Visiting Lecturer in German Studies
Phone: 401-863 3060
Katrin Dettmer’s interests and areas of specialization include 20th and 21st century German literature and culture, GDR literature and intellectual life, (postdramatic) theatre and performance studies, and aesthetics of presence.
Katrin Dettmer was born in Perleberg (former GDR) and studied English and German literature at the University of Birmingham and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, where she obtained an M.A. in English literature with a thesis on history in Evelyn Waugh’s early novels.
She joined the graduate program in German Studies at Brown University in 2006. In 2012, she received her Ph.D. from Brown University and has thereafter been offered lectureships with Brown University and Leuphana Universität Lüneburg.
Dr. Dettmer’s dissertation, entitled Die Berührung der Toten: Geschichte und Performanz in Heiner Müllers Dramatik, is an interdisciplinary analysis of Heiner Müller’s dramatic work, focusing not only on the depiction of history in his texts and stage productions but also on the open dialectic created through various strategies of writing, both in text and on stage, therefore inquiring into the interplay between text and performance and to what extent they can constitute an alternative and new view on history. Müller’s production of text and his theatre work, which affect each other in a complex aesthetic system, are informed by the desire to make history available for experience. Thus, the dissertation also engages with Heiner Müller’s work as a director, thereby offering an in-depth examination of Müller’s theater theory and practice. Seeking to locate Müller and his work within the greater framework of Vergangenheitsbewältigung, the dissertation shows that Müller’s contribution to literature and theatre is the continuation of public discourse in a public space within an aesthetic framework, which creates this space in the first place.
Further research interests of Katrin Dettmer’s include German literatures after World War II and the Holocaust, which deal with issues of trauma, memory, and remembrance, and in particular the works of W. G. Sebald, Walter Kempowski, and Alexander Kluge. Her new project focuses on Vergangenheitsbewältigung as specific to the GDR. As Katrin Dettmer’s research also covers (postdramatic) theater and performance studies, she has also worked as a dramaturg for numerous productions with Brown University Theatre, including The Hamletmachine, directed by José Enrique Macián, and Gross Indecency, directed by Kym Moore.
Ph.D., Brown University
- 2011 – 2012: Dissertation Completion Award, Brown University
- 2002 – 2003: ERASMUS Scholarship, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & University of Birmingham, UK
- Internationale Heiner Müller Gesellschaft
- The German Studies Association
- The American Comparative Literature Association
- The Modern Language Association
- Performance Studies International
At Brown, Dr. Dettmer is currently teaching a survey course on Twentieth-Century German Culture and a seminar on German literature of memory after World War II and the Holocaust. Katrin Dettmer also teaches regularly for the Goethe-Institut.