Drawing on her 2008 MA-dissertation, which focused on the ideals of cosmopolitanism and national identity in Anglophone literatures and cultures, Engel-Mashayekh attempts to substantiate the hypothesis of Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin that language - including literary language - is highly ideological. Taking Bakhtin’s central concept of polyphony as her point of departure, according to which texts consists of different, equal but sometimes conflicting narrative voices, she addresses the question whether and how the linguistic tools used in the chosen texts are consciously applied by the authors to create a cosmopolitan world view associated with democratic ideals of freedom and equality.
Lena Engel-Mashayekh, M. A. studied English literature, philosophy and social anthropology at Mainz University. After working for a year as a translation assistant for a company specializing in business and financial translations, she decided to return to academia. Since October 2009, she has been working on her doctoral thesis about polyphony and heteroglossia in the works of contemporary Anglophone authors with a bicultural background.