Englisches Seminar

The research conducted by the American Studies faculty engages with manifold aspects of North American literature, culture and society. Most scholars in the department share an interest in the power of representations of all kinds – for example, "high" and popular literature, film, painting, or non-fictional genres – to shape and negotiate social and political reality. Our staff members are involved in a number of interdisciplinary research projects funded by the German Research Council and the EU. 

Current Projects

EU PACT: Populism and Conspiracy Theory

The ERC-funded project "Populism and Conspiracy Theory (PACT)" investigates the significance of conspiracy theories for populist movements in four European countries and two in the Americas. The project is scheduled to run until March 2025. The PI, Michael Butter, and his team (one postdoc and four PhD students) will employ a combination of discourse analysis and ethnographic methods to study the connections between populism and conspiracy theories in online and offline discourses in Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Brazil and the United States. .

SFB 923: Threatened Order -Societies under Stress

Astrid Franke, Nicole Hirschfelder, Ferdinand Nyberg, and Max Thiem are members of the Special Research Area 923 “Threatened Order – Societies under Stress.” They are responsible for Project G06 (Vergangene Zukunft Bedrohter Ordnungen. Fiktionale und gelebte Visionen alternativer Rasseordnungen in den USA)

BMBF-DAAD: Literary Cultures of the Global South

Astrid Franke is a member of the network “Literary Cultures of the Global South” funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Academic Exchange Service


Recent Publications



  • Dirkschnieder, Tom. Queer Gaming. 'Creating' LGBT-Representation in Contemporary Video Games (Butter)
  • Fuss, Jessica. Making an American Hero: The Heroization of Chesley B. Sullenberger and the Concept of Heroism in Post- 9/11 America (Butter)
  • Haas, Isabel. An Intersectional Feminist Approach to Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in North American, Nigerian, South African and Indian Literature (Franke)
  • Karim, Jihad. Multiple/Dual Implied Readerships in Postcolonial Literature (Franke)
  • Köhler, Tamara. Tackling Taboo Topics: Mental Health and Suicide Representation in Young Adult Fiction and Adaptations (Butter)
  • Kopp, Luvena. ‘Fight The (Symbolic) Power!’: Hidden Forms of Domination in the Films of Spike Lee (Franke)
  • Liebster, Franz Daniel. Constructing Poetic Personality: John Berryman’s Keatsian Inheritance (Franke)
  • Pingler, Marina. Re-Imagining Climate Futures: Alternative Imaginaries in American Literature and Culture (AT) (Butter)
  • Priester, Aileen. Re-Painting History: U. S. Female Landscape Painters in the Nineteenth Century (Franke)
  • Raible, Albrecht. Survival of Anticommunism in American Politics during the 1960s & 70s (Butter)
  • Rhiem, Max. Fiktionale Visionen alternativer Rassenordnungen in den USA (Franke)
  • Schelenz, Laura.  Diversity and Discrimination in Social Networking: Diversity-Aware Technology from a Black Feminist Perspective (Franke)
  • Schwarz, Janine. There’s No Place Like Home: Domestic Noir Fiction (AT) (Butter)
  • Thiem, Annika. Subverting Hegemonic Epistemology and Power: Ghosts and Spirits in American Women’s Writings (AT) (Butter)
  • Wiedemann, Mirjam. "Creating American Identity" - Instrumentalisierungen der Amerikanischen Unabhängigkeitserklärung (Franke)
  • Wurst, Christina. Fandom and Social Activism (Butter)


  • Brunck, Annika. Fighting "the Evil Scourge of Terrorism": From 'Jewish Terrorism' to 'Islamic Terrorism' in the United States, 1940-2017 (Butter) Completed: 2019
  • Buhr, Stephan. Infinite Possibilities Die Zweite Generation des Transzendentalismus und die Idee einer Universalreligion (Engler) Completed: 2015
  • Chaitas, Lilian. A Poetics of Experiment: The Experimental Impulse in Post-World War II American Poetry (Engler) Completed: 2014
  • Dopffel, Michael. Facts, Fictions and Functions in Early Modern Anglo-American Ghost Narratives (Bauer M. & Stievermann) Completed: 2019
  • Duda, Sebastian. Formen und Funktionswandel der Wiederholung – dargestellt anhand von Texten aus der Protomoderne, Moderne und Postmoderne (Engler) Completed: 2009
  • Fauser-Löffler, Bettina. Erzählte Gefühle. Die Verhandlung von Emotionskonzepten in der amerikanischen Erzählliteratur zwischen 1850 und 1910 (Engler) Completed: 2017
  • Hirschfelder, Nicole. Oppression as a Process A Figurational Analysis of the Case of Bayard Rustin (Franke) Completed: 2013
  • Hirt, Stefan. A Pop-Cultural Career. American Representations of Adolf Hitler (Engler) Completed: 2012
  • Hoffmann, Lukas. "I Am True of Heart - You Are True of Heart" Eggers, Lethem, Wal/ace et al.: Postironic Nonfiction's Appeal to Its Reader (Franke) Completed: 2015
  • Hohenstein, Svenja. Girl Warriors: Feminist Revision of the Hero's Quest in Contemporary American Culture (Butter) Completed: 2018
  • Kutschbach, Christine. Capturing the Literariness of Life: Undecidability in Bharati Mukherjee’s Writing (Engler) Completed: 2011
  • Luther, Katharina. Knowing and Doing and Becoming: A Natureculture Poetics of Contemporary Matter Poetry (Franke & Hotz-Davies) Completed: 2023
  • Narmann, Ruth. Sunzi Reloaded. Untersuchung zur Appropriierung fernöstlicher Diskursformationen in der amerikanischen Populärkultur am Beispiel der Kunst des Krieges (Engler) Completed: 2012
  • Nyberg, Ferdinand. Temperate Regions: Space, Threat, and Antebellum American Temperance (Franke) Completed: 2020
  • Roering, Johanna. Krieg bloggen: Soldatische Kriegsberichterstattung in digitalen Medien (Tonn) Completed: 2011
  • Spieker, Lisa. Writing 'Madness:' Stigma, Self-fashioning, and 'Truth' in 'Mental Illness' Pathographies (Franke) Completed: 2019
  • Susanka, Thomas. Fotografie, Medium und Bildung Rhetorischer Perspektive am Beispiel von James Nachtwey (Tonn) Completed: 2012
  • Thalmann, Katharina. 'A Plot to Make Us Look Foolish': The Marginalization of Conspiracy Theory since the 1950s (Butter) Completed: 2017
  • Wielk, Henrike. Zwischen Inszenierung und Projektion: Zur Auflösung des Ikonenbegriffs in der postmodernen Populärkultur am Beispiel Madonnas (Engler) Completed: 2012



  • Baruah, Debarchana. Food on Migrant Trails: Food Access and the Latino Migrant Body in the US (Franke)
  • Hirschfelder, Nicole. The Gaze and Catastrophes (Franke)
  • Klaiber, Isabell. Shared Texts, Shared Minds: Collaborative Literary Fiction in the U.S. from the 19th Century to Online Writing Projects (Engler)
  • Nyberg, Ferdinand. Speculative Real(i)ty: Land, Utopia, and African American Activisms (Franke)


  • Tan, Kathy-Ann. "Re-Configuring Citizenship: Nationhood and Post-national Imaginaries in North American Prose, 1850–2010" (Engler) Completed: 2014