities and Intentions in German Antisemitism and the Holocaust 1800 – 1945”

Professional Meetings

MLA (Modern Language Association – USA)
(January 2012): “For the Love of Animals: Companion Species Stories and Posthumanist History in Haushofer, Lange-Müller and Kronauer”

GSAA (German Studies Association of Australia)
(Nov-Dec 2011): “Bear Images: Herzog’s Grizzly Man and Animal Representation in Film”

AASG (4th Biennial Australian Animal Studies Group Conference)
(July 2011): “Reworking the Anthropological Machine: Herzog’s Grizzly Man

Food, Power and Meaning in the Middle East and the Mediterranean 
(June 2010, Ben Gurion University, Israel): “The Braided Colors of Miralda’s Bread: How Food Empowers Art”

MLA (Modern Languages Association of America)
(December 2007): Organizer of the Special Session “Walter Benjamin’s Intellectual Incorporations: Franz Kafka and the Avant-Garde.” Paper “Benjamin’s Materialist Surrealism: Cannibalizing Breton, Dalí and Others”

ACLA (American Comparative Literatures Association)
(March 2006): “Daniel Spoerri’s R/Evolution: ‘A Carnival of Animals’ (1995)”

MLA (Modern Languages Association)
(December 2004): “Temporal Constellations and Object Contaminations: Walter Benjamin Meets Daniel Spoerri”

AATG (American Association of Teachers of German)
(November 2003): “Food and Film: A Brief History”

GSA (German Studies Association)
(September 2003): “Killing Off the Mother: German Films since 1989”

ACLA (American Comparative Literatures Association)
(April 2003): “From Food as Dialectical Image to Food as Icon of Consumption in European Film”

GSA (German Studies Association)
(October 2002): Co-Organizer of Panel with Prof. Anke Pinkert. Paper:  “The Bloody Organs of Art: Viennese Actionism (1960s) and Pain”

ACLA (American Comparative Literatures Association)
(April 2002): “Gender Trouble as Genre Trouble in Thomas Meinecke’s Tomboy

ACLA (American Comparative Literatures Association)
(April 2001): “Daniel Spoerri’s Eat Art, or When Food Matters”

GSA (German Studies Association)
(Oct.1999): ”Gender Travels, Modern Selves: Women Travelers in the 19th Century”

(April 1999): “Murder in the Kitchen: Dürrenmatt’s Suppers and Crimes”

(April 1997):  “The Dadaist Anti-Diet of Disgust"

AAIS (American Association of Italian Studies)
(April 1994):  "Strawberry Breasts, Sculpted Meat and The Holy Palate: The Futurist Dietology of Fulfillment"