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Professor Elisabeth Herrmann


Email: Elisabeth dot Herrmann at warwick dot ac dot uk

Room H2.14, office hour: Wednesday, 10:00-11:30am

Humanities Building, University Road, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL

Tel: +44 (0)24 765 24467


Elisabeth Herrmann is Professor of German Studies from the 18th to the 21st century. Born and raised in the Black Forest, she started her academic education at the University of Freiburg where she received her Magister Artium in Modern German literature and Scandinavian Studies. She completed her PhD in German with a thesis on the The Motif of Death in Goethe’s ‘Novel Elective Affinities’ and wrote her habilitation and second book on literary and cultural Grenzgänger, border-crossers. She moved to Canada in 2006 when she was offered a Visiting Professorship at the University of Alberta, for which she received a six-year scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in order to promote German Studies in North America. In 2014 she accepted a position at Stockholm University as senior lecturer in German and was promoted to full Professor in 2015. The international aspect of Professor Herrmann’s academic career has had a strong impact both on the areas of specialization and on the methodological approach of her research, in which she critically engages in literary, cultural, transnational, comparative and interdisciplinary studies. She joined the School of Modern Languages and Cultures as Chair of German Studies in January 2018.

Since 2017 she has been an affiliated member of the Swedish National Research Programme World Literatures: Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta in Canada, and a faculty member of the international postgraduate programme "The European PhDnet: Literary and Cultural Studies". Professor Herrmann is Chair of the Tenure Board of the Humboldt University of Berlin and co-editor of the Edition Gegenwart (OKAPI Berlin, together with Carsten Gansel and Norman Ächtler).

Research interests

  • From the Enlightenment to the age of Goethe and Weimar Classicism
  • Post-unification and contemporary German literature
  • Collective identities and cultural memory
  • Representations of the Holocaust in literature, image, and film
  • Discourses of tolerance and intolerance in German history, philosophy and culture
  • Interdependencies between European literatures
  • Cultural interaction and literary transfer
  • Transnationalism, cosmopolitanism and world literatures

Cosmopolitanism and world literatures are the themes which build the core of my current research. I am working on a monograph in literary theory which responds to the demand for a critical review of the idea of world literature in our time of globalization. By defining world literature as a “literature of dialogue, movement and world entanglement” the study develops a concept that gives space to the term’s specific feature of performativity and evolution while at the same time providing analytical tools for analysis of both historically traceable characteristics as well as newly emerging indicators of cosmopolitanism and world literature.

Teaching and supervision

I welcome proposals for research projects on aspects of literary transfer, regional, transnational, cosmopolitan, and world literatures in connection to any literary epoch from the 18th century to our contemporary time. I also encourage projects focusing on collective identities and memory, debates on literary canon, genre theory, cultural theories, comparative and interdisciplinary studies, as well as literary industry (e.g. the reception, dissemination, translation and marketing of literary texts as well as the role of literary prizes and institutions). I am still supervising a PhD project based at Stockholm University on “The Role of Chance within the Development of the Modern German-language Novel: From Goethe to Musil.” I am a member of the European PhDNet Literary and Cultural Studies, an international network for post-graduate education and cotutelle between Justus Liebig University Gießen and the partner universities of Bergamo, Graz, Helsinki, Stockholm, and the Catholic University of Lisbon.

