Englisches Seminar

Staff List

Prof. Dr. Astrid Franke


Astrid Franke studied English, Biology and Philosophy in Berlin and Edinburgh. She did her PhD on the function of stereotypes in literature at the John F. Kennedy Institute, with some research stays at UCLA. The work on her second book, a study of American public poetry from the 18th to the 21th century, was conducted in Frankfurt/M. and, for a year, at UC Berkeley. Since 2008, she is professor of American Studies in Tuebingen where she lives with two children. She has been a member of the Collaborative Research Center "Threatened Orders" with a project on the resilience of the racial order in the US. Other research interests include Popular Culture, Cultural History and Theory, Modern and Contemporary Novel, and, as an underlying thread, intersections of literature and sociology.

Current Research Interests

  • American Poetry
  • American Cultural History
  • Relational Sociology (Pierre Bourdieu, Norbert Elias) in relation to American Studies
  • African American Studies


Current Courses: Summer Term 2024

  • Literature of Passing
  • 19th Century Poetry: Romantic, Sentimental, Proto-Modernist
  • On the Move: Migration and Cross-Country Encounters
  • Issues III: From the Civil War to the Second World War (L)

Survey Courses

  • Introduction to Literary Studies (lecture series and seminar)
  • Introduction to Cultural Studies (lecture and Seminar)
  • Issues in American Literary and Cultural History (lectures)
    - Issues I (Colonial America to Revolution)
    - Issues II (Revolution to Civil War)
    - Issues III (Civil War to Modernism)
    - Issues IV (Modernism to the Present)
  • Interpretation and Literary Theory

Thematic Courses

  • Literature of Migration (WS23/24)
  • The American Auto-Biographical Novel (WS23/24)
  • Concepts, Methods, Theories (WS23/24)
  • Between Utopia and Science Fiction: African American Fiction (SS23)
  • Poetry of the Revolution - Revolutionary Poetry? (SS23)
  • Jazz and Modernism (SS23, with Christoph Reinfandt)
  • American Poetry from American Renaissance to Early Modernism (SS22)
  • Political Education in African American Literature (SS22)
  • Poetry and Culture of the 1950s (SS22)
  • Poetry and Madness/Mental Health (SS21)
  • American Romanticism (SS21)
  • The Old "New Social Movements": Temperance, Abolitionists, Native Removal (WS20/21)
  • The Literature and Sociology of W.E.B. DuBois (SS20)
  • Art and Activism (WS 9/20)
  • African American Speculative Fiction (WS19/20)
  • Microaggression and Symbolic Violence in Literature (SS19)
  • Contemporary American Novels  (SS19)
  • Theories of Popular Culture (WS17/18)
  • Marriage, Sex, Adultery: Gender Relations in the 19th Century (SS 16)
  • Death and Mourning from Puritanism to the 19th Century (SS16)
  • Tracing Sentimentalism from the 18th Century to the Present (SS15) 

Academic Career

since 2008
Professor of American Studies at Eberhard Karls University Tübingen
Habilitation at Frankfurt University

 "Pursue the Illusion: Problems of Public Poetry in America", advised by Christa Buschendorf


Assistant Professor of American Studies, Frankfurt University
Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley

Scholarship from the German Research Foundation (GRF)

Assistant Professor of American Studies, Frankfurt University
Research Assistant at Frankfurt University
PhD at Freie Universität Berlin

"Keys to Controversies: Stereotypes in Modern American novels", advised by Heinz Ickstadt and Winfried Fluck

Research Fellow at University of California

scholarship by the German Research Foundation (GRF)

Scholar in the interdisciplinary postgraduate program "Democracy in the US" at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Berlin
State Exam in English, Biology, and Philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin
Exchange Student at Edinburgh University

scholarship by the European Union

Conference Presentations and Talks


  • September 2021 – „Abandoned Malls“, Einführung in die Ausstellung der Fotographien von Seph Lawless am d.a.i. Tübingen.


