Faculty Research
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Faculty Research and Teaching Interests

Sara Eigen (Harvard, 2001) German Literature 1600-1900, history of German law, history and philosophy of science, race theory, film history and theory, cultural representation under fascism. Two recent publications include "Hannah Arendt's Lessing-Rede and the 'Truths' of History" (2001) and "A Mother's Love, A Father's Law: Law Medicine, and Eighteenth Century Fictions of Patrilineal Genealogy" (2000). She also co-organized a conference at Harvard University (May, 20001) entitled "The German Invention of Race."

Angela Lin (Princeton, 1999)  is Assistant Professor of German. She specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century German literature and culture. Her research interests include aesthetic and literary theory, literature and music, philosophy, modernism, and opera. Currently she is preparing a book manuscript on the critique of sentimentality and self-definition in early modernity. She has presented papers on Wagner, Nietzsche, Schnitzler, Adorno, technology and the subject, and nineteenth-century reception of medieval legends. For future research she will focus on questions of gender in early twentieth-century German operas.

John A. McCarthy (SUNY-Buffalo, 1972) is Professor of German & Comparative Literature and Co-Director of German Studies. He has also served as Director of Graduate Studies in German (1991-92, 1994-98) and as Director of Undergraduate Studies (1999-2001). He has held visiting professorships at Swarthmore College, the Universität München, and most recently was the Charlotte M. Craig Visiting Professor at Rutgers University (spring 2001). He has received various fellowships (Fulbright, DAAD, APS, DFG). McCarthy teaches courses on literary movements (Enlightenment, Sensibility, Sturm und Drang, Weimar Classicism), on Goethe's Faust, eighteenth-century prose, Nietzsche's impact on literature, on science and literature (chaos and complexity theory), and on the essay as an art form. His research interests also extend to the history of Germanics, the institutionalization of literature, the theory and practice of censorship, empirical readership studies, and the nature of creativity. Among his recent publications are: The Future of Germanistik in the USA: Changing our Prospects (ed. with K. Schneider,1996), "Enlightenment Today or Movement at the Borders" (1996), "'A Chain of Utmost Potency': On the Agon and the Creative Impulse in Faust" (1997), "Boundary Literature and the Notion of Literariness" (1997), "The German Essay: A Survey" (1997), "W(h)ither Literature? Reaping the Fruits of Language Study Before It is Too Late" (1998), Disrupted Patterns: On Chaos and Order in the Enlightenment (ed. with Theodor E. D. Braun, 1999), "'Was heisst es, heute Germanist zu sein?" (1999), "Beyond a Philosophy of Alternatives: Chaos, Cosmology and the Eighteenth Century"(1999), "Die Nietzsche Rezeption in the Literatur 1890-1918" (1999), "Literarisch-kulturelle Zeitschriften im 18. Jahrhundert" (1999), "Bewegung als 'Gegenstand' der Literatur" (1999), "Centering the Discipline"(2000), "Jagdmotive in der Literatur der Goethezeit" (2000), Proceedings of the Lessing Society Conference "Lessing International -- Lessing Reception Abroad" (ed. With Herbert Rowland and Richard E. Schade, 2001), "‘An Indigenous and Not an Exotic Plant: Toward a History of Germanics at Penn"(2001), and "Deutschlandstudien in den USA 1968-1990"(2001). Currently, McCarthy is completing a book on science, philosophy, and literature and has begun the research for his next major project: the reception of the Sturm-und-Drang movement, 1770-1990. McCarthy is Senior Editor of the Lessing Yearbook, serves on the editorial boards of the German Quarterly and Internationale Forschungen zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Arbeitsstelle Lessing-Rezeption (Kamenz) and the Dresden U Series "18. Jahrhundert." He has served as Vice-President (1995-97) and President (1997-99) of the International Lessing Society. From 1996-1999 he was first a member then chair of the Modern Language Association Advisory Committee on Foreign Languages and Literatures. Currently, he serves on the MLA Selection Committee for the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for German Studies.

Helmut F. Pfanner (Stanford, 1965) is Professor of German and specializes in 19th and 20th cent. German, Austrian, and Swiss literature. He is a native of Austria and has been at Vanderbilt since 1990. He served the Department as Chair between 1990-1993. Before coming to Vanderbilt he held positions at the University of Washington, University of Virginia, University of New Hampshire-Durham, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He held visiting positions at Purdue University, the University of Innsbruck, Lewis and Clark College, Wells College, and Scranton University. From 1992 till 1999 he directed the graduate Summer Institute for German Language and Culture at the University of California in Santa Barbara. His teaching and research interests include the historical and sociological aspects of modern literature, German-American literary relations and language pedagogy. His publications comprise approx. one dozen books (monographs, critical editions and collections of articles), approx. 80 scholarly articles, approx. two dozen professional reports and miscellaneous articles, and more than 100 book reviews. He is the author of "Exile in New York: German and Austrian Writers after 1933." His annotated bibliography on Oskar Maria Graf is used by libraries and book dealers as the standard reference tool for this author. The edition of letters which he co-edited together with Gerhart Bauer was ranked on the "Bestenliste" by the critics of the Südwestfunk in Germany. His edition of the Karl Jakob Hirsch autobiography "Quintessenz meines Lebens" was included in the prestigious "Mainzer Reihe" of the Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur. Pfanner's edition of the unpublished letters by Alfred Döblin is scheduled for publication in the Walter Verlag edition of Döblin's "Ausgewählte Werke." He has recently signed a contract with the Peter Lang Publishing Company for a first, posthumous and annotated, edition of Hirsch's novel "Heute und morgen". His articles pertain to many general or specific aspects of modern literature and also individual authors including Conrad Ferdinand Meyer, Gerhart Hauptmann, Gottfried Benn, Hanns Johst, Arnold Zweig, Max Frisch, and Heinrich Böll. He is presently working on several contemporary authors including Lilian Faschinger, Felix Mitterer, and Martin Walser. Pfanner has taught graduate seminars on German Expressionism, The Political Literature of the Weimar Republic, German and Austrian Exile Literature, Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Literature, Heinrich Böll, Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Max Frisch, Günther Grass, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka, and Thomas Mann; and he regularly teaches undergraduate courses in both language and literature. For several years in a row Pfanner has contributed as a guest lecturer to the University's European Studies Program. He has received many professional awards, including grants and fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, the German Academic Exchange Service, the American Philosophical Society, The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, The American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has served several professional organizations in various functions, and he has been an elected member of the International PEN Club German-speaking Writers Abroad since 1975, also serving on its Executive Board since 1985.

