Englisches Seminar

Dr. Katharina Thalmann

Research Fellow

Katharina Thalmann was a research fellow at the American Studies Department. In December 2017 she completed her dissertation project "'‘A Plot to Make Us Look Foolish': The Marginalization of Conspiracy Theory" which traces the shift in the status of conspiracy theory from legitimate to illegitimate knowledge in the Cold War era. She is a member of the EU COST Action "Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories (COMPACT)." Ms. Thalmann has previously worked as a research fellow at the collaborative research center "Heroes – Heroisations – Heroisms" at the University of Freiburg and has worked as an editor, translator, and ESL teacher in Germany and the U.S. She holds an M.A. in British and North American Cultural Studies (University of Freiburg) and a B.A. in Language, Culture, and Translation (University of Mainz). Her research interests include American literature and culture from the 18th century to the present, history of the South, U.S. presidents, popular culture and television, postmodernism, masculinity, and heroes/heroizations.

Current Projects

"Difficult Women: The Rise of Complex Female Characters in Contemporary Television Series" (with Svenja Hohenstein; ZAA 2/2019)

'A Plot to Make Us Look Foolish': The Marginalization of Conspiracy Theory since the 1950s (PhD thesis, completed: 08.12.2017)

Classes Taught

  • PS: Jeffersonian America (Pre-1900) (WiSe 2018/19)
  • PS: Space/Place (WiSe 2018/19)
  • PS: The American Civil War in Literature and Film (WiSe 2017/18)
  • PS: The Age of Jefferson (SoSe 2017)
  • PS: Introduction to Cultural Studies (WiSe 2016/17, WiSe 2017/18)
  • PS: Star Trek (SoSe 2016)
  • PS: Postmodern Fiction (WiSe 2015/16)
  • PS: Introduction to Literary Studies (SoSe 2015, WiSe 2018/19)
  • PS: Marginality in American Literature and Culture (WiSe 2014/15)
  • Arbeitsgruppe Verschwörungstheorien (mit Michael Butter; Sommerakademie Rot International der Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, 15.-27. August 2016)
  • PS: Conspiracy Theories in American Culture (SoSe 2016; Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)




  • "Star Trek." Race in American Television: Voices and Visions that Shaped a Nation, edited by David Leonard et al., ABC-CLIO, forthcoming.


  • "'It’s Kirk vs. Picard!': Changing Notions of Heroism from the 1960s to the 1990s." Exploring Picard’s Galaxy: Essays on Star Trek: The Next Generation, edited by Peter Lee, McFarland 2018.


  • "'John Birch Blues': The Problematization of Conspiracy Theory in the Early Cold-War Era." In: COPAS 15.1 (2014). Web.


  • "It Has All Been Planned". Report on the FRIAS conference Conspiracy Theories in the U.S. and the Middle East: A Comparative Approach, Jan. 13-15, 2011. Frias.uni-freiburg.de, 2011.Web.

Conference Papers & Talks


  • "The Heroization of Alexander Hamilton." Heroism and the Heroic in American History. Annual Conference of the Historians in the German Association for American Studies. Akademie für Politische Bildung, Tutzing, Feb. 2018. (with Svenja Hohenstein)


  • "Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of Star Trek. On Teaching Star Trek in Higher Education." PCA/ACA National Conference, San Diego, Apr. 2017.


  • "The Shifting Significance of Conspiracy Theory" (Konf. "The Meaning of Conspiracy: Plot and Mystery in Communication," U. Turin, 8.-10. Juni 2015).


  • "'An Idée Fixe Whose Time Has Come': Paranoia and the Watergate Scandal."Trust Issues: Community, Contingency, and Security in North America. International Graduate Conference, John F. Kennedy Institute Berlin, May 2014.
  • "Vom legitimen zum illegitimen Wissen: Der Statuswandel amerikanischer Verschwörungstheorien in den 1950er- und 1960er-Jahren." Wissen. Erste Studentische Tagung der Geschichtswissenschaften, University of Bamberg, Jan. 2014.


  • "A Matter of Reasonable Doubt: Kennedy und die Verschwörungstheorien." Remembering Kennedy in Half a Day. Carl-Schurz-Haus Freiburg, Nov. 2013.
  • "‘John Birch Blues’: The Problematization of Conspiracy Theory in the Early Cold-War Era." Postgraduate Forum, University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Oct. 2013.