Susanne Baackmann

Associate Professor Emerita of German

Photo: Susanne Baackmann

Research Area/s:



Susanne Baackmann grew up in the Ruhr Valley of West Germany. After finishing her M.A. in German, English, and Philosophy, she came to the USA to complete her graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an Associate Professor of German and teaches advanced language and culture courses, as well as graduate seminars. Her personal and educational journey (of having lived and worked in two cultures and languages) informs her teaching and research. Her upper-division courses explore questions of meaning in history and literature, in particular issue of German Heimat (home or belonging) and in fairy tales. She also teaches graduate seminars on the legacy of trauma and on larger questions of memory, gender, and national identity. In her latest book, Writing the Child. Fictions of Memory in Postwar German Literature she explores the enduring legacy of Nazi history in recent literature. Baackmann has served as chair for the Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies program and hosted international, as well as local graduate student conferences. She has served as co-chair of the Memory Studies Network for the German Studies Association..

Educational History:

1993, Ph.D. in German Literature, University of California at Berkeley

1986, M.A. in German Literature, English Literature, and Philosophy, Gerhard-Mercator University, Duisburg, German, with distinction

Research Areas:

Contemporary German Literature, Art and Culture; Gender Studies; Memory Studies, Heimat Studies

Selected Publications:

Explain Love to Me: How Women Write Love in Contemporary German Literature (Hamburg, Berlin: Argument Verlag, 1995)

Conquering Women. Women, War and the German Cultural Imagination (Berkeley: IAS Press, UC Berkeley, 2000) Co-edited with Hilary Collier Sy-Quia

Writing the Child: Fictions of Memory in German Postwar Literature, Cultural Memory Series (Oxford, UK: Peter Lang, Winter 2022)

“Undoing the Myth of Childhood in Gisela Elsner’s Fliegeralarm”, Special Issue of German Politics and Society on “Myths of Innocence in German Public Memory” 39.1 (Spring 2021): 37-55

 “The Epistemology of Writing Childhood. Tracing the Work of Postmemory and the Palimpsest in Hans-Ulrich Treichel’s Der Verlorene,” German Quarterly 90.1 (Spring 2017): 71-84

 “Between Victim and Perpetrator Imaginary. The Implicated Subject in Works by Rachel Seiffert and Cate Shortland,” TRANSIT.A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World, 10.2.