2015 Elections

Members will receive an invitation by email to vote for the Society’s Vice President, who will automatically accede to the presidency in two years, two Directors-at-Large, and the Secretary-Treasurer, who is running unopposed. The voting deadline is September 30, 2015.

Vice President:
  • Catriona MacLeod
  • Karin Wurst
  • Mary Helen Dupree
  • Joseph O’Neil
  • Heidi Schlipphacke
  • John H. Smith
  • Christian Weber


For Vice President (vote for one):

Catriona MacLeod is Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of German at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is beginning a second term as Chair of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. She received her Ph.D. in German from Harvard in 1992, and after spending a year as Randall McIver Junior Research Fellow at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford became Assistant Professor of German at Yale. Since 1999 she has been at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is a member of the graduate groups in Comparative Literature and History of Art, and is also affiliated with Cinema Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. MacLeod is the author of Embodying Ambiguity: Androgyny and Aesthetics from Winckelmann to Keller (Detroit, MI: Wayne State U P, 1998) and Fugitive Objects: Sculpture and Literature in the German Nineteenth Century (Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 2014) – the latter was awarded the 2014 Jean-Pierre Barricelli Prize for best book in Romanticism Studies. She has co-edited two collected volumes in Word and Image Studies, and with her Penn colleague Bethany Wiggin is co-editor of the forthcoming book Un/Translatables: New Maps for Germanic Literatures (Northwestern UP). Since 2011 MacLeod has been Senior Editor of the journal Word & Image. She is currently working on a new book project that combines her interests in aesthetics, art, intermediality, genre, and gender: provisionally titled Romantic Scraps, the book is an interdisciplinary study of the role of small, fragmentary, shadowy, and obsolete remainders (to use Francesco Orlando’s term) in German literary and visual culture of the first half of the nineteenth century. Most recently, her writing on paper cuts in the Weimar salon of Johanna Schopenhauer has appeared in the DVjs.

“I owe a huge personal and professional debt to the Goethe Society and its members, with whom I have been connected since my first years on the tenure track. Over those years, I have had the opportunity to serve as Director-at-Large and as Book Review Editor of the Goethe Yearbook, and have been extremely happy to take part twice in the workshop for dissertation writers that is such a fruitful part of the Atkins Conferences. The integrity and inclusiveness of the Society are values that I would strive to uphold and further, while maintaining a focus on the daring diversity of intellectual interests and approaches that is, not least, a hallmark of Goethe’s own career. Today, the humanities continue to be under scrutiny in North American higher education. And within the humanities, foreign language education has been subject to particular retrenchment. When we teach Goethe’s Divan, his theories of translation, and his concept of Weltliteratur, we have in our hands a powerful tool that can be deployed to show the importance of multilingualism in an age of homogenized Global English. Goethe’s manifold explorations of the natural world have never seemed more relevant for the humanities (or indeed humanity) at large, or for opening up dialog with our colleagues in the sciences. I can put my own international, strongly interdisciplinary profile to good use for the Society. I would like to deepen our ties with our associated societies in Germany and elsewhere, as well as facilitate exchanges with groups in other disciplines such as history of art. As a Romanticist too, I am especially interested in collaborating productively with the Frankfurter Hochstift. Above all, I see it as vital, within the Goethe Society, to foster the intergenerational networks that will continue to sustain and invigorate our field as well as German Studies more broadly.”


Karin A. Wurst is Professor of German Literature and Culture at Michigan State University. She received her Staatsexamen from the University of Tübingen and her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University. Her books have focused on representations of the family, women’s drama, cultural consumption in 18th-century Germany, and narration: Das Schlaraffenland verwilderter Ideen. Narrative Strategien in den Prosaerzählungen von J.M.R. Lenz (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2014); Fabricating Pleasure: Fashion, Entertainment, and Consumption in Germany (1780-1830), German Literary Theory and Cultural Studies (Wayne State University Press, 2005). Karin A. Wurst and Alan Leidner, Unpopular Virtues: J.M.R. Lenz and the Critics. A Reception History (Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1999). She edited and introduced Eleonore Thon’s “Adelheit von Rastenberg. Texts and Translation Series. (New York: MLA, 1996). Edited and introduced J.M.R. Lenz als Alternative? Positionsanalysen zum 200. Todestag (Köln, Wien, Weimar: Böhlau, 1992). Other book publications include Frau und Drama im achtzehnten Jahrhundert (Köln, Wien: Böhlau, 1991). “Familiale Liebe ist die wahre Gewalt.” Zur Repräsentation der Familie in Lessings dramatischem Werk” (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988). Her articles focus on 17th– and 18th-century Germany and issues of gender, cultural and aesthetic representation. They have appeared in German Quarterly, Daphnis, German Studies Review, Lessing Yearbook, Text + Kritik, Seminar, Women in German Yearbook, Goethe Yearbook, and the Lenz Jahrbuch. She has been active in concerns of the profession and is deeply involved with the reform of Graduate Studies in German in particular, and the Humanities, in general. She has served as President of the Society for German Baroque and Renaissance Studies, and has experience as the two-term book review editor for the German Quarterly. Her teaching interests include literary and cultural theories, feminist theory, women’s literature, and material culture. From 2006 to 2014 she served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University; she currently serves as Special Advisor to the Provost on Intercultural Learning and Student Engagement.

“Vibrant professional organizations continue to be an important nexus for professional development, innovative research, and for nurturing the next generation of students, graduate students, and other professionals with a passion for literary and cultural studies. The Goethe Society of North America has a strong track record of vitality that I would be very excited to build on. Recent innovations by the previous leadership to place the Goethe Yearbook in Project Muse and JSTOR, the linkages to other professional societies and the introduction of a dedicated book series, and the stellar triennial conferences positioned the Goethe Society of North America well. My commitment as officer of the Goethe Society would be to continue best practices in fostering state-of-the-art scholarship and also provide a forum to serve the needs of the next generation of teacher-scholars so that they are able to make Goethe and his time come alive for our students. A historical frame of reference will continue to be important for a strong liberal arts education, where understanding the cultural past serves as another marker of providing depth to arguments, offering another way to look at an issue, breaking the tyranny of the commonsensical. Furthermore, one of the roles of a professional society is to assist the often beleaguered Graduate Programs in German who might be tempted to (or might be under pressure to) focus on the contemporary. Offering relevant fora for scholarly and pedagogical exchange and discussion under the auspices of the Goethe Society can counteract the potential isolation of faculty and graduate students without a community of scholars in 18th-Century Studies at their home campus through formal and informal mentoring opportunities. I would be particularly interested in discussing with the membership what kinds of interventions to these marginalizing developments we could envision or which new activities the Goethe Society of North America should engage in to assure an energetic and lively future during this time of significant retrenchment in the Humanities and the shrinking of German Programs. In particular, I would be interested in connecting the fine, innovative and often quite interdisciplinary scholarship on Goethe and his time by our members and foster more explicit connections to cutting-edge pedagogies in literary and cultural studies to assure that our graduate students will be highly competitive candidates in a changing job market where student-centered learning is becoming increasingly more important. While honoring the scholarly tradition of the Goethe Society, I would continue to build networks not only among scholars around the world but on our own campuses to better align ourselves with campus concerns and demonstrate our relevance to intercultural learning and other strategic priorities of our colleges and universities. I would support expansion of Goethe scholarship into the Digital Humanities to expand research methods and visualization enhancements. Most importantly, I would see it as one of the most urgent task to engage the membership in productive conversations about the meaningful role of German in general and Goethe Studies in particular in the academy and how to inspire students to engage in our field as an important area of the liberal arts. I would be honored to help us think through these complex issues with a sense of proactive optimism.”


For Director-at-Large (vote for two):

Mary Helen Dupree is Associate Professor of German at Georgetown University. She holds a Ph.D. in German Literature from Columbia University. Her book The Mask and the Quill: Actress-Writers in Germany from Enlightenment to Romanticism was published in 2011 by Bucknell University Press as part of the GSNA-sponsored series, New Studies in the Age of Goethe. Her research focuses on intersections of literature and performance culture in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with particular emphasis on gender; more recently, she has been working on questions of sound, the voice, and auditory history from 1750 to the present. Her work has appeared in the Goethe Yearbook, the German Quarterly, and the Lessing Yearbook, as well as several edited volumes. She is also the co-editor, together with Sean B. Franzel, of the forthcoming volume Performing Knowledge, 1750-1850 (De Gruyter, 2015). In 2009, she organized a series of panels at ASECS on Goethe’s Wahlverwandtschaften on behalf of the Goethe Society, and has since organized and participated in numerous panels and conferences on Goethe and his contemporaries. Currently, she is Treasurer of the Lessing Society and Vice President of the American Goethe Society, a D.C.-based organization committed to promoting German culture in the area. Her current book project is focused on the theory and practice of literary declamation around 1800.

“I believe that the Goethe Society has a critical role to play in promoting diverse and rigorous scholarship and helping to make sense of the many challenges facing our field of study today. I have been particularly pleased with the consistent way in which the Society has supported new and innovative scholarship and has reached out to up-and-coming scholars in the field, for example through the dissertation workshops at the Atkins conference. However, the future of Goethe scholarship depends on our ability not only to connect with the next generation of graduate scholars, but also to maintain a strong presence in undergraduate curricula and research. As Director-at-Large, I would look forward to working together with the other members of the Executive Committee to promote this goal, for example by sponsoring an undergraduate research panel at the Atkins conference. I would also be very excited to help the Society identify new areas of collaboration with other organizations, such as the MLA and the Lessing Society.”


