Centre for Australian Studies



Jan Alber

Jan Alber is Professor of English Literature and Cognition at the University of Aachen.

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He is the author of Narrating the Prison (Cambria Press, 2007) and Unnatural Narrative: Impossible Worlds in Fiction and Drama (University of Nebraska Press, 2016). Alber received fellowships and research grants from the British Academy, the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the Humboldt Foundation. In 2013, the German Association of University Teachers of English awarded him the prize for the best Habilitation written between 2011 and 2013. Between 2014 and 2016, he worked as a COFUND (Marie-Curie) Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) in Denmark. His project focused on the negotiation of Aboriginal identities in contemporary Australian narratives. Alber is currently President of the International Society for the Study of Narrative (ISSN).


Keyvan Allahyari

Keyvan is a PhD Candidate at the Australian Centre in the University of Melbourne. Entitled ‘Fielding Peter Carey’, his project accounts for a method of reading Carey’s oeuvre in relation to the promises and perils of the global publishing industry since the early 1970s.

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He is interested in Carey’s work as part and product of the neo-liberal regime of publishing that has commodified his celebrity and his fiction. He has published on Carey’s archive and the literary field in JASAL. His forthcoming article on Carey’s Jack Maggs and world literature will be published in Antipodes later in 2018. His interview with the American-Australian writer Dominic Smith was published in Antipodes in June 2016. He also acted as the Postgraduate Representative of ASAL (Association for the Study of Australian Literature) between 2015 and 2018. He has taught in the areas of Australian literature, modern and contemporary literature and critical theory.


Katrin Althans

Dr. Katrin Althans holds an M.A. in English literature and language, German literature and language, and Communication Studies from the University of Münster, Germany, as well as a German law degree.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]While doing research for her dissertation on Aboriginal Gothic, she stayed at the University of New South Wales, with a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service. She completed her PhD at the University of Bonn, Germany. Her thesis was published as Darkness Subverted: Aboriginal Gothic in Black Australian Literature and Film in 2010 and was nominated for the Walter McRae Russell Award for Literary Scholarship 2011.

In her research, she focuses on Postcolonial and Indigenous Studies as well as law and literature and cross-media studies. Katrin has published widely in the area of Australian literature and has combined postcolonial approaches with the Gothic, as well as with law and literature studies. She has held positions as Lecturer at the universities of Münster, Duisburg-Essen, and Cologne and since 2016 has been working as a Research Assistant at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.

Currently she is pursuing her post-doc project entitled “Stories of Refugees: Renegotiating Human Rights and Sovereignty in Contemporary Anglophone Literatures” and will be hosting the biannual conference of the German Association for Australian Studies on “Migration and Refugees” in 2018.[/read]

Heinz Antor

Heinz Antor, Professor of English Literature, studied English, French, and Applied Linguistics at Erlangen and Oxford (UK).

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]He completed his PhD in post-war twentieth-century British fiction in Würzburg and wrote his habilitation on the history of the English campus novel from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. From 1986 to 1995 he taught at the University of Würzburg. In 1995 he became Professor of English Literature at the University of Düsseldorf, and in 1998/9 he additionally worked in that capacity at the University of Bremen. In 1999 he was appointed Professor of English Literature at Cologne. From 2001 to 2005, Antor was President of the Association for the Study of the New English Literatures (ASNEL, now GAPS, Association for Anglophone Postcolonial Studies).

He is editor of Anglistik: International Journal of English Studies, the official journal of Deutscher Anglistenverband. Antor has published 11 books, among which there are English Literatures in International Contexts (2000), Inter- und Transkulturelle Studien: Theoretische Grundlagen und Interdisziplinäre Praxis (2006), Fremde Kulturen verstehen – fremde Kulturen lehren: Theorie und Praxis der Vermittlung interkultureller Kompetenz (2007) and From Interculturalism to Transculturalism: Mediating Encounters in Cosmopolitan Contexts (2010).