  • September 2019 – “Von den Problemen einer demokratischen Ästhetik zur Ästhetik einer problematischen Demokratie”, Tagung der Görres-Gesellschaft in Paderborn
  • 31.7.2019 – Interview zu Donald Trumps Rassismus im Wahlkampf für WDR 5 Politikum
  • 16.3.2019 – Einführung und Gespräch zum Film I am not your Negro  im Rahmen der Karlsruher Wochen gegen Rassismus



  • July 2018 – “Amerika in Marx und Marx in Amerika oder: Why Black Lives Matter (to Marx)” with Nicole Hirschfelder, Studium Generale in Tübingen
  • June 2018 – “Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and the Question of Microaggression”, Symposion zu Current Tendencies in Contemporary American Fiction at the University Hamburg
  • 12.4.2018 – “Martin L. King und die Rassismusdebatte in Deutschland” Vortrag und Gespräch in der Evangelischen Stadtakademie Wiesbaden


  • 6.5.2017 – Opening lecture of the Lake Constance Festival on the photo exhibition American Realities by Joakim Eskildsen
  • 13.2.2017 – “African American Protest and Resistance” (Schülerworkshop) und Vortrag “Selma bis Ferguson: Rasse und Rassismus in den USA” am Carl-Schurz Haus, Freiburg


  • December 2016 – “American Literature of the 21st Century: Meeting the Challenges of a Globalizing World”. Lehrerfortbildung am d.a.i. Tübingen
  • 17.-19.01.2016 – Workshop "Who Can Speak and Who is Heard/ Hurt? Ethnic Diversity, ‘Race’ and Racism in American Studies in Germany", Universität Tübingen.


  • 02.12.2015 – "Meredith Hunter und "The Death of the Sixties": Afroamerikanische Geschichte in Colson Whiteheads Romanen". im Rahmen der Studium Generale Vorlesungsreihe "Von Selma bis Ferguson - Die USA nach der Bürgerrechtsbewegung", Universität Tübingen.
  • Studium Generale WiSe 2015/16, Ringvorlesung : “Von Selma bis Ferguson – Die USA nach der Bürgerrechtsbewegung” (Org. Michael Butter, Astrid Franke & Horst Tonn, Tübingen, 21. Oktober 2015 bis 3. Februar 2016)
  • 26.06.2015 - "Iconography and Relational Sociology". im Rahmen der Konferenz "The Implicit Sociology of Literature", Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 25.-27.06.2015
  • 01.10.2015 - "Poetry as Ethical Challenge: The Voices of the Perpetrators" im Rahmen der Konferenz "Poem Unlimited: New Perspectives on Poetry and Genre", Universität Augsburg, 1.-3. Oktober 2015


  • 27.06.2014 – Workshop "Race, Rights, and Religion", Universität Tübingen. 


  • 07.- 09.11.2013 – Workshop "Ungerechte Ordnungen - The Structure and Dynamics of Inequality", Universität Tübingen. Bericht zum Workshop.




  • Pursue the Illusion: Problems of Public Poetry in America. Heidelberg: Winter, 2010.


  • Keys to Controversies: Stereotypes in Modern American Novels. New York: St Martins, 1999, awarded American Studies Network First Book Award.

Edited Books


  • With Stefanie Müller and Katja Sarkowsky. Reading the Social in American Studies. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022 [Forthcoming].


  • With Michael Butter and Horst Tonn. Von Selma bis Ferguson: Rasse und Rassismus in den USA. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016.


  • With Christa Buschendorf und Johannes Völz. Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.


  • With Christa Buschendorf. Transatlantic Negotiations. Heidelberg: Winter, 2007.



  • “Vom Problem einer demokratischen Ästhetik zur Ästhetik einer problematischen Demokratie.” Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch 62 (2021), 321 – 339
  • “The Fireside and Sentimental Poets.” Handbook of American Romanticism. Eds. Philipp Löffler, Clemens Spahr, Jan Stieverman. Handbook of English and American Studies. Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter, 2021. 293 – 310.
  • “Neuere Literatur.” Länderbericht USA. Eds. Andrew Denison, Georg Schild, Miriam Shabarouz. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Schriftenreihe Band 10200, 2021. 300 – 310.


