My way into American Studies started with a translator’s degree in English and Spanish. My doctoral dissertation investigated literary translations of Stephen Crane stories as cultural products at the intersection of literary studies, cultural studies and translation studies. For my Habilitation project, I researched the border zone between the United States and Mexico as a culturally productive space that has played an important role in redefining concepts of nation and national culture. Since my graduation, I have worked at the universities of Leipzig, Göttingen, Bielefeld, Bayreuth, Groningen, and Leipzig, and was a guest professor at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University (2009). I also spent a year at the University of California, Berkeley as a Visiting Scholar and 6 months at the State University of New York, Binghamton as a Fulbright grantee. In 2010 I was appointed as the professor for American Studies and Minority Studies at ASL. I am married and have a daughter.
My research focuses on the cultural processes which link American culture to other cultures or which are situated in between cultures. I am interested in the transnational, hemispheric and global contexts of American culture as well as in the representation of American spaces on various scales. My published work situates itself in the contexts of U.S. ethnic studies, border studies, transnational, hemispheric and archipelagic American studies. Since 2016 I have been principal investigator in the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199 “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition.” Here our focus was first on the literary representation of peripheral regions of the United States in the antebellum period (Phase I: Spatial Fictions: (Re)Imaginations of Nationality in the Southern and Western Peripheries of the 19th-century United States). Currently we are exploring the imagination of space in US literature in the period of imperialist expansion to the Pacific and the Caribbean in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Phase II: Imperialist Geographies: The Transpacific and Circum-Caribbean Space in US Literature in the Period from 1880 to 1940).
I teach American literature and culture from the 17th through the 20th century with a wide range of topics on both introductory and specialist levels. A specific focus of my courses is the role of race and ethnicity in US culture and the way these concepts have been defined and redefined. In many of my classes we discuss texts related to issues of migration, borders, mobility and the imagination of space.
- with Maren Möring and Ute Wardenga. Imaginationen. (Dialektik des Globalen. Kernbegriffe 5). Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019
- with Steffen Wöll. Periphere Räume in der Amerikanistik. (Dialektik des Globalen. Kernbegriffe 3). Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.
- Processes of Spatialization in the Americas. Configurations and Narratives. Eds. Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Hannes Warnecke-Berger. (Interamericana vol. 13) Frankfurt/Main/New York: Peter Lang, 2018.
- Hemispheric Encounters. The Early United States in a Transnational Perspective. Eds. Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Markus Heide. Interamericana Series. Frankfurt u. New York: Peter Lang, 2016.
- MexAmerica: Genealogien und Analysen postnationaler Diskurse in der kulturellen Produktion von Chicanos/as. Heidelberg: Winter 2005. American Studies Monograph Series.
- “Being Black in the Archipelagic Americas: Racialized (im)Mobilities in the Autobiographies of James Weldon Johnson and Evelio Grillo”. Atlantic Studies, (2021), DOI: 10.1080/14788810.2021.1952052
- „The politics of remembering in Carmen Aguirre’s The Refugee Hotel“ Inter-American Perspectives in the 21st Century. Eds. Olaf Kaltmeier/Wilfried Raussert: Trier, WVT, Tempe: Bilingual Press/University of New Orleans Press, 2021.
- “Foundational Narratives in the United States and Latin America“. In W. Raussert et al (eds.) The Routledge Handbook to the Culture and Media of the Americas. London: Routledge 2020.
- “American Studies and Global Studies in the U.S.”. The Many Facets of Global Studies Perspectives from the Erasmus Mundus Global Studies Programme. Ed. Konstanze Klemm u. Matthias Middell. Leipzig: Universitätsverlag 2019.
- “Florida as a Hemispheric Region”. Processes of Spatialization in the Americas. Configurations and Narratives. Eds. Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Hannes Warnecke-Berger. Frankfurt/New York: Peter Lang, 2018, 151-175.
- “A Backcountry out of Control”: Tropical Spaces of Radical Resistance in Joshua Giddings’ The Exiles of Florida. Amerikastudien/American Studies 63:3 (2018), 351-366.
- “Chicano Studies and Inter-American Studies in Germany”. Routledge Handbook of Chicana/o Studies (Routledge International Handbooks) Eds. Denise Segura, Francisco Lomelí, Elyette Benjamin-Labarthe. Routledge, 2017.
- “Contesting and Negotiating Racial Borders at the Nation’s Peripheries”. Conference MESEA (Society for Multi-Ethnic Studies: Europe and the Americas), Larnaka, 26-29 May 2022.
- “Ghostly Towns, Wasted Landscapes: Hydrocolonialism in literature about the Panama Canal”. Conference EAAS (European Association of American Studies), Madrid, 4-6 April, 2022.
- “Archipelagic America: imperial imaginations and counter-geographies”. Guest Lecture, University of Erlangen, 16 Dec 2021
- “Literary counterdiscourses of mobility in the Panama canal zone: Eric Walrond’s Tropic Death” American Studies Association Annual Conference, San Juan Puerto Rico, 10-14 October, 2021 (online conference)
- „More of the Pioneer Spirit“: Black Spatialization Processes in the Age of US Imperialism”. ENIUGH Conference Tuku 15 – 19 June 2021 (online conference)