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Heike Paul is professor and chair of American Studies at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, director of the Bavarian American-Academy in Munich, and member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. 


She is the author of The Myths That Made America and four other monographs as well as numerous essays. She is editor and co-editor of essay collections on populism, future studies, reeducation, critical regionalism, and television series. Her research fields include gender studies, African American studies, cultural mobility, tacit knowledge, and contemporary American literature. She heads the "Global Sentimentality Project" and is a member of the project "Reeducation Revisited: Transnational and Comparative Perspectives on the Post-World War II Period in the US, Japan, and Germany."


Heike Paul is engaged in public humanities projects and frequently contributes to news forums on topics of US culture and politics. In 2018, she was awarded the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz Prize by the German Research Foundation.

Education & Career



Chair of American Studies

FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg


Chair of American Literary Studies

Leipzig University (offer rejected)


Professor of American Studies

Humboldt-University Berlin (offer rejected)


Assistant Professor

at the American Studies Institute

Leipzig University


Lecturer at the American Studies Institute

Leipzig University


Tutor (Women’s Studies)

at the Institute for English and American Studies

Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt/Main


Teaching Assistant (German Studies)

University of Washington, Seattle



Habilitation in American Studies

Leipzig University


Dr. phil. in American Studies (summa cum laude)

Leipzig University


M.A. in American Studies, English Studies, and Political Science

Goethe-University Frankfurt

Fellowships, Grants & Awards

2023-: Project "Semantiken des Verzichts - Perspektive auf die Wohlstandsgesellschaft und ihre Kosten" funded by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities

2022 -: DFG-funded Research Training Group 2726 “The Sentimental in Literature, Culture, and Politics,” spokesperson, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

2021:  Bayerischer Maximiliansorden für Wissenschaft und Kunst 

2020/21: Senior Fellowship at the Elisabeth List-Program for Gender Studies, University of Graz, Austria

2020 and 2021: Fellowship at the Thomas Mann House, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles

2019: Member of the Bavarian Academy for the Sciences and Humanities

2019: Villa Vigoni Dialogue on “Civil Religion and Civil Sentimentalism: Cultural and Political Imaginaries of Order and Belonging”

2018: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize

2018: Fellowship of the International Forum for US Studies (IFUSS) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

2014, 2017: Harris Distinguished Professorship, Dartmouth College

2012-2018: DFG-funded Research Training Group 1718 “Presence and Tacit Knowledge,” spokesperson, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

2009, 2011, 2015, 2019: Funding by the German Academic Exchange Service for Summer School Program “Transatlantic American Studies” at the Bavarian American Academy

2010: Conference and publication funding by the Vinzl Foundation, the American Consulate in Munich, the German-American Institute Nuremberg, and the Unibund e.V. for “German-American Encounters after 1945” (organized with Katharina Gerund)

2009: Conference and publication funding by the Thyssen Foundation for “Pirates, Drifters, Fugitives: Figures of Mobility in the US and Beyond” (organized/edited with Alexandra Ganser and Katharina Gerund)

2008, 2010: Faculty Enrichment Grant (FEG) and Faculty Research Grant (FRG), research fellow at the University of Toronto, York University, and Chatham Historical Society

2005-2010: DFG-funded Research Training Group 706 “Cultural Hermeneutics: Reflections of Difference and Transdifference,” deputy spokesperson (2nd funding phase), FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

2003-2004: Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies (Wissenschaftskolleg), Berlin

1999: DAAD one-year postdoctoral fellowship, Visiting Fellow at Harvard University

1995, 1998: Travel and Research Grants by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Research Foundation (DFG)

1997: Library Fellowship at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Berlin

1995-1997: Doctoral Fellowship at the DFG-funded Research Training Group “Gender Difference and Literature” at LMU Munich

1990-1991: Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, University of Washington, Seattle (German Academic Exchange Service)

Fellowship, Grants, & Awards
Service to the Profession

Service to the Profession

  • Elected member of the DFG-Review Board for European and American Literature and Culture Studies (since 2024)

  • Vice chairwoman of the coordination committee of the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Joseph-Schelling-Forum (since 2021)

  • Member of the Advisory Board of the “Deutschlandjahr 2018/19” organized by the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt), Berlin, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institute and the Federation of German Industry (BDI)

  • Board member (since 2007) and director (since 2017) of the Bavarian American Academy (BAA) in Munich

  • Vice-President of the German Association for American Studies (2014-2017) and co-editor of its monograph series (since 2014); board member of the journal Amerikastudien/American Studies (since 2019)

  • Teacher training seminars (on a regular basis) in Munich, Nuremberg, Dillingen, Würzburg, Bamberg, and Berlin on “Myths that Made America,” “Television Series,” “National Holidays in Popular Culture,” “The American West,” “Constructions of Masculinity,” “Contemporary Postcolonial Fiction,” “Post-Racial America?,” “Populism,” “1968”, etc.

