Englisches Seminar


The research conducted by the American Studies faculty engages with manifold aspects of North American literature, culture and society. While the individual projects when taken together cover almost all of American history, there is currently a focus on the nineteenth century and the contemporary period. 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. The project website is still under construction.

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)

EU COST: Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories

Michael Butter was the main proposer and now serves as vice chair of the  EU COST Action “Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories” which seeks to bridge the disciplinary and linguistic borders in research on conspiracy theories. The project, which comprises more than 100 scholars from 33 countries and a dozen disciplines, adopts a comparative approach, investigating the causes, manifestations and effects of conspiracy theories in different regions and times, and drawing on insights from history, politics, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and psychology.

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

  • Bauer, Gero, Anya Heise-von der Lippe, Nicole Hirschfelder and Katharina Luther, eds. Kinship and Collective Action in Literature and Culture. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto, 2020
  • Butter, Michael and Peter Knight, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories. London: Routledge, 2020.
  • Hirschfelder, Nicole, et al., eds. Who Can Speak and Who is Heard/ Hurt? Facing Problems of Race, Racism and Ethnic Diversity in American Studies in Germany and Beyond. Bielefeld: transcript, 2019.
  • Klaiber, Isabell, Oliver Scheiding, and Jan Stievermann, eds. Simplify, simplify! Brevity, Plainness and Their Complications in American Literature and Culture: Festschrift for Bernd Engler on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday. Beiträge zur englischen und amerikanischen Literatur, vol. 37, Schöningh, 2019.
  • Gijswijt, Thomas, Informal Alliance. The Bilderberg Group and Transatlantic Relations during the Cold War, 1952-1968. London: Routledge, 2018.
  • Butter, Michael, “Nichts ist, wie es scheint”: Über Verschwörungstheorien. Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2018.



  • Bremen, Benedict von. Two-Way Streets and Einbahnstraßen: Debates about NATO Defense Cooperation in the 1970s. (Schild)
  • Fuss, Jessica. Making an American Hero: The Heroization of Chesley B. Sullenberger and the Concept of Heroism in Post- 9/11 America (Butter)
  • Gunkel, Christian. Green Consumerism in the U.S. – Challenges and Chances for Contemporary Environmentalism (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)
  • Kruse, Julia. Amerikanische und Sowjetische Photographie: Von der Avantgarde zur Propaganda (Franke)
  • Luther, Katharina. From Roots to Cosmos: A New Materialist Poetics of Contemporary British and Canadian Poetry (Franke & Hotz-Davies)
  • Obute, Anthony. Toxic Paradise: Ecology, Politics, and Literature of the Niger-Delta (Franke)
  • Raible, Albrecht. Survival of Anticommunism in American Politics during the 1960s & 70s (Butter)
  • Schwarz, Janine. Domestic Noir Fiction (AT) (Butter)
  • Thiem, Annika. American Women’s Ghost Stories from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to the Early Twenty-first Century (AT) (Butter)
  • 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
  • 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 Temperace (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



  • Hirschfelder, Nicole. The Gaze and Catastrophes (Franke)
  • Klaiber, Isabell. Shared Minds: Collaborative Fiction in the U.S. from the 19th Century to Online Writing Projects (Engler)


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