We mourn the loss of our colleague and friend Eileen Rositzka
News from May 31, 2021
It is with deep sorrow and shock that we announce the death of Eileen Rositzka on May 26, 2021. Eileen has been abruptly taken from that place where she could always be found—in our very midst.
Eileen was a wonderful colleague to us all, but also a friend, whose sheer inexhaustible joy brought light into our lives at every turn. Her consummate humor, which ran the gamut from subtle allusion to sharp-witted parody, was mustered always to transform even the most onerous of tasks into pleasure and delight. Her intelligence, wit, and flair for wordplay made her an inspiring interlocutor at every academic event, where she treated both strangers and friends, renowned personalities and young scholars with the same lighthearted cheer. Eileen carried her intelligence with effortless elegance, and with a developed flair for the performative punchline. But for all the cheerfulness that she knew how to exude, she was also defined by a remarkable strength of purpose. By dint of sheer determination, Eileen surpassed even herself for instance when, still just a student assistant, she contributed substantially to developing a large research project, while at the same time—just for the sake of balance—parodying its founding conceptions in a song that she shared with fellow students, poking gentle fun at academic scholarship as an oh-so-serious pursuit .
Later, Eileen would move to St. Andrews on a one-year fellowship, only to return two years later equipped with a PhD from this prestigious British university. Her PhD became a book, Cinematic Corpographies, welcomed on its 2018 publication among others by a ‘thrilled’ Derek Gregory, the geographer who had first inspired her approach on her arrival at St Andrews. In amongst all of this, Eileen sustained an unparalleled ability to forge a network of interconnected friendships, spreading cheer all around her, bringing together those who worked with her over many years in numerous projects and institutions, but also transforming guests and fellows of the Cinepoetics research group into lasting friends.
Eileen’s warm good cheer led us regularly to forget her travails with illness. She reasurringly dismissed our inquiries and concerns. Most likely she was too concerned about the well-being of those who asked. Even when the pandemic led to us only being able to get together virtually—Eileen was in the midst of her friends, with her zest, her cheerfulness, her wit, and her humor, until the end.
Hermann Kappelhoff on behalf of all the friends, who had the privilege to collaborate with Eileen at the Center for Advanced Film Studies Cinepoetics and at the Seminar for Film Studies.