  • Mentoring for Women in the Academy (Ariadne-Program FAU, Christine De Pizan Program, Mainz, and others) (since 2012)

  • Reviewer (on a regular basis) for the German Research Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, Fulbright, and the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation

  • Member of the evaluation group for English and American Studies of the German Council of Science and Humanities (2010-2013)

  • Board member of the German-American Institute (DAI) and its support association (since 2006)

  • Contact/Liaison for the Fulbright Commission (since 2005)

  • Peer reviewer for Amerikastudien/American Studies (2005-2011)


  • The Sixties in Retrospect: Civil Rights, the Women’s Movement and the New Left

  • Women’s Writing and the American Dream

  • National Identity and Cultural Memory in American Film

  • Film, Soap, and Gender

  • The Literatures of Asian-America

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Moby Dick: Text and Contexts

  • Growing Up

  • Literature of the Reconstruction Era

  • James Baldwin: Novelist, Essayist, Critic

  • Immigrant Fiction

  • Literarische Neuerscheinungen

  • Campus Novels: Der Literaturwissenschaftler als Romanheld

  • Nobel Prize Winners in American Literature

  • Benjamin Franklin and American Beginnings

  • How to Make a Long Story Short: Readings in an American Genre

  • Modernism in Black and White

  • Transatlantic Love

  • Writing and Re-Writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin

  • American Women Poets

  • Detroit: Film, Fiction, Music of an American City

  • Wissenschaftliche Neuerscheinungen

  • Captivity Narratives Past and Present

  • “Unspeakable Things Spoken:” Representations of Slavery in Film and Fiction

  • The Historical Imagination

  • Jewish American Literature

  • Gender, Memory and the Vietnam War

  • Margaret Atwood

  • Chick Lit in Transatlantic Perspective (with Doris Feldmann)

  • American Popular Culture in the US and in Germany

  • More than Aloha: Hawaii and Euro-American Discourses of Exoticism

  • Canadian Crimes

  • Amerikanisierung und Reeducation nach 1945 in Nürnberg und Berlin

  • American Beginnings / American Foundational Mythology

  • Literary and Cultural Studies of the Americas (with Andrea Pagni)

  • The History, Culture, and Literature of Slavery in/and Canada

  • Amerikanische Fernsehserien (with Christoph Ernst)

  • Conversion, Assimilation, Reeducation (with Alexandra Ganser)

  • Books That Changed America

  • The American Civil War (with Herbert Sirois)

  • Consumer Cultures in America

  • Contemporary Canadian Fiction

  • Präsenzphänomene in der amerikanischen Kultur und Literatur

  • Mythos Cowboy (with Tanja Roppelt)

  • Cold War Culture & Politics (with Herbert Sirois)

  • Transnational American Studies (with Alexandra Ganser)

  • From the Boston Tea Party to the Tea Party Movement (with Herbert Sirois)

  • Rural America: History, Culture, and Literature

  • Der Vietnamkrieg und die amerikanische Gesellschaft (with Herbert Sirois)

  • 19th-Century Popular Culture in Britain and the US (with Doris Feldmann)

  • The American West

  • “The Age of Reform": Progressivism in America (with Herbert Sirois)

  • Critical Mixed-Race Studies (with Cedric Essi)

  • American Prisons (with Herbert Sirois)

  • Public Feeling in America

  • Contemporary Postcolonial Fiction

  • “Wie aus Feinden Freunde wurden?”: Die deutsch-amerikanischen Beziehungen seit 1945 im Kontext von Reeducation, Kulturpolitik und Amerikanisierung (with Herbert Sirois)

  • Postracial America?

  • Der “affective turn” in den Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften (with Frank Adloff)

  • Washington, D.C. (with Herbert Sirois)

  • Empire Studies (with Herbert Sirois)

  • From the KKK to the Alt-Right: White Supremacy in American Culture (with Katharina Gerund)

  • Sentimentality

  • Hollywood Novels

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