Prof. Dr. Manfred Berg
Curt Engelhorn Professor of American History /
History Department / Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Manfred Berg has held the Curt Engelhorn Chair in American History since September 2005. From 1992 to 1997, Professor Berg was a research fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. Subsequently he taught at the Free University of Berlin, Cologne University, and the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. He also served as executive director of the Center for USA Studies at the Leucorea Foundation of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. The foci of his research and teaching are African American History, the history of mob violence, and the history of U.S. foreign relations. He is the author of The Ticket to Freedom: The NAACP and the Struggle for Black Political Integration (2005), Popular Justice: A History of Lynching in America (2011), and most recently Geschichte der USA (2013). His biography of Woodrow Wilson is due out with C.H. Beck in March 2017. In 2006 Professor Berg received the David Thelen Award from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) for the best article on American history published in a foreign language for his article "Black Civil Rights and Liberal Anticommunism: The NAACP during the McCarthy Era." In the spring of 2009 Manfred Berg served as the Lewis P. Jones Visiting Professor of History at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. From 2010 through 2012, Professor Berg served as dean of the Faculty of Philosophy.
Prof. Dr. Günter Leypoldt
Professor of American Literature /
English Department / Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Günter Leypoldt is professor of American literature and culture at the Faculty of Modern Languages. He taught American Studies at the universities of Tübingen (2001-2007), Maryland–College Park (2003), and Mainz (2007-2009). Günter Leypoldt holds degrees in American, British, and German literatures from Cape Town (B.A.) and Tübingen (doctorate and Habilitation). He has published essays on literary transcendentalism, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century aesthetics, twentieth-century literary and cultural theory, and a monograph on contemporary fiction, Casual Silences: The Poetics of Minimal Realism (2001). His most recent study deals with nineteenth-century U.S. literary culture and its modernist reconstruction, Cultural Authority in the Age of Whitman: A Transatlantic Perspective (2009). His present research interests include transatlantic romanticism and modernism, American pragmatism, transculturality, the borders between aesthetic and religious experience, and the sociology of knowledge formation.
Prof. Dr. Beatrix Busse
Professor of English Linguistics
Beatrix Busse is professor of linguistics and language change at Heidelberg University, Germany and at the University of Cologne, Germany. Having received her first degree from Osnabrück University, she received her PhD from Münster University and then moved on to completing her habilitation on speech, writing and thought presentation in 19th-century English narrative fiction at Berne University (Switzerland) in 2010. She has taught English (historical) linguistics at the universities of Osnabrück, Mainz, Hannover, and Bern and spent time as a visiting researcher in Birmingham (UK), Stratford (UK), and Lancaster (UK). Beatrix Busse’s scholarly interests include the history of English, (historical) pragmatics and sociolinguistics, Shakespeare studies, stylistics, (historical) textlinguistics, systemic functional grammar, narratology, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, ecolinguistics as well as e-learning and e-teaching. Her current research projects include the linguistic analysis of urban place in Brooklyn, a corpus of 19th century grammars and an interdisciplinary investigation of the notion of ‘patterns’. Beatrix Busse is reviews editor of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics (Benjamins), series editor of the De Gruyter series Diskursmuster – Discourse Pattern, and member of the editorial board of the Continuum series Advances in Stylistics. From 2013-2019, she held the position of Vice-President for Student Affairs and Teaching at Heidelberg University. As of 2019, she is Vice-President for Student Affairs and Teaching at the University of Cologne.
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Gerhard
Professor for Human Geography
of North America
Institute of Geography /
Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Ulrike Gerhard is professor for human geography of North America at the HCA and the Institute of Geography. Previously she taught North American Studies as well as urban geography at the universities of Cologne (2000-2001), Würzburg (2001-10), Munich (2005-06), and also Heidelberg (2008-09). She studied geography at Marburg as well as Waterloo, Ontario, and Edmonton, Alberta, and received her Ph.D. in 1998 from Marburg University doing research on urban consumer landscapes in Canada and Germany. Since then she has analyzed political and socio-economic trends in U.S. American cities (see, for example, Global City Washington, D.C. – eine politische Stadtgeographie, 2007), spending several months in Washington, D.C., and other urban centers. Her most recent research topics deal with reurbanization trends in North American cities, urban inequality in the Americas, and urban sustainable politics across the world. She aims at developing a planetary research perspective on urban theory that takes into account the wide array of urban developments in an increasingly urbanized world. Professor Gerhard was a visiting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from March to July 2015 and is facilitating a close partnership with that university.