  • “Kinship and Collective Action.” Kinship and Collective Action in Literature and Culture. Eds. Gero Bauer, Anya Heise-von der Lippe, Nicole Hirschfelder, Katharina Luther. Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempto Verlag, 2020. 103 – 108.


  • “Murderous Minds: A Narratological Approach to Poems on Perpetrators.” Poem Unlimited, edited by David Kerler and Timo Müller. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019, pp. 113 – 126.
  • “Revisiting Robert Lowell’s Mental Hospital Poems.” In: Robert Lowell In a New Century. European and American Perspectives. Ed. Thomas Austenfeld. Rochester: Camden House, 2019. 14-24.
  • “Robert Lowell’s Hidden Cats: From Lord Weary’s Castle to Dolphin.” In: An Eclectic Bestiary. Encounters in a More-than-Human-World. Eds. Birgit Spengler, Babette B. Tischleder. Human-Animal Studies, Vol. 20. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2019. 151-160.
  • "“’Tis the Gift to be Simple”: A Source of Homemade American Modernism.” In: Simplify, simplify! Brevity, Plainness and Their Complications in American Literature and Culture. Eds. Isabell Klaiber, Oliver Scheiding, Jan Stievermann. Beiträge zur Englischen und Amerikanischen Literatur, Band 37. Ferdinand Schöningh, 2019. 153-162.


  • Satin-Legs Smith and a Mississippi Mother: Dissections of Habitus in two Poems by Gwendolyn Brooks. Power Relations in Black Lives: Reading African American Literature and Culture with Bourdieu and EliasEd. Christa Buschendorf. Bielefeld. 2017Manuscript reviewed and accepted.
  • „Rassismus in den USA und die Trägheit sozialer Ordnungen.“ Neue Gesellschaft / Frankfurter Heft 1.2 (2017). 54 – 57.


  • ’The Death of the Sixties?’ Afroamerikanische Geschichte in Colson Whiteheads John Henry Days. Von Selma bis Ferguson: Rasse und Rassismus in den USA. Eds. Michael Butter, Astrid Franke, Horst Tonn. Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016. 157 – 171.


  • “Poetry and (In)Justice.” New Perspectives on American Poetry. From Walt Whitman to the Present. Eds. Jiri Flajsar, Pavlina Plajsarová. Proceedings from an International Cultural Studies Conference vol 5. Olomouc, 2015. 37 – 52.
  • „Phillis Wheatley’s ‚On Being Brought from Africa To America’ and George Moses Horton’s ‚On Hearing of the Intention of a Gentleman to Purchase the Poet’s Freedom.’“ A Handbook of American Poetry: Contexts – Developments – Readings. Eds.Oliver Scheiding, Rene Dietrich, Clemens Spahr. Handbücher zum literaturwissenschaftlichen Studium. Bd. 15. Tirer: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2015. 2-16.


  • With Nicole Hirschfelder. “‘Maycomb was itself again’: Wandel und Resilienz einer ungerechten Ordnung.” Aufruhr - Katastrophe - Konkurrenz - Zerfall. Bedrohte Ordnungen als Thema der Kulturwissenschaften, hrsg. Ewald Frie und Mischa Meier. Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2014. 197 – 228.
  • With Christa Buschendorf. “The Implied Sociology and Politics of Literary Texts: Using the Tools of Relational Sociology in American Studies.” In: American Studies Today: Recent Developments and Future Perspectives, hrsg. Winfried Fluck, Erik Redling, Sabine Sielke, and Hubert Zapf. Heidelberg: Winter, 2014. 75–104.


  • “Drinking and Democracy in the Early Republic.” Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Studies. Hrsg. Christa Buschendorf, Astrid Franke, Johannes Völz. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. 63-86.


  • “The Janus-faced Iconography of the Billy the Kid.” American Icons. Eds. Bernd Engler und Günther Leypoldt. Heidelberg: Winter, 2010. 361-382.


  • “John Ashbery”, Elizabeth Bishop”, “Wallace Stevens: Notes Towards a Supreme Fiction.” Kindlers Literatur Lexikon. Stuttgart: Metzler Verlag, 2009.


