Porträt von Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau vor einem Bücherregal
Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau (c)UDE

Chair of North American Cultural Studies

University of Duisburg-Essen
American Studies
R12 R04 A05
Universitätsstr. 12
45141 Essen
Office: R12 R04 A05
Phone: +49 201 183-4961
E-mail: barbara.buchenau [at] uni-duisburg-essen.de
Office Hours

Biographical Information

Barbara Buchenau is Professor of North American Studies: Literary and Cultural Studies. Her teaching and research is concerned with the fields of cultural theory, cultural history, multilingual early Americana, historical forms of popular culture, multiculturalism and contemporary literature. She is also interested in Canadian and Caribbean literature. In her teaching she addresses questions of genre, the status of non-fictional literature and the collaboration of literature with the lively arts and the entertainment industry. Asking for the uses of literature, she encourages students to explore the ability of literature and cultural products to shape the lives of those involved in its production and consumption. In her research she investigates three areas in particular: the so-called “postracial turn” in recent North American writings, the diverse forms of literary and cultural transfers and exchanges informing literary production in North America, and the cultural and political work of stereotypical and typological representations of minority groups in texts, maps and visual art. Before joining the faculty of Duisburg-Essen, she was Assistant Professor (Assistenzprofessorin) of Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Bern in Switzerland.



June 2010
Habilitation (Post-Doctoral Degree), University of Göttingen, Germany. venia legendi for American Studies. Postdoctoral thesis on the literary and scientific construction of the Iroquois in colonial North America.

Feb. 1999
Dr. phil., University of Göttingen, Germany. Doctoral thesis (summa cum laude) on the transatlantic literary and cultural politics of early U.S. American historical fiction (published in 2002)

July 1994
1. state exam in Geography and English, University of Göttingen, Germany. Thesis paper on “certainty” in the fiction of William Faulkner and George Washington Cable

Spr. 1988
Intensive Language and Culture Studies at the Colegio de España, Salamanca, Spain

Teaching Positions

Since Oct. 2012
Full Professor of North American Studies: Cultural and Literary Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

02/2010 – 09/2012
Assistant Professor (Assistenzprofessorin) of Postcolonial Literary and Cultural Studies, Department of English, University of Bern, Switzerland

2001 – Jan. 2010
Assistant Professor (wissenschaftliche Assistentin), American Studies Program, University of Göttingen, Germany

Research Positions

2004 – 2005
Visiting Scholar, Stanford University, U.S.A.

Postdoctoral researcher, Inter-American research collaboration, Göttingen

1997 – 1999
Researcher, Collaborative Research Center SFB 529 Internationality of National Literatures, University of Göttingen

1994 – 1996
Research Assistant, Collaborative Research Center SFB 309 Literary Translation and Transcoop Project “Contacts and Transfers in the Construction of National Literatures” (Proffs. A.P. Frank, K. Mueller-Vollmer)

Research Interests

  • Colonial literary and cultural history of North America
  • Atlantic and Inter-American studies
  • minority studies (theories, practices, pedagogies)
  • historical fiction
  • travel writing
  • early modern scholarship and its arts (esp. cartographical maps and representational engravings)
  • stereotypes (in words, pictures, and sounds)
  • religious typology
  • (Anti-)Urbanity in the Americas


Conferences and Projects

  • RUDESA: "Grounding Transnational American Studies" Annual Spring Academy of the Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands and the University of Duisburg-Essen www.ru.nl/nas/information/rudesa/
  • 23. Annual ASNEL Conference: “Post-Empire Imaginaries? Anglophone Literature, History and the Demise of Empires.” With Virginia Richter, May 2012 -->
  • University of Bern: “Genre Fusion in Recent Narrative Fiction: A Work-in-Progress Laboratory with Paula Moya and Ramón Saldívar.” July 2010
  • LichtenbergKolleg: “Race Discourses in the 21. Century – A Panel Debate of the Center for Modern Humanities,” June 2009 -->
  • Göttingen University: 2. Student Symposium “Postethnicity? – Identity Politics Reconsidered” (invited mentor: Paula Moya, English, Stanford), with Carola Hecke, English Teaching Methodology, July 2007 -->
  • Göttingen University: 1. Student Symposium “Postethnicity? North American Theories and Literary Practices in and outside of German Multicultural Classrooms” (invited mentor: Nicole Shelton, Psychology, Princeton), with Carola Hecke, June 2007 -->
  • Zentrale Ringvorlesung, Göttingen University, “Amerika und Deutschland: Ambivalente Begegnungen?” Organized by Frank Kelleter, Wolfgang Knöbl and Barbara Buchenau, Spring 2004 -->

Fellowships and Awards

2001 – 2009
Dorothea-Erxleben Fellow of the Department of Science and Culture, Lower Saxony, Germany

2004 – 2005
Feodor Lynen Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Publication Awards of the Göttingen School of the Humanities (for PhD-thesis)