Prof. Dr. Sebastian Harnisch
Professor for International Relations and Comparative Foreign Policy
Institute for Political Science
Sebastian Harnisch is professor for international relations and comparative foreign policy, deputy director of the Institute for Political Science at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, and deputy executive director for the Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE). He taught international relations, German and American foreign and security policy at Trier University (2003-2006), the Federal Armed Forces University, Munich (2006-2007), Beijing Foreign Studies University (2011), and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (2013). Sebastian Harnisch holds degrees in history and political science from Trier University (M.A., doctorate and Habilitation) and was a research fellow at JCIE (Tokyo, 1996), Columbia University (New York, 1996), Yonsei and Seoul National University (Seoul, 1996-1997), as well as Heidelberg's Center of Excellency, the Marsilius-Kolleg (2011). He has published widely on U.S. foreign and security policy, including a monograph on U.S.-Korean relations (1850-1995) and an edited volume on role theory in international relations (2011).
PD Dr. Margit Peterfy
Senior Lecturer American Literature
Margit Peterfy teaches American Literature and Culture at the English Department of Heidelberg University. She studied Comparative Literature, English and American Studies in Germany, Wales and the US (University of Maryland), and received her doctorate from the University of the Saarland (Germany) 'summa cum laude' with a dissertation on William Carlos Williams' poetry. (publ. in 1999). Between 1999 and 2013, she taught at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, and, as a substitute professor, at the Universities of Tübingen and Göttingen. She finished her Habilitation (post-doctoral degree) on "Utility and Aesthetics in American Popular Poetry" in January 2008. She is currently preparing a book for publication on the poems of John Greenleaf Whittier and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Since 2013 she has held the position of Senior Lecturer in American Studies at Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg. Her research interests include Early American literature and culture, literary and visual American iconography, theory of images and imagery, intermediality, and the popular culture of nineteenth-century and early modern US, in particular theater and literary performative practices.
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schloss
Professor of American Literature
English Department / Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Dietmar Schloss teaches American literature and culture at both the HCA and the English Department of Heidelberg University. He holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and a postdoctoral degree (Habilitation) from the University of Heidelberg. As a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, he was a visiting scholar at Harvard University. He has published widely in the fields of eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century American literature and culture; his book The Virtuous Republic (2003) examines the political visions of American writers during the founding period of the United States. In 2009, he published a volume of conference proceedings entitled Civilizing America: Manners and Civility in American Literature and Culture as well as a collection of critical essays on the contemporary American novel. In his new project, entitled "Spaces of Decivilization," he explores the phenomenon of violence in American literature and culture from the vantage point of Norbert Elias's sociological theory.
Prof. Dr. Jan Stievermann
Professor of the History of Christianity
in the U.S.
Faculty of Theology / Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Jan Stievermann has written and edited books and essays on a broad range of topics in the fields of American religious history and American literature, including a comprehensive study of the theology and aesthetics of Ralph Waldo Emerson (2007). He co-edited A Peculiar Mixture: German-Language Cultures and Identities in Eighteenth-Century North America (Pennsylvania State UP, 2013) and Religion and the Marketplace in the United States (2014). His most recent publications are the edition of vol. 5 of Cotton Mather’s Biblia Americana (2015) and a book-length study of this hitherto unexplored source entitled Prophecy, Piety, and the Problem of Historicity: Interpreting the Hebrew Scriptures in Cotton Mather’s Biblia Americana (2016). For the Biblia-project as a whole (10 vols.) he also serves as the executive editor.
PD Dr. Martin Thunert
Senior Lecturer Political Science
Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Martin Thunert joined the HCA as research lecturer in political science in September 2007. He is a graduate of Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University Frankfurt, holds a doctoral degree from the University of Augsburg, and received his Habilitation in political science from the University of Hamburg, where he was an assistant professor. Martin Thunert was an exchange student at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and did graduate work at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, and at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. He has held appointments in political studies at several German universities and spent four years (2002-2006) as visiting associate professor of political science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was a Kennedy Fellow at the Harvard Center for European Studies and gained practical experience as staff assistant in the U.S. Senate (Labor, Education and Health Committee).
Prof. Jeffrey Alexander, Ph.D.
Center for Cultural Sociology, Yale University
Prof. Dr. Helmut Anheier
President and Dean, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, and Professor of Sociology, Heidelberg University
Prof. Darren Dochuk, Ph.D.
Department of History, University of Notre Dame
Prof. Philip Goff, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, Indiana University-Purdue University
Prof. Dr. Barbara Hahn
Department of Geography and Geology, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joas
Faculty of Theology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Prof. Juliet Kaarbo, Ph.D.
School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh
Dr. Wilfried Mausbach
Executive Director, Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Prof. Dr. Cameron Thies
School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Simon Wendt
Department of American Studies, Goethe University Frankfurt
Prof. David Wilson, Ph.D.
Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign