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Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize

Kentner Sw 185The HCA is mourning
Rolf Kentner

The HCA is mourning its faithful friend and supporter Rolf Kentner, who passed away on May 20, 2020, after a prolonged illness. On top of his long career at Mannheim’s BW bank, Rolf Kentner tirelessly volunteered his expertise to many civic endeavors, among them as president of the Schurman Society for the Promotion of American Studies at Heidelberg University and the Jacob Gould Schurman Foundation. Both associations were essential for the creation of the Schurman Library for American History, the establishment of the Curt Engelhorn Chair for American History, and the founding and development of the HCA. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Detlef Junker, the HCA’s Founding Director, payed tribute to Rolf Kentner’s achievements as a "dedicated friend of German-American relations. Without his support the HCA would not have advanced to one of the most important centers for American Studies in Europe."

Both the Ruperto Carola and the Hochschule Mannheim named Rolf Kentner an Honorary Senator. He was always especially interested in the work of young scholars, which he supported by endowing a prize for an excellent dissertation in American Studies at a German university. After he resigned from the presidency of the Schurman Foundation, it resolved to name him Honorary President and continue to award the Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize as a tribute to his life time achievement.

Photo Gallery: Rolf Kentner, 1947-2020

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The Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize awards outstanding work in the field of American studies. It is sponsored by one of the HCA’s most active benefactors, Rolf Kentner, honorary chairman of the Schurman Society for American History, and endowed with € 1.000.

Submissions should be dissertations completed at a German university in the fields of American literature and culture, geography, history, art history, political science, religious studies, sociology, and constitutional law. Dissertations have to be unpublished at the time of submission, and can be either in German or English. It is possible to submit completed dissertations even though the doctoral examination has not yet taken place (but will take place in the near future). The dissertation should not be older than two years.

A multidisciplinary and international panel will select the winner. The award ceremony takes place annually in October at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies where the recipient is expected to give a talk on his/her work.

Juliane Braun (2014 recipient)​ and Rolf Kentner


  • 2021: Natalie Rauscher (Heidelberg University)
  • 2020: Juliane Hornung (Köln University)
  • 2019: Maria Sulimma ( Duisburg-Essen University)
  • 2018: Jonas Anderson ( München University LMU)
  • 2017: Annika Elena Poppe (HSFK Frankfurt)
  • 2016: Birte Wege (Free University Berlin)
  • 2015: Tom Kaden (Leipzig University)
  • 2014: Juliane Braun (Würzburg University)
  • 2013: Jasper Trautsch (Free University Berlin)
  • 2012: Leonard Schmieding (Leipzig University)
  • 2011: Frank Usbeck (Leipzig University)
  • 2010: Daniel Stein (Göttingen University)


The application must include (electronic version):

  • one copy of your dissertation (German or English)
  • abstract of your dissertation (in English only; two pages max.)
  • two letters of recommendation (German or English; e.g. supervisors' reports on dissertation)
  • CV (in English only)

The application deadline for the 2022 Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize is March 31, 2022. The award ceremony will take place in the fall of 2022.

Please send your application as a PDF file to nrauscher@hca.uni-heidelberg.de.

HCA: hca@uni-hd.de
Latest Revision: 2021-08-23
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