Katharina von Hammerstein
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor
Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), 1991
Areas of Expertise
Eighteenth through early twentieth-century German literature and culture; Self and Other; women’s literature; colonial and postcolonial German-African connections; human rights/humanitarianism and literature; German film
Prof. Katharina von Hammerstein is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, Professor of German Studies and member of the Human Rights Institute’s leadership team at the University of Connecticut, USA. She received her Ph.D. in German Literature at the U.S. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and holds a degree in Mathematics, German Studies, and Education from the University of Göttingen, Germany. Her interdisciplinary and international research is located at the intersections of Literary Criticism, Postcolonial Studies, Gender Studies, War Studies and Human Rights research.
Prof. von Hammerstein’s twelve book publications and more than 70 articles investigate German and Austrian literature, art and nonfictional texts from the 18th through the 21st centuries. Her analyses focus on: human rights issues and collective conflict/war; white authors’ representations of Black people in German-language texts and Black authors’ perspectives on Germany around 1900; German women authors’ self-(re)presentations as political practice between the pre-revolutionary German 1840s and the Weimar Republic; representations of female happiness from the Enlightenment to the turn of the century; and German Romanticism around 1800 (she is internationally recognized as the leading expert on Sophie Mereau-Brentano). Prof. von Hammerstein also published on interdisciplinary curriculum development, i.e., on connecting the learning of second languages with courses in history, art history, political science, geography, film. Currently, von Hammerstein is investigating Ovaherero and German, nonliterary and literary, oral and written testimonies about the German-Ovaherero Colonial War and Ovaherero Genocide (1904-1908) in the former colony of German Southwest Africa (today’s Namibia) and its aftermath.
Her scholarly background comes to bear in her teaching, for example, in her graduate courses on: German Romanticism; Self-Writings and Writing Yourself; Colonial and Postcolonial German-African Connections; Love in German Literature; the 1848 German Revolution. She includes film and other media of artistic representation (e.g., UConn’s extensive and precious Kaethe Kollwitz collection) whenever appropriate.
Prof. von Hammerstein has given numerous presentations in the United States (incl. Harvard), Canada and Germany as well as the UK (incl. Oxford), France (incl. the Sorbonne), Austria, Italy, Spain, Romania, Russia, Namibia, and South Africa. She is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the interdisciplinary and interinstitutional transatlantic Connecticut (USA) / Baden-Württemberg (Germany) Human Rights Research Consortium.
For fun, she loves movies, inspiring discussions, rollerblading, skiing, and travel!