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American Studies

Der Fachrat ist die fachbezogene Zusammenkunft von Studierenden, akademischen Mitarbeitern und Hochschulprofessoren eines Instituts der Universität.

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Prof. Dr. Manfred Berg

+49 6221 54 2276

History Department
Grabengasse 3-5
69117 Heidelberg

Manfred Berg is the Curt Engelhorn Professor of American History at the University of Heidelberg and a specialist in the history of the African American civil rights movement. His book The Ticket to Freedom: The NAACP and the Struggle for Black Political Integration was published in 2005 by the University Press of Florida. In 2006 Manfred Berg received the David Thelen Award of the Organization of American Historians for his essay “Civil Rights and Liberal Anticommunism: The NAACP during the Early Cold War,” which was published in the June 2007 issue of the Journal of American History. In addition, Professor Berg has published ten more monographs and edited volumes and over forty scholarly articles in both English and German on various aspects of American and German history. His most recent monographs are Popular Justice: A History of Lynching in America (2011) and a widely used textbook on U.S. history in German, Geschichte der USA (2013). Berg is currently writing a biography of U.S. president Woodrow Wilson under contract with a German publisher. Before he was appointed professor of American History at Heidelberg, he taught at the Free University of Berlin and was a research fellow (1992-1997) at the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C., among other positions. In 2009 he served as the Lewis P. Jones Professor of History at Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina.



Prof. Dr. Ulrike Gerhard

+49 6221 / 54 5542

Geographisches Institut
Berliner Straße 48
69120 Heidelberg

Ulrike Gerhard is professor of human geography of North America at the HCA and the Geography Department. Previously she taught North American Studies as well as urban geography at the universities of Cologne (2000-2001), Wuerzburg (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 US 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. She joined the HCA Board of Directors in 2011.



Prof. Dr. Günter Leypoldt

Literature/Cultural Studies
+49 6221 54-2816

English Department
Kettengasse 12
69117 Heidelberg

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). He holds degrees in American, British, and German literatures from the universities of 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). He is the editor of Intellectual Authority and Literary Culture in the US, 1790-1900 and American Cultural Icons: The Production of Representative Lives and the author of Cultural Authority in the Age of Whitman: A Transatlantic Perspective (2009), which deals with nineteenth-century US literary culture and its modernist reconstruction. 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. Welf Werner

+49 6221 54-2816

Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Hauptstraße 120
69117 Heidelberg

Biography: Born in Göttingen, the director of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies was trained in economics, finance, management, and economic history at the Freie Universität Berlin and Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Before joining the faculty of International University Bremen as Professor of International Economics in 2004, he taught U.S. economic policy and history as lecturer and assistant professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies. Welf Werner received his Ph.D. and venia legendi from the Economics Department of the Freie Universität in 1992 and 2003, respectively. He was a John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies in 1994 and returned to the U.S. in 1997 as a research fellow at both Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and George Washington University. In February 2018, Welf Werner was appointed Professor of American Studies at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at Universität Heidelberg and director of the HCA. His research and teaching focus on U.S. domestic and foreign economic policies while giving due regard to their intertwining with history and political science. His interdisciplinary cooperation has occasionally gone beyond the social sciences, as, for example, with the volume Wie viel Ungleichheit verträgt die Demokratie? Armut und Reichtum in den USA, co-edited with Winfried Fluck in 2004. Specific research interests have touched upon fields such as international trade in services, financial market globalization, monetary regime change, natural disasters and international risk management, globalization and inequality, welfare state reform, and the economic determinants of populism.



PD. Dr. Philipp Löffler

Literature/Cultural Studies
+49 6221 54-3731

Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Hauptstraße 120
69117 Heidelberg

Philipp Löffler teaches American literary and cultural history (Revolution to Present). His work focuses on the history and sociology of reading, literary patronage, the professionalization of authorship, and the history of US higher education. He has (co)-edited a number of books, most recently The Handbook of American Romanticism (2021) and How to Read the Literary Market (2021). His first monograph is Pluralist Desires: Contemporary Historical Fiction and the End of the Cold War (Camden House). His next book will be a cultural history of US literary professionalism in the nineteenth century, tentatively titled Publishing Scoundrels: American Literature and the Professionalization of Authorship, 1790-1915. He is the coordinator of the MAS-Program at the HCA



Prof. Dr. Jan Stievermann

Theology/Religious Studies
+49 6221 54 3881

Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Hauptstraße 120
69117 Heidelberg

Jan Stievermann is Professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Heidelberg University and director of the Jonathan Edwards Center Germany. He has written books and essays on a broad range of topics in the fields of American religious history and American literature, including articles for Early American Literature and William and Mary Quarterly. His book Der Sündenfall der Nachahmung: Zum Problem der Mittelbarkeit im Werk Ralph Waldo Emersons (2007; The Original Fall of Imitation: The Problem of Mediacy in the Works of R.W.E.) is a comprehensive study of the co-evolution of Emerson’s religious and aesthetic thought. Together with Reiner Smolinski, he published Cotton Mather and Biblia Americana–America’s First Bible Commentary (2010). Most recently, he co-edited A Peculiar Mixture: German-Language Cultures and Identities in Eighteenth-Century North America (2013) and Religion and the Marketplace in the United States (2014). His edition of vol. 5 of Cotton Mather’s Biblia Americana and a book-length study of this hitherto unpublished Puritan bible commentary are forthcoming. For the Biblia-project as a whole (10 vols.) he also serves as the executive director.



PD Dr. Martin Thunert

Political Science
+49 6221 54 3877

Heidelberg Center for American Studies
Hauptstraße 120
69117 Heidelberg

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 a staff assistant at the U.S. Senate (Labor, Education and Health Committee).



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