Dieter H. Sevin (University of Washington, 1967) is Professor of German and Director of  Graduate Studies. His teaching and research interests are focused primarily on nineteenth- and twentieth-century German literature, with a special interest in German exile and GDR-literature, film and reception studies, and literary censorship.  He is the author or co-author of nine books, several in multiple editions; his more recent publications include a book on the East German novel, Textstrategien in DDR-Proaswerken zwischen Bau und Durchbruch der Berliner Mauer, and the edition of Die Resonanz des Exils. Gelungene und misslungene Rezeption deutschsprachiger Exilautoren. His book on Christa Wolf is in its fourth revised edition (1999) and he is presently working on a study about the return and reception of exile authors in post-war Germany. In addition to his scholarly work, he co-authored two widely used textbooks, Zur Diskussion. A Modern Approach to German Conversation, which has had three editions so far, and Wie geht's? An Introductory German Course (sixth revised edition 1999). Among newly organized courses he enjoys teaching Business German and a course on German cinema, cross-listed with Film Studies. He has numerous reviews and articles to his name on, among others, Georg Büchner, Arthur Schnitzler, Joachim Maass, Theodor Plievier, Christa Wolf, Volker Braun, Christoph Hein, and Hilde Domin. The recipient of awards and fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Vanderbilt University Research Council, he has served as Associate Director of the Vanderbilt European Studies Center and as a member of the MLA delegate assembly. 

Meike G. Werner (Yale, 1995) is Assistant Professor of German. She specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary and cultural studies. Her research focuses on modernism, print culture, modern intellectuals, women writers, cult books, and the history of Germanistik. She also teaches medieval literature. She is the co-editor of the Wilhelm Flitner correspondence, of the Karl Korsch correspondence, and is currently finishing a book on Modernity in the Province: Fin de Siècle Jena. In addition, she has authored articles on Sophie von La Roche, Rahel Sanzara, on the German youth movement, on turn of the century reform movements, on twentieth-century intellectuals, on the history of Germanistik and on the history of publishing. She is also the co-editor of Romantik, Revolution & Reform. Der Eugen Diederichs Verlag im Epochenkontext 1900-1949 (Göttingen: Wallstein, 1999) and a forthcoming work on German Literature and Jewish Critics.

Distinguished Fulbright Visiting Professors

The holders of this distinguished visiting professorship have joint appointments in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literature and departments representing their major disciplines (e.g., History, Political Science).

Distinguished Fulbright Visiting Professor in 2000-2001: Hermann-Josef Rupieper, Professor of History at the Universität Halle.

Distinguished Fulbright Visiting Professor in 1999-2000: Dietmar Herz, Professor of Political Science at the Universität Bonn. 

Distinguished Fulbright Visiting Professor in 1998-99: Dieter Umbach, Professor of Law at the Universität Potsdam.

Distinguished Fulbright Visiting Professor in 1997-98: Ursula Hoffmann-Lange, Professor of Political Science at the Universität Bamberg.

Distinguished Fulbright Visiting Professor in 1996-97: Rainer Pommerin, Professor of Contemporary History at the Technische Universität Dresden.

Distinguished DAAD Visiting Professor

DAAD Professor (2001-2005): Matthias Schulz, Professor of History at Universität Rostock.

Faculty with Related Interests

George Becker (Ph.D., SUNY at Stony Brook), Associate Professor of Sociology: Modern Theories of Sociology.

Jay Clayton (Ph.D., Virginia), Professor of English: Contemporary Theory, Romanticism.

William Franke (Ph.D., Stanford), Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Italian: Hermeneutics, Dante.

Volney P. Gay (A.M., Ph.D., Chicago), Professor of Religious Studies, Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Anthropology. Freudian psychoanalytical theories.

M. Donald Hancock (Ph.D., Columbia), Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for European Studies: Western European Politics, Political and Economic Integration in Europe.

Alice C. Harris (M.A., Essex; Ph.D., Harvard), Professor of Linguistics, Professor of Anthropology: Descriptive linguistics, morphology of languages.

Joel F. Harrington (Ph.D., Michigan). Associate Professor of History. Renaissance, Humanism, Reformation, Counter-Reformation.

Gregg M. Horowitz (A.M., Boston University; Ph.D., Rutgers University). Associate Professor of Philosophy. German Idealism: Kant, Schelling, Hegel; Habermas.

Kalliopi Nikolopoulou (Ph.D., Rochester). Mellon Fellow in Comparative Literature.  19th and 20th century German philosophy, aesthetics, German idealism, Romanticism, critical theory, Celan and Adorno.

Thomas A. Schwartz (M.A., Oxford; A.M., Ph.D., Harvard), Associate Professor of History: German-American International Relations.

Helmut W. Smith (Ph.D., Yale), Associate Professor of History: Germany in the 19th and 20th century, Holocaust studies.

David Charles Wood (Ph.D., Warwick). Professor of Philosophy. Deconstruction; Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Nietzsche, Heidegger.