  • “Dismantling the Public Sphere: the poetics of apathy.“ American Studies as Media Studies. Eds. Frank Kelleter and Daniel Stein. Heidelberg: Winter, 2008. 249-259.
  • “’We are all made up of many parts, other halves’: Hybridität in zeitgenössischen amerikanischen Romanen.” Amerikanisches Erzählen nach 2000: eine Bestandsaufnahme. Ed. Sebastian Domsch. München: Edition Text & Kritik, 2008. 358-368.


  • With Christa Buschendorf. „Preface.“ Transatlantic Negotiations. Heidelberg: Winter, 2007. ix – xiii.
  • “The Powerless Power of Poets: Experimenting with the Self-in-Relation.” Another Language - Contemporary US-American Poetic Experiment in a Changing World. Ed. Kornelia Freitag. Münster: LIT-Verlag 2007. 65-73.


  • “The Poet’s Burden.” Aesthetic Transgressions: Modernity, Liberalism, and the Function of Literature. Eds. Thomas Claviez, Ulla Haselstein und Sieglinde Lemke. Heidelberg: Winter 2006. 149-161.


  • “Phillis Wheatley, Melancholy Muse.” New England Quarterly June 2004. 224-251.
  • “The Poetic Promiscuity of Robert Lowell.” Sexualities in American Culture. Ed. Alfred Hornung. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2004. 95-108.


  • “William Carlos Williams and John Dewey on the Public, its Problems, and its Poetry.” Theories of American Culture, Theories of American Studies. Eds. Winfried Fluck and Thomas Claviez. REAL: Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature Vol. 19. Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 2003. 269-292.
  • “Possibilities of Public Mourning in American Poetry of the 1960s.” Proceedings: Anglistentag Bayreuth. Eds. Ewald Mengel, Hans-Jörg Schmid, and Michael Steppat. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2003. 61-71.


  • “Imagining ‘Harlem’ in the 1920s.” Cultural Encounters. American Studies in the Age of Multiculturalism. Eds. Mario Klarer and Sonja Bahn. Tübingen: Stauffenburg Verlag, 2000. 103-118.
  • “Public Voices in American Poetry: Robert Lowell and Bob Dylan.” The Mechanics of the Mirage. Postwar American Poetry. Eds. Michel Delville, Christine Pagnoulle. Liège: Liège Language and Literature, 2000. 197-212.


  • “Individualism versus Integration? Art and Society in Dewey and Mukařovsky.” Pragmatism and Literary Studies. Ed. Winfried Fluck. REAL: Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature Vol. 15. Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 1999. 243-256.
  • “Struggling with Stereotypes: The Problems of Representing a Collective Identity.” The Critical Pragmatism of Alain Locke. A Reader on Value Theory, Aesthetics, Community, Culture, Race, and Education. Ed. Leonard Harris. Lanham: Rowman&Littlefield, 1999. 21-38.


  • “‘The Broken Heart’ and ‘The Trouble with the Truth’: Understanding Clichés in Country Music.” Poetics Today 18.3 (1997). 67-77.


  • “Attempting to Reconcile the Irreconcilable: Whitman’s Construction of a Multi-Voiced and/but Universal Self.” Democracy and the Arts in the United States. Eds. Alfred Hornung, Reinhard R. Doerries und Gerhard Hoffmann. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1996. 327-336.



  • “Timo Müller: The African American Sonnet.“ Amerikastudien 64:1, 2019, pp. 139–141.


  • “Andrew S. Gross: The Pound Reaction: Liberalism and Lyricism in Midcentury American Literature, European Views of the United States.” Amerikastudien 62:2, 2017


  • “Kornelia Freitag: Modern American Poetry: Points of Access.” Amerikastudien 60:1, 2015.


  • “John C. Shields: Phillis Wheatley’s Poetics of Liberation.New England Quarterly, vol. 82, no. 3, 2008, pp. 549-52.


  • “Eagleton, Terry. Ideology. An Introduction.” Das Argument. Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Sozialwissenschaften 1 (Jan./Feb. 1992). 136-138.


  • “Greenblatt, Stephen. Verhandlungen mit Shakespeare.” Das Argument. Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Sozialwissenschaften 4 (Juli/August 1991). 623-625.