He teaches anglophone Australian literature from the colonial period to the present and has published numerous articles on Australian fiction, for example on Peter Carey, David Malouf, Richard Flanagan, Sam Watson, Andrew McGahan and others.[/read]

Amelie Bernzen

Amelie Bernzen grew up in Sydney and Germany and has been Post-doctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer of economic geography at the Institute of Geography/University of Cologne, Germany since 2013.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]Her PhD (also at Cologne) dealt with global standards, quality and risk management in organic food imports to Germany and Australia. While her dedication to Australian Studies is ongoing, her more recent research focuses on socio-economic analyses around small-scale-farming, land-use change and food security in coastal Bangladesh and India. She has also been Chair of the Association for Australian Studies (Gesellschaft für Australienstudien e.V.) since 2014.[/read]

Hanne Birk

Dr. Hanne Birk studied English and German Literatures and Cultures as well as Philosophy in Freiburg, Germany and at Brock University, Ontario, Canada.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]From 2003 to 2005 she was a Research Assistant in the Collaborative Research Centre ‘Memory Cultures’ (University of Giessen, Germany). In 2003 she was granted a research stay at the Aboriginal Research and Resource Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney. In 2008 her dissertation on culture-specific narrative stagings of remembering in contemporary novels by Indigenous authors from Australia, Canada and Aotearoa/New Zealand was published.

She did research and worked in London, UK and Heraklion, Crete from 2007 to 2009. Since 2012 she has been a Postdoc at the Department of English, American, and Celtic Studies, University of Bonn. Research, teaching and publications focus on Indigenous Literatures and Cultures, Postcolonial Theories, Pacific Literatures, Narratologies and Memory Studies.[/read]

Eva Bischoff

PD Dr. Eva Bischoff teaches International History at Trier University since 2011. In her most recent project (her “Habilitation”), she investigated the history of a group of Australian Quaker settler families and explores the ambiguous roles Quakers played in the processes of settler colonialism.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”] Methodologically speaking, she employed the central analytical tool of the recently developed Histoire Croisée, namely focusing on different échelles or scales. One of the key questions of the study is: How did Quakers, considering their pacifism and involvement in humanitarian projects, negotiate the violence of the frontier?

From 2005 to 2010, Eva Bischoff taught North American History and Postcolonial Studies at the Universities of Cologne, Bonn, and Münster. From April 2010 to September 2011, she worked as a Lecturer at the Department of North American History of the John-F.-Kennedy Institute at the Freie Universität Berlin, and as a Postdoc Researcher at the DFG Research Center on “Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood” (SFB 700).


Boris Braun

Boris Braun is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Cologne and member of the Academic Advisory Board of the Association for Australian Studies.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]He has published extensively on urban development and economic change in Australia. His further research interests include social and economic aspects of climate change, natural hazards and environmental management in regions such as Western Europe, Australia and South/South East Asia.

His current research projects include DFG, ATN and DAAD funded studies on airport development and urban land use change both in Australia and other parts of the world.[/read]

Sebastian Fastenrath

Sebastian Fastenrath is a Research Fellow, Lecturer and PhD candidate at the Institute of Geography/University of Cologne.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]His research focuses on urban and regional sustainable development, the building and construction sector, socio-technological change, and governance processes.

Sebastian’s PhD project deals with sustainability transition pathways in the building sector using case studies from Brisbane (Australia) and Freiburg (Germany). Parts of his work were already published in international high-ranked journals. Sebastian is currently holding the Fellowship Grant for excellent doctoral students provided by the Graduate School of Geosciences (GSGS), University of Cologne. Click here for his homepage. [/read]

Norbert Finzsch

Norbert Finzsch, Professor Emeritus of History, studied History and German Literature at Cologne and Bordeaux.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]He completed his PhD in American History in Berkeley and Cologne and wrote his habilitation on the French occupation of Germany, 1794 to 1814. From 1990 to 1992 be served as Deputy Director of the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC. In 1992 he accepted a professorship at the University of Hamburg. In 2001 he was appointed Professor of History at Cologne, in which capacity he researched and taught until 2016.

Finzsch has published about the history of genocides in North America. Starting with a comparative approach to genocide history, studying the histories of indigenous peoples in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, he morphed into one of the few German historians who work on Australia. In 2003 he was a awarded a fellowship by the HRC in Canberra for the study of Aboriginal history. Since then he has published numerous articles on Australian history. [/read]

Anke Frank

Anke Frank currently works as a Postdoc within the Rangeland Ecology and Range Management Group of PD Dr Anja Linstädter at the Botanical Institute of the University of Cologne.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]Her main interests are arid zone and rangeland ecology, impacts of introduced species and predator-prey interactions. She was awarded her PhD (Topic: The effects of grazing on flora and fauna in central Australia) from the University of Sydney in 2010. The same year, she started a 4-year Postdoc-position (Topic: The role of feral cats in the small mammal declines in northern Australia) first at James Cook University, then the Northern Territory Government and finally the University of Tasmania.