Administrative Roles

  • Head of German Studies
  • Director of Research for German Studies

Selected publications

Books and co-edited volumes
  • Transnationalism in Contemporary German-Language Literature, edited with Carrie Smith-Prei and Stuart Taberner. Rochester: Camden House, 2015.
  • Entwicklungen in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur nach 1989, edited with Carsten Gansel. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013.
  • Embracing the Other: Conceptualizations, Representations, and Social Practices of [In]Tolerance in German Culture and Literature. Special Issue of Seminar. A Journal of Germanic Studies, edited with Florentine Strzelczyk. Volume 48, Number 3, September (2012).
  • Über Grenzen. Grenzgänge der Skandinavistik, edited with Wolfgang Behschnitt. Festschrift zum 65. Geburtstag von Heinrich Anz. Würzburg: Ergon, 2007.
  • Das Ich im Dialog mit dem Wir. Die Literarisierung kultureller Migration als kritische Auseinandersetzung mit der eigenen kollektiven Identität in Werken zeitgenössischer schwedischer Schriftstellerinnen und Schriftsteller. Würzburg: Ergon, 2006.
  • Die Todesproblematik in Goethes Roman “Die Wahlverwandtschaften.” Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 1998.
Articles and chapters
  • "Dialog, Movement, and World Entanglement: Towards a Reconceptualization of World Literature." Vergleichende Weltliteraturen / Comparative World Literatures. Eds. Dieter Lamping and Galin Tihanov. Stuttgart: J.B. Metzler, 2019. 59-79.
  • "Weltliteratur: Für oder wider ein Erzählen von Zeitgenossenschaft." Erzählen von Zeitgenossenschaft. Zur Darstellung von Zeitgeschichte in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur. Eds. Linda Karlsson Hammarfelt, Edgar Platen, Petra Platen. Munich: IUDICIUM, 2018. 213-228.
  • with Chantal Wright, “Reconceptualizing ‘World Literature’: A Bilingual Platonic Dialogue Between Literary and Translation Studies.” Translation and Translating in German Studies. A Festschrift for Raleigh Whitinger. Eds. John L. Plews and Diana Spokiene. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press, 2016. 27-44.
  • “Weltbürgertum und nationale Verstrickung in Christa Wolfs ‘Stadt der Engel oder The Overcoat of Dr. Freud’.” Triangulum. Germanistisches Jahrbuch für Estland, Lettland und Litauen, Nr. 21 (2016): 459-468.
  • “How Does Transnationalism Redefine Contemporary Literature?” Transnationalism in Contemporary German-Language Literature. Eds. Elisabeth Herrmann, Carrie Smith-Prei, and Stuart Taberner. Rochester: Camden House, 2015. 32-68.
  • “Norrland’s Regional Literature as World Literature: Per Olov Enquist’s Literary Work.” Norrland-Authors Seen From Abroad. Special Issue of Journal of Northern Studies. Guest editor Annegret Heitmann. Umeå: University of Umeå Press. Vol. 8, Nr. 1 (2014): 145-167.
  • “‘Gegenwart’ bedeutet die Zeitspanne einer Generation Anmerkungen zum Versuch, Gegenwartsliteratur zu bestimmen,” with Carsten Gansel. Entwicklungen in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur nach 1989. Eds. Carsten Gansel and Elisabeth Herrmann. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013. 7-22.
  • “Das Kind(?) Oskar. Totale Verweigerung und anarchische Aufstörung in Günter Grass´s ‚Die Blechtrommel.‘” Perturbationen oder das Prinzip Störung’ in den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften: Hybridisierung, Grenzräume, Figurationen der Störung. Eds. Carsten Gansel and Norman Ächtler. Berlin, Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2013. 147-163.
  • “Individuelle Erinnerung als kollektive Identitätsstiftung nach dem Ende des Real-Sozialismus in Daniela Dahns ‘Westwärts und nicht vergessen’ und Jana Hensels ‘Zonenkinder’.” Rhetorik der Erinnerung. Gedächtnis und Literatur in den ‘geschlossenen Gesellschaften’ des Real-Sozialismus zwischen 1945 und 1989. Ed. Carsten Gansel. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009. 369-385.

Professional associations and fellowships

  • American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)
  • Canadian Association of University Teachers of German (CAUTG)
  • German Studies Association (GSA)
  • Goethe-Gesellschaft Germany (GG)
  • Internationale Vereinigung für Germanistik (IVG)
  • Literarische Gesellschaft (Scheffelbund)
  • Verband Germanistischer Literaturwissenschaft in Schweden (GLS)
  • DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Alumni
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and Feodor Lynen Mentor

If you are planning to apply for an Alexander von Humboldt research scholarship and would like to become a postdoctoral researcher in German literatures or Cultural Studies at the University of Warwick feel free to contact me.


  • MA 1992 (Freiburg)
  • PhD 1996 (Freiburg)
  • Habilitation and Venia Legendi 2004 (Freiburg)