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Einstein Professorship for Highly Regarded Scholar of North American Studies

Frank Kelleter Appointed Professor of North American Culture and Cultural History

№ 208/2013 from Jul 09, 2013

With the support of the Berlin Einstein Foundation, Freie Universität has appointed the North American studies scholar Frank Kelleter to a professorship. Kelleter, a cultural historian, most recently a professor at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, accepted the position as the chair of North American culture and cultural history (recently vacated by Winfried Fluck, who had held this position since 1989). Frank Kelleter is considered the world’s best-known German Americanist of his generation.

As an Einstein Professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute of Freie Universität Berlin, Frank Kelleter aims to set new standards in the research of modern media, in particular in the areas of television series and digital culture. Kelleter is already well known for his innovative work in this field, which he has been conducting since 2010 in his Research Unit funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), “Popular Seriality: Aesthetics and Practice.”

Kelleter Frank, born in 1965, earned his doctorate in 1996 from the University of Mainz with a thesis on the subject of death in modern literature. It was selected by the university as the best dissertation of the year. Kelleter’s habilitation Amerikanische Aufklärung: Sprachen der Rationalität im Zeitalter der Revolution (2002) [American Enlightenment: Languages of Rationality in the Age of Revolution] is still regarded as a standard work on the American Enlightenment.

In addition to his historical focus, Kelleter has also worked intensively on contemporary popular culture. Through essays in leading newspapers, often dealing with television series, he has brought his research to bear on public discussions. As co-initiator and applicant of several research groups for young investigators, including “Wertung und Kanon” (2007–2010) and “Literatur und Literaturvermittlung im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung” (starting in 2013), Kelleter also helps to advance the careers of young scholars in his field.

Kelleter’s numerous publications have given him a name far beyond Germany's borders. He was the only North American studies scholar from Germany besides Winfried Fluck to be invited to contribute to the prestigious project A New Literary History of America, published by Harvard University Press.

“The John F. Kennedy Institute offers a unique environment for interdisciplinary research on North America. With the best European library on the United States and Canada, outstanding international networks, excellent scholars, and a broad range of subjects, the institute plays an important role in transatlantic dialogues. As a North American studies scholar and cultural historian, I can think of no place that would be more inspiring for my work,” said Kelleter in regard to his new appointment.