She is a Research Associate at the University of Tasmania and keeps collaborating with colleagues from the University of Tasmania and the University of Sydney. Her most recent work in Australia involved a citizen science project (Topic: The effects of cats and dogs on wildlife in backyards in Hobart) and an international interdisciplinary workshop on chemical ecology and predator-prey interactions.

During her PhD and her Postdoc she taught in a variety of courses, among them Macquarie University: Behavioural ecology; University of Sydney: Ecological Methods, Ecological Principles for Environmental Scientists, Wildlife Ecology; University of Tasmania: Conservation Biology and Wildlife Management.


Andrea Gutenberg

Andrea Gutenberg, Professor of English Studies, studied English, French, Political Science and German at the universities of Bonn, Cologne and Exeter/GB.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]She completed her PhD in English literature in 1999 and finished her habilitation on body concepts, sexuality and morality in British narrative fiction (1910-1940) in 2009 at the University of Cologne. In 1999 and 2000 she held a postdoctoral scholarship at the University of Munich (LMU) and was a member of the postgraduate school on “Gender difference and literature”. From 2001 to 2003 she worked as a Research Assistant in a Cologne-based DFG project on “Marginality and transgression in English modernity from the perspective of gender studies”. Since 2004, she has held a position as Lecturer in English Literature and Teaching English as a Foreign Language at the University of Cologne. She was appointed senior lecturer in 2016.

Gutenberg’s publications are predominantly about British culture and literature but because of her strong interest in postcolonial theory and migration, Australian literature has been (and will continue to be) a focus in her seminars. She also works on teaching Australian culture and literature in secondary schools.[/read]

Oliver Haag

Dr. Oliver Haag is Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Transcultural Studies, Vienna, and Visiting Professorial Fellow at Queen Mary’s College, University of Madras.

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In 2018, Oliver is Guest Researcher at the Linnaeus University Center for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Sweden. His research interests lie in the areas of European formations of Indigeneity, postcolonial and whiteness theory, German imperialism and transnational history. Oliver has co-edited a book on ego-histoire and Indigenous Studies, Ngapartji Ngapartji: Reciprocal Engagement (Australian National University Press, 2014). His latest book – entitled The Persistence of Race from the Wilhelmine Empire to National Socialism (Berghahn Books, 2017) – is concerned with cultural narratives of race in Germany. With Eva Schandevijl he has completed a special issue of National Identities (Routledge) and, with Linda Westphalen, a special issue of JEASA on Ruby Langford Ginibi. Oliver’s scholarship has appeared, inter alia, in Continuum, Aboriginal History and Australian Aboriginal Studies. He is co-editor of the bilingual Australian Studies Journal (Zeitschrift für Australienstudien).


Henriette von Holleuffer

Henriette von Holleuffer is a historian. She holds a PhD and M.A. from the University of Hamburg.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”] Her academic research focuses on Commonwealth history, the global displacement of refugees, and tropical landscape design. In the past she has worked as a journalist in Sydney, as a research assistant at the University of Hamburg (Department of U.S. and Canadian History), and as a public relations adviser at the State Ministry of Nature and Conservation (Schleswig-Holstein). She held a DAAD research scholarship for Australia which started her particular interest in Australian history. Von Holleuffer has published work on Australian, American and Canadian migration and discovery history. She was historical adviser for Australian history at Gruner & Jahr Publishing House (Hamburg) and is the current co-editor of the Australian Studies Journal/ Zeitschrift für Australienstudien. Von Holleuffer works as journalist and media adviser. She is a member of the Australian Historical Association (AHA).[/read]

Julia Hoydis

Julia Hoydis teaches Anglophone literatures and cultures and is Assistant Professor at the chair of Prof. Heinz Antor, University of Cologne.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]She studied English, Media Studies, and Philosophy at Cologne, receiving her M.A. in 2006; she also holds a diploma in dance from the Rambert School/Brunel University, London. She completed her doctoral dissertation focusing on ethics and historiography in the works of Amitav Ghosh in 2010 in Cologne (published 2011). Currently she is working on her Post-doctoral project on the perception and management of risk in the English novel from the 18th to the 21st century. Since 2010, Julia has been an active member of the Association for Anglophone Postcolonial Studies (GAPS).

Her publications include articles on contemporary Indian fiction, diaspora, gender studies, and black speculative fiction; she has edited special issues on 21st century literature (Anglistik 26.2, 2015) and on “Doing Science: Texts, Patterns, Practices” (with Nina Engelhardt; Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 42.3; forthcoming September 2017). She is also assistant editor of ANGLISTIK: International Journal of English Studies.

Her main research interests are literature and science, the English novel, gender studies, new English literatures and postcolonial criticism (in particular South Asia, Canada, and Australia). Her teaching and research focuses on postcolonial adaptation studies and narratives of risk and includes, amongst others, works by Australian writers such as Tim Winton, Richard Flanagan, and Kate Jennings.[/read]

Bentley James

Dr. Bentley James, MA Linguistics, PhD Anthropology Australian National University has lived in remote N.T Indigenous communities since 1989. He is currently tutoring Yolngu Studies at Charles Darwin University.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]A speaker of Yolngu languages including Yan-nhangu his interest in anthropological linguistics lie in decolonising research praxis, liberation politics and bilingual bimodal education. He is currently writing on ritual, economic and geographical domains of Indigenous life. His recent publications are in archaeology, poetics, sign, shellfish lore and innovations in ethnographic, education and linguistic research.

His engagement with Yan-nhangu people produced the first Yan-nhangu dictionary (1993-2003), ethnography, Time and Tide in the Crocodile Islands: Change and Continuity in Yan-nhangu Marine Identity (2009) and the Yan-nhangu Atlas and Illustrated Dictionary of the Crocodile Islands (2014).

He initiated a family of award winning collaborative projects with friend and co-researcher Baymarrwangga including the Crocodile Islands Initiative (CII), Genealogical/Geographical Traditional Owner Mapping, the Crocodile Islands Rangers and Junior Rangers programs, online Yan-nhangu Ecological Knowledge data base, Cultural Heritage programs, Yan-nhangu ‘language nests’ for pre-school aged children and Bilingual Bimodal resources. [/read]

Piers Kelly

Piers Kelly is a linguistic anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena.

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Piers Kelly is a linguistic anthropologist whose research is concerned with the development of graphic codes in small-scale societies, including emergent writing systems invented by non-literate communities in West Africa and the Asia-Pacific. He is currently investigating the practice of message stick communication in Indigenous Australia with a view to understanding its origins, history, pragmatics and comparative significance. He has previously worked as an etymologist of Aboriginal words in Australian English for the Australian National Dictionary Centre and as a linguist with the National Commission on Indigenous People, Philippines. He is co-editor of Skin, kin and clan: The dynamics of social categories in Indigenous Australia (ANU Press, 2018).


Konstanze Kutzbach

Konstanze Kutzbach holds a PhD in English Philology. She is currently working as a Lecturer of English didactics and coordinator of the MA of Education Study Programme for the English Department/University of Cologne.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]Her research interests combine didactic perspectives and literary/cultural criticism, focusing on the intersection between representations of identity and cultures in the context of school education. Her paper delivered at the conference “Nature and Environment in Australia” (Cologne, October 2016), “Australian Tropes of Nature: Representation and Appropriation in EFL Teaching” (forthcoming: pedocs, 2017), assesses the representation of Australian identity in English school teaching from a perspective of postcolonial scepticism concerning appropriate representation of cultures and identities in their complexity and fluidity.

This interest also extends to her academic teaching: “Teaching Australia in Postcolonial and Intercultural Perspective” (summer semester 2018) will explore the theoretical question of representing cultural identities in view of lesson and sequence planning for school teaching at lower and upper secondary levels, with a special focus on the genres of fiction and short film.

She was also involved in the organization and coordination of the Dr R Marika Chair for Australian Studies at the English Department of the University of Cologne (from 2010-2014).[/read]

Birgit Neumann

Birgit Neumann is Professor of English Literature/ Anglophone Studies at the University of Duesseldorf and member of several international research networks; she had guest professorships at the Universities of Cornell/Ithaca and Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]Her research is dedicated to the study of the poetics and politics of Anglophone literatures, to world literatures and transcultural exchange, to postcolonial ecocriticism as well as to intermedial configurations in postcolonial fiction. She is author, co-author and editor of a range of books and articles that explore post/colonial modes of articulation in literature and film.

Her current research projects focus on the polycentric network of Anglophone world literatures and on postcolonial ekphrasis/ literary visuality. Together with Juergen Reulecke she is general editor of the series Forms of Remembering/Formen der Erinnerung (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, since 2004). Recent publications include co-edited volumes on Anglophone World Literatures (Special Issue Anglia, 2017) and on Literary Environments: Ecocritical Theories and Ethics in Anglophone Literatures (anglistik & englischunterricht, 2018) as well as a number of articles on verbal-visual configurations in Anglophone Literatures. She is currently writing a monograph on Postcolonial Ekphrasis and Counter-Visions in Anglophone Literatures – Contacts, Contests and Translations.[/read]

Knut Olawsky

Knut J. Olawsky has been Senior Linguist and Manager at the Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre (MDWg) in Kununurra, Western Australia since 2005.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]He is specialised in language documentation, field linguistics and endangered languages and has published grammars of Dagbani (Ghana), Urarina (Peru) before entering research on the Miriwoong language (North-western Australia). In his current role as senior linguist of MDWg he is engaged in the revitalisation of the Miriwoong language of the East Kimberley region. His academic background includes a PhD from Düsseldorf (Germany) as well as postdoctoral positions at the University of California, Berkeley and at La Trobe University (Melbourne). His expertise in endangered languages with a focus on Australia has led to teaching engagements at various German universities, including University of Cologne, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, and University of Konstanz.[/read]

Christina Ringel

Christina Ringel is a PhD candidate in the English Department/University of Cologne. Her research focuses on possession in the Miriwoong language (non-Pama-Nyungan, Jarrakan, Australia).

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Christina studied Linguistics at Paderborn University and Heinrich Heine University Duesseldorf with a focus on language acquisition, computer linguistics and language diversity. As a Research Assistant and Lecturer at Prof. D. Adone’s Chair of Applied English Linguistics Christina co-organised workshops and guest lectures about Indigenous languages of Australia. Her current research interests include endangered spoken and signed languages and their revitalisation, typology, and the morphology/syntax interface. Her work with the Miriwoong people was inspired by a six-month internship at Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre and supported by grants from DAAD and FEL. Christina’s most recent conference papers were concerned with linguistic research methods in remote Australia, contributions of linguistics to Native Title Claims, definiteness and possession in Miriwoong, and the influence of identification with territory and language on language vitality. Until April 2017 she served as Events Coordinator of the Centre for Australian Studies.


Geoffrey Rodoreda

Geoff Rodoreda is a lecturer in the English Department/University of Stuttgart, Germany. He studied Social and Political Theory, Media Theory and Journalism in the city he grew up in, Sydney, Australia.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]He then worked as a journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Adelaide, Sydney and Darwin before moving to Germany in 1996. In Germany, he has worked as a freelance writer, editor, translator and teacher. In 2009 he joined the English Department in Stuttgart, where he teaches courses on Australian literature and culture, African literature, and British literature and culture. His PhD, completed in 2016, examined the impact of the 1992 High Court Mabo decision on discourses of land and history in contemporary Australian fiction. [/read]

Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp

Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp is Professor of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at the University of Bonn, Germany.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]Her main research interests are postcolonial studies and eighteenth-century British literature and culture in a comparative European perspective. She is the author of Die verordnete Kultur: Stereotypien der australischen Literaturkritik (1990) – a study of the history of literary criticism in Australia – and Die Kunst der Kritik (2000), a study on the third Earl of Shaftesbury’s concept of criticism. She has edited three collections of essays on aspects of cultural transfer in 18th-century Europe as well as an anthology of Contemporary Indian Short Stories (2006).

She has published numerous articles on postcolonial theory and literatures, especially on Australian literature and culture. She has recently edited, together with Elisabeth Bähr, a collection of essays by Australian and German scholars, ‘And there‘ll be NO dancing’: Perspectives on Policies Impacting Indigenous Australia since 2007 (Cambridge Scholars 2017). She has served on the board of the German Association for Australian Studies (GASt) and is a member of the association’s Academic Advisory Council.


Carsten Wergin

Carsten Wergin (Dr. phil.) is an environmental anthropologist and Research Group Leader in Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University, Germany.

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He received his PhD from the University of Bremen in 2007. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Graduate School Society and Culture in Motion, Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany) and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow of the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (Australia). Since October 2014, he leads the research group “The Transcultural Heritage of Northwest Australia, Dynamics and Resistances”, funded by the German Excellence Initiative. He teaches anthropology and transcultural studies at undergraduate and honours level and supervises postgraduate research students and PhD candidates.

Dr. Wergin has published widely on music, tourism and heritage as well as general theoretical aspects of anthropology and transcultural studies research in Australia and elsewhere. He is co-editor of the volume Musical Performance and the Changing City (with Fabian Holt, Routledge 2013) and the Special Issue Materialities of Tourism (with Stephen Muecke, Tourist Studies 2014). His current research concentrates on aspects related to socioecological transformations triggered by tourism, heritage and the resources sector. This has resulted in a number of contributions to major journals, such as Australian Humanities Review, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, and Journal of Cultural Economy.