Prof. Dr. Heike Paul
American Studies, Department of English and American Studies, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Heike Paul’s work has contributed to a greater understanding of American literature and culture and of American-German relations past and present, in recognition of which she will receive the 2018 Leibniz Prize. From an early stage of her career, Paul focused on the observation of transatlantic relations in the context of a broadly defined concept of migration. She often adopted a cultural studies perspective, which takes the experiences of socioculturally marginalised groups as its starting point. Her habilitation thesis, for example, examined the representation of African Americans in German literature between 1815 and the start of the First World War. Later on, she studied conflicts between rural and urban areas in the USA and elucidated how these became the object of cultural debates. In her comprehensive study ‘The Myths That Made America’ (2014), she traces the construction and visualisation by the media of US founding and transformation myths. Paul’s research brings together questions and methods in literature, media, social and cultural studies with a topicality and relevance that give it impact far beyond her own field.
Heike Paul studied in Frankfurt am Main and Seattle before joining the DFG Research Training Group ‘Gender Difference and Literature’ at LMU Munich and earning her doctorate at the University of Leipzig. In 2004 she completed her habilitation there with a thesis on ‘Kulturkontakt und Racial Presences’ [Culture Contact and Racial Presences] before accepting a professorship in American studies at FAU. She has also had research stays at Harvard, in Toronto and at Dartmouth College.