PD Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck

Research Interests

  • American Literature and Culture
  • 19th and 20th Century Debates on Nationhood and Citizenship
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • Medicine and Literature

University Education and Degrees

2014Habilitation, Leibniz University Hannover
2000Dr. phil. American Studies at Free University Berlin, magna cum laude
1992 M.A. in American Studies and Theater & Drama at Free University Berlin (studies at Free University, Indiana University Bloomington, and Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg)

Professional Employment

since 04/2015Leibniz University Hannover
2014-2015University of Göttingen
2009-2014Leibniz University Hannover
2005-2009Free University Berlin
2002-2005 Leibniz University Hannover
2000-2001Free University Berlin

Teacher Training

  • Niedersächsisches Zertifikat Pro Lehre

Grants and Research Abroad

2006-2009Research Grant ("Eigene Stelle") by the German Research Foundation at the John F. Kennedy-Institute, Free University Berlin
2008Two Months Travel Stipend by the German Research Foundation at Mount Holyoke College and Five Colleges (Mass.), and State University of San Diego
2006Two Months Travel Stipend by the German Research Foundation at the University of South Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.
1996Travel Stipend by the Evangelisches Studienwerk at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of
California, Los Angeles
1995-1998 Ph.D. Grant, Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst

Academic Administration

2010-2014 Contact and coordinator for students in the Erasmusprogram, English Department, Leibniz University Hannover
2009-2013Representative for the non-professorial teaching staff ("Mittelbauvertreterin"), English Department, Leibniz University Hannover
2002-2005 Contact person, organizer, teacher of students without "Abitur" who wish to study English ("Immaturenbeauftragte"), English Department, Leibniz University Hannover


  • German Association for American Studies (DGfA)
  • European Association for American Studies (EAAS)
  • German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV)
  • Member of the "Netzwerk Humboldt-Stiftung"
  • Mentor in the Ph.D. Mentoring Program of the Evangelisches Studienwerk



  • No Korean is Whole - Wherever He or She may be: Erfindungen von Korean America seit 1965. Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang Verlag, 2002.

Journal and Book Articles

  • "Eden Refound(ed): Post Civil War Literary Gardening." Rereading The Machine in the Garden. Eds. Eric Erbacher, Florian Sedlmeier, and Nicole Maruo-Schröder. Frankfurt a.M.: Campus. Forthcoming.
  • "How Far Could They Go? Imprisoned Nurses, Unsexed Angels, and the Transformation of True Womanhood in Civil War America." Communicating Disease: Cultural Representations of American Medicine. Eds. Carmen Birkle and Johanna Heil. Heidelberg: Winter, 2013. 145-173.
  • "Reconstructing Race Relations: Esther Hill Hawks' Diary and her Life Among the Freedmen." American Lives. Ed. Alfred Hornung. Heidelberg: Winter, 2013. 98-102.
  • "Bible Seller and Cross-Dressed Spy: Sarah Emma Edmonds and the Debate on Authenticity." Religion in the United States. Eds. Jeanne Cortiel, Kornelia Freitag, Christine Gerhard, and Michael Wala. Heidelberg: Winter, 2011. 41-57.
  • "'The devil had looked out for his own': Remaking America through the Chinatown Missionary Experience." Chinatowns in a Transnational World. Myths and Realities of an Urban Phenomenon. Eds. Vanessa Künnemann and Ruth Mayer. New York: Routledge, 2011. 135-162.
  • "The New Rules of the Democratic Game: Emancipation, Self-Regulation, and the 'Second Founding' of The Unites States." Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Culture. Eds. Christa Buschendorf, Astrid Franke, and Johannes Voelz. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. 175-208.
  • "A Passing Era: Memory, Nation, and the Jew in American and South African Literature." Transatlantic Negotiations. Eds. Christa Buschendorf and Astrid Franke. Heidelberg: Winter, 2007. 225-242.
  • "Beyond a Postmodern Denial of Reference: Forms of Resistance in Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters." Special Issue Asian American Studies in Europe/Germany . Eds. Carmen Birkle, Wilfried Raussert, and Mita Banerjee. Amerikastudien / American Studies 51:3 (2006): 425-437.
  • "Ty Pak: Korean American Literature as 'Guilt Payment'." How Far is America from Here? Ed. Theo D'haen et al. Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2005. 481-497.
  • Otherness as Reading Process: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee." Asian American Literature in the International Context. Eds. Rocío Davis and Sämi Ludwig. Hamburg: LIT, 2002. 185-201.

Conference Papers and Invited Lectures

  • "Post-Holocaust Europe in Jewish-American Literature: Three Generations (Walter Abish, Melvin Jules Bukiet, Jonathan Safran Foer)," Habilitation lecture at Leibniz University Hannover, July 10, 2014.
  • "Foreign Relations: Jack London in Asia and the Pacific," invited lecture at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, April 29, 2014.
  • "Women, War, and Violence in the American Civil War," America: Justice, Conflict, War, EAAS Conference in The Hague, April 3-6, 2014.
  • "Eden Refound(ed): Post Civil War Literary Gardening," Rural America, DGfA Annual Conference, June 1, 2013.
  • "Handel, Netzwerke, Anpassungen: Die amerikanische Medizingeschichte als Transatlantischer Austausch," Atlantic Studies, Leibniz University Hannover, December 11, 2012.
  • "Writing Solidarity: Esther Hill Hawks and the Symbolic Economy of her Civil War Diary," DGfA Annual Conference, June 1, 2012.
  • "Deutsche Mediziner/innen in Amerika. Über den In- und Export von medizinischem Wissen quer über den Atlantik, 1730-1945," Atlantic Studies, Leibniz University Hannover, November 29, 2011.
  • "Transpazifische (Gegen)Bewegungen: Die asiatische Einwanderung in die USA in Literatur und Kunst," invited lecture at Amerikazentrum Hamburg, April 21, 2011.
  • "From Nurse to Spy: Civil War Women and Late Nineteenth-Century Politics", Literature and Medicine, Marburg, February 11-12, 2011.
  • "From Nurse to Spy: Women's Entry into Nineteenth Century Politics," invited lecture, Erlangen, January 12, 2011.
  • "'I pray to Our Heavenly Father that He will keep you & me in the way of duty & obedience': Letter Writing, Masculinity, and Civil War Visions of Christian Fellowship," National Popular Culture and American Culture Associations, joint Annual Conference, St Louis, MO., April 2010.
  • "Christianity and the Second Founding of the United States," 2nd Israeli-German Frontiers of Humanities Symposium of the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Foundation, Potsdam, October 2010.
  • "Teufel, Befreier, Kind. Das Bild Lincolns während des amerikanischen Bürgerkrieges." Abraham Lincoln: Ein amerikanischer Präsident in der Diskussion. Bayerische Amerika-Akademie, München, October 23, 2009.
  • "From Sugar Cane to Fortune Cookie: Asian American Culture as an Intervention in History," Connecting Cultures: The New Literature in English, Leibniz University, Hannover, September 2009.
  • "'The devil had looked out for his own': Remaking America through the Chinatown Missionary Experience," Chinatowns. Myths and Realities of an Urban Phenomenon in the United States and Europe, Leibniz University Hannover, September 18-20, 2008.
  • "Bible Seller and Cross-Dressed Spy: Sarah Emma Edmonds and the Debate on Authenticity," invited lecture at the John F. Kennedy-Institute, FU Berlin, 2007.
  • "Familiar Journeys, Unfamiliar Sights: A White Female Doctor and the Lessons of Reconstruction," invited lecture at Humboldt University (W.E.B. DuBois Lecture Series), Berlin, 2007.
  • "Entwaffnende Worte: Gender, Körper, und die Wiedergeburt der Vereinigten Staaten 1865-1877," Gender Studies Ringvorlesung, Hannover, January 2007.
  • "Vom Zuckerrohr zum Glückskeks: Asiatische Amerikaner zwischen Ausgrenzung und Partizipation in Literatur und Kunst," invited lecture at the Deutsche Amerika-Institute of Tübingen and Heidelberg and the Deutsches Amerikazentrum Stuttgart, January 30-February 1, 2007.
  • "Chinese Exclusion, Gender, and the Rebirth of the Nation in 19th Century America," Pacific Interactions, response lecture to papers presented by Yong Chen and Sebastian Conrad, Hannover, November 18, 2006.
  • Gender Trouble und Geschlechterkrieg: Uniformierte Engel und haushaltende Soldaten im Amerikanischen Bürgerkrieg," invited lecture at the Gender Studies Department, Hannover, January 2006.
  • "Another Kind of Whiteness: Passing as a Jew in American and South African Literature," DGfA annual conference, Frankfurt a.M., 2005.
  • "'We can't live here together': Imagining the Future Nation in Civil War Hospitals, Prisons, and Freedmen's Schools," invited lecture, Leipzig, November 26, 2004.
  • "Asian Americans and Cultural Citizenship," 'Citizenship' in Deutschland, den USA und Kanada, John F. Kennedy-Institute, Berlin 2003.
  • "'Amerikanisierung' des deutschen Universitätssystems'? Zu den historisch-kulturell unterschiedlichen Bedingungen der amerikanischen und deutschen Kultur- und Sozialförderung," Die Universität geht auf die Straße (public lecture in the central shopping street of Hannover), Summer 2003.
  • "Ty Pak: Korean-American Literature as 'Guilt Payment'," EAAS, Leiden, May 22, 2003.
  • "Re-reading Dictee from a Berlin 1989 perspective," EAAS Conference, Lisbon 1999.
  • "Von Frauenstudien zu Gender Studies: Wie sich das Bild Marilyn Monroes über die Jahrzehnte verändert hat," Was wollen die Gender Studies? Evangelisches Studienwerk, Villigst, Summer 1997.

Organization of Conference Panels and Workshops

  • "Workshop for Ph.D. students," Network for American Studies in Northern Germany (NoNeNo), Leibniz University Hannover, May 23-24, 2014.
  • "Fan Culture," symposium with Lucia Krämer (Leibniz University Hannover), Lisa Kuppler (editor, author of fan fiction, blogger), and Bettina Soller, Leibniz University Hannover, July 2010.
  • "Alternative Economies: Gift, Theft, Gambling," workshop with Bärbel Tischleder, German Association of American Studies, DGfA, June 2010.
  • "Reconstruction, Representation, and the Rules of the 'Democratic Game'," Interdisciplinary Conference at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Free University Berlin, June 19-20, 2009 (financed by the German Research Foundation).
  • "The Book as Medium: Material, Body, Character," workshop with Dorothea Löbbermann, German Association of American Studies, June 10, 2006.
  • "Re-Writing America: Multi-Ethnic Perspectives in Literature and the Media," Teachers' Academy Blaubeuren, November 18-21, 2004.
  • "Gender Studies: An Interdisciplinary Conference," Evangelisches Studienwerk, Villigst, Sommer 1997 (together with two other organizers).

Teaching Experience

Georg-August University, Göttingen, Germany, Winter Semester 2014/15

  • A Cultural History of American Literature III: From Realism to the Mid-20th Century (Lecture; Reading Group, WS 2014/15)
  • America and the Holocaust (Hauptseminar, WS 2014/15)
  • Transatlantic Relations: The German-American Encounter (Proseminar, WS 2014/15)
  • Cultural History and Rhetoric: Gender, Race, and the American Civil War (WS 2014/15)

Leibniz University Hannover

Introductory Lectures

  • "American Literature and Culture I: From the Beginnings to 1850," Fall 2009-Fall 2013
  • "American Literature and Culture II: From 1830 to the Present," Spring 2009-Spring 2014
  • "Introduction to Literary and Media Studies," Spring 2002-Spring 2005
  • "Introduction to American Culture (Literature and Art)," Spring 2002

Undergraduate Seminars

  • "'The Glue That Binds Us': Immigration in the U.S., Canada, and Germany," Spring 2010
  • Women's Humor," Spring 2004
  • "Asia on my Mind: Stereotypes of Asia(ns) in a Historical Perspective 1850-2000," Spring 2003
  • "New Directions in United States Ethnic Literatures," Fall 2002
  • Contemporary Asian American Literature," Spring 2002

Graduate Seminars

  • "American Memories," Spring 2014
  • "America and the Holocaust," Fall 2013
  • "American Modernism," Spring 2013
  • "Transpacific Reflections: From America to China and Back Again," Fall 2012
  • "Transatlantic Reflections: Germany, America, and Vice Versa," Spring 2012
  • "Narratives of Healing from the Early Colonial Period Until Today," Fall 2011
  • "Anti-Intellectualism in America," Spring 2011
  • "The Civil Rights Movement," Fall 2011
  • "Bestsellers, Blockbusters, and the Shaping of American Culture," Spring 2010
  • "Education in America," Fall 2009
  • "Looking at the 'Long Century': Visual Culture, Literature, and Imaginary Nationbuilding 1800-1880," Spring 2009
  • "Imagining the Nation: Immigration in Germany, Canada, and the US," Fall 2004
  • "The American Civil War," Spring 2004
  • "Literature and Photography: From the 19th Century to Modernism," Fall 2003
  • "The American Family in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries," Spring 2003
  • "Spectacles of the Body in 19th Century America," Fall 2002

Free University Berlin Spring 2000-Fall 2001; Fall 2006

Undergraduate Seminars

  • "Einführung in die amerikanische Geschichte und Kultur," Fall 2001
  • "Amerikanische Gewinner des Literaturnobelpreises," Spring 2001
  • "Ethnic Postmodernism," Fall 2000
  • "Asian American Cultural Politics," Spring 2000

Graduate Seminars

  • "American Democracy and the Reconstruction Era," Fall 2006