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Carola Daffner

Associate Professor; Chair of the Department of Global Languages and Cultures

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Global Languages and Cultures


Email: Carola Daffner
Phone: 937-229-2449
HM 352


  • Ph.D., Philosophy, German Literature, Vanderbilt University, 2007
  • M.A., German Literature, Vanderbilt University, 2002
  • Zwischenprüfung in German and English Studies, University of Regensburg, 2000


Before coming to the University of Dayton, Carola was an Associate Professor of German and Acting Associate Dean of Student and Curricular Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. From summer 2017 to December 2018, she also served as Director of the interdisciplinary programs International Studies and Foreign Language and International Trade. She enjoys teaching a wide range of courses, from German language and culture courses to courses taught in English, such as a Film in the Third Reich class, a Gender and Sexuality in Modern German Literature class, and a Germanic and Norse Mythology course. For her efforts inside and outside the classroom, Carola received the 2014-15 College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Teaching Award (Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty) at SIU-Carbondale.

In Carola's research, she focuses on gender and the politics of space in German literature and film. Her work has been published in several journals, including the German Studies Review, the Journal of Austrian Studies, and the Women in German Yearbook. Her monograph Gertrud Kolmar: Dichten im Raum (Königshausen & Neumann) appeared in 2012. She also co-edited an anthology entitled German Women Writers and the Spatial Turn: New Perspectives with Beth Muellner, which was published in 2015 as part of De Gruyter’s Interdisciplinary German Cultural Series. Carola's current research focuses on imagined geographies in the works of women who traveled to the German colonies in Africa around 1900.

Faculty perspective

"UD’s vision and mission statement as a university that advances the common good and its commitment to diversity, social justice, and global engagement really spoke to me as someone who was raised Catholic and went to a private Catholic high school in Bavaria, Germany, with a focus on classic and modern languages. Many of my teachers were monks and instilled the values of a Catholic education in me, teaching me the importance of empathy, kindness, and the respect for others. At the same time, my education at this school opened up the world to me: the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome fascinated me just as much as works by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or participating in school trips to France, Great Britain, and Italy. I knew then that I wanted to devote my life to being an advocate for languages and the interdependence of cultures, and I am excited about continuing this work here at the University of Dayton."

Courses taught

  • Green Germany, Sustainability and Environmental Justice (in English)
  • Introduction to Human Rights (in English)
  • Rebels, Free Lovers & New Women in Modernist German Literature (in English)
  • Germanic & Norse Mythology (in English)
  • Nazi Cinema (in English)
  • German History and Culture from the Tribes to the Enlightenment (in German)
  • German History and Culture from the Enlightenment to the 21st Century (in German)
  • German Culture through Film (in German)
  • The History of German Film (in German)
  • Dreams and Decadence: Vienna around 1900 (in German)
  • The Age of Goethe (in German)
  • Masterpieces of German Literature in Translation (in English)
  • Linguistic and Cultural Diversity in the German-Speaking World (in German)
  • German for Reading Knowledge (in English)
  • Business German (in German)
  • Contemporary Germany (in German)
  • Elementary German I and II
  • Intermediate German I and II
  • German Conversation and Composition I and II

Professional activities

  • Acting Associate Dean of Studentand Curricular Affairs, College of Liberal Arts, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, January 2019-August 2019
  • Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dept. of Languages, Cultures, and International Trade, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, July 2017-June 2019
  • Associate Professor in German, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, August 2015-August 2019
  • German Section Head and Advisor, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, August 2011-December 2018
  • Director of International Studies / Foreign Language and International Trade, Southern llinois University Carbondale, July 2017-December 2018
  • Assistant Professor in German, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2010-15
  • Lecturer in German, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2007-10
  • Fellow, Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University, 2006-07
  • German Coordinator in Residence, McTyeire International House, Vanderbilt University, 2005-07
  • Assistant German Coordinator in Residence, McTyeire International House, Vanderbilt University, 2001-04
  • Teaching Assistant, Vanderbilt University, 2001-04, 2005-06

Research interests

  • German, Austrian and Swiss Literature and Culture
  • German-Jewish Literature and Culture
  • Women’s and Gender Studies
  • Holocaust Studies
  • Propaganda and Film in the Third Reich
  • Germanic and Norse Mythology
  • German Colonialism

Selected publications

“Between Bohemian Brotherhood and the New Man: On Gender and Writing in F. Gräfin zu Reventlow’s Herrn Dames Aufzeichnungen (1913),” in Women in German Expressionism: Gender, Sexuality, Activism, eds. Anke Finger and Julie Shoults. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press (forthcoming). Accompanying website:

“The Observer Observed: Narrating Surveillance in Gertrud Kolmar’s Susanna,” in  Antisemitism Studies (2/2018): 321-351.

“Walking in Circles: Josef Winklers Mutter und der Bleistift,” in Contemporary German Travel  Writing, eds. Monika Shafi and Karin Baumgartner. Rochester, NY: Camden House,  2018. 

“Das Kaiserreich von innen: Gabriele Beyerleins Berlin-Trilogie,” in Berlin: Bilder einer Metropole in erzählenden Medien für Kinder und Jugendliche, ed. Sabine Planka. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2018. 87-108.

“Soundscaping Berlin: Female Agency and Urban Performance in Till Hastreiter’s Status Yo!,” in German Studies Review 38.1 (2015): 97-115.

Co-editor with Beth Muellner, New Perspectives on German Women Writers and the Spatial Turn. Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2015.

“Through Romanticism’s Looking Glass: Nostalgia, Taboos, and Cinematic Exorcisms in  Josef Winkler’s The Cinemascreenwalker,” in the Journal of Austrian Studies (formerly Modern Austrian Literature) 47.4 (2014): 1-17.

“Reframing the Poetics of the Aztec Empire: Gertrud Kolmar’s ‘Die Aztekin,’” in Sophie Discovers Amerika: German-Speaking Women Write the New World, eds. Michelle James  and Robert McFarland. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2014. 150-161.

“30 August 1936: Luis Trenker Tries But Fails To Sidestep Nazi Filmpolitik,” in A New  History of German Cinema, eds. Jennifer Kapczynski and Michael Richardson. Rochester: Camden House, 2012. 268-274.

Gertrud Kolmar: Dichten im Raum. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2012.

Selected presentations

“Feminist Imaginations and the Colonial Gaze: Frieda von Bülow’s Diaries from German East Africa,” Seminar: German-Speaking Women, Africa, and the African Diaspora, 43rd Annual German Studies Association Conference, Sept. 2019

“Madness and Gender in Bess Brenck-Kalischer’s Die Knäbin (1922),” 60th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Nov. 2018

“Bohemian Munich from the Margins: F. Gräfin zu Reventlow’s Herrn Dames Aufzeichnungen (1913),” 58th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Modern Language Association, Nov. 2016

“Cultural Memory in F. Gräfin zu Reventlow’s Diaries,” 113th Annual Conference of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Languages Association, Nov. 2015

“Surveillance in Gertrud Kolmar’s Susanna,” 38th Annual German Studies Association Conference, Sept. 2014

“Bourgeois Space in Michael Haneke’s ‘The White Ribbon,’” 66th Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, April 2013

“Telling Reality: Fantasies of Global Austria and Josef Winkler’s Literary Carinthia,” 127th Modern Language Association Convention, Jan. 2012

“Taking Off the Blindfold: Austrian Identity in Josef Winkler’s The Cinemascreenwalker (2009),” 35th Annual German Studies Association Conference, Sept. 2011

“Status Yo! Experiencing 21st Century Berlin in the Foreign Language Classroom,” ACTFL Annual Meeting, Nov. 2010

“Gertrud Kolmar: Eine Poetik in Briefen,” Internationales Symposium “Gertrud Kolmar: Unbekannte Klassikerin der Moderne,” Anna-Amalia und Goethe Akademie,Weimar, Germany, March 2010