Joseph O’Neil studied German, French, and Spanish as an undergraduate student, earned his M.A. in Comparative Literature from Indiana University (Bloomington) and his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Modern German Literature and Culture from Indiana. His studies in Germany include an undergraduate year in Mainz and a dissertation year in Berlin under the auspices of the DAAD. He has taught German language, literature, and culture at all levels, first as a lecturer at Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX) and now as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky. He has published articles in Angelaki: A Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, the Goethe Yearbook, and Seminar. His manuscript Figures of Natality: Reading the Political in the Age of Goethe is under contract with Bloomsbury Press.

“My purpose as a director-at-large of the GSNA would be to continue the good work done by the current and former officers of the Society. I appreciate and embrace the diversity of the GSNA, which I think is exemplary for our profession, whether in German or the humanities in general. My own work is broadly Goethezeit-oriented; it brings aspects of the work of Goethe, Lessing, Kleist, and Schiller into a different focus through twentieth-century literary, cultural, and political theory. I think that it is important to recruit younger members from the dwindling ranks of those focused on the Goethezeit while we continue to grow our revenues from sources other than dues through online accessibility. Very recently, I have tried to expand the presence of the GSNA for younger scholars by proposing a GSNA-sponsored panel at the Kentucky Foreign Languages Conference, which attracts graduate students and junior faculty especially in German. My experience of the GSNA even before I became a member has been that the Society provides the strongest and most supportive foundation for professional life. Fritz Breithaupt, Martha Helfer, and Horst Lange were crucial to my moving from an initial interest in the twentieth century to Goethe, and so I want my commitment to the Society to reflect what I see as its commitment to me in the connections I have made and the wealth of knowledge and insight our members provide about Goethe and his age for junior scholars. As one sometimes involved in the editing of Colloquia Germanica and a regular organizer of panels in our period at the KFLC, I have some insight into the complexity of the fantastic editorial and organizational work of my colleagues who are responsible for the Goethe Yearbook, the Atkins conference, and the book series. I think this equips me at least to understand how much I don’t yet understand about the positions for which the Board is responsible and would allow me to work constructively and productively with the Yearbook editors and the editor of the New Studies in the Age of Goethe, and to do my part in organizing the conference. I would look forward to the privilege of serving the Society in any way I can while becoming more involved in and knowledgeable about its workings.”


Heidi Schlipphacke is Associate Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been a member of the Goethe Society since 2000. Her research focuses on kinship, gender and aesthetics in the German Enlightenment and in post-fascist Austrian and German literature and film. She has published essays on 18th-centry literature and thought (Goethe, Lessing, Gellert) as well as on 20th-century literature, film and critical theory. Her monograph on nostalgia appeared in 2010 (Bucknell University Press). She is a member of the editorial board of the Goethe Yearbook, of the Journal of Austrian Studies, of Pacific Coast Philology and of the series “New Directions in German Studies,” published by Bloomsbury Press. Her current work on polygamy and surface reading in eighteenth-century literature combines a reflection on approaches to reading literature with an attention to eighteenth-century debates about monogamy and polygamy.

“It would be an honor to serve as a director-at-large for the Goethe Society, an organization that has long held an important role in my intellectual and professional development. Were I to serve as a director-at-large for the Goethe Society, I would look forward to working with the President, the Vice President, and the other members of the board further to promote dialogue amongst scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds in Goethe Studies. I am also particularly keen on encouraging graduate students and young scholars to approach the eighteenth century with new eyes. I would be very interested in helping expand funding opportunities for graduate students working on eighteenth-century topics to attend the tri-annual conference as well as the various Goethe Society sessions at conferences throughout the year. The Goethe Society is a uniquely welcoming and intellectually exciting community, and I would hope to help encourage young scholars across the disciplines to discover this fact for themselves.”


John H. Smith is a professor of German in the Department of European Languages and Studies at the University of California, Irvine. From January, 2012, until June, 2013, he held the Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. His scholarship has focused for 30 years on German intellectual and literary history. He has published studies on Hegel (The Spirit and Its Letter: Traces of Rhetoric in Hegel’s Philosophy of Bildung) and philosophies of agency (Dialectics of the Will: Freedom, Power, and Understanding in Modern French and German Thought). His most recent book is Dialogues between Faith and Reason: The Death and Return of God in Modern German Thought (Cornell UP, 2012). He is currently working on the creative place of the infinitesimal calculus in the German philosophical and literary tradition.

“As Director-at-large I would look forward to working in tandem with my co-director, as I am an exceedingly collaborative academic. (Consider the seminar I am co-organizing with Fred Amrine and Astrida Tantillo at the GSA conference in D.C.) Together we might entertain the following kinds of enterprises:

  • Extend the creativity and excitement of the tri-annual conference by encouraging pre- and post-conference workshops of smaller groups of scholars working on related fields of Goethe scholarship. Not only are such intense, discussion-based meetings themselves stimulating and productive, and not only might they generate coherent essay-volumes, but they can also prove invaluable for those early in their careers. One model for these workshops is the one that Elizabeth Millán (Philosophy, DePaul University) and I organized after the first GSNA conference and which led to the special section of the Goethe Yearbook XVIII on “Goethe and Idealism.” [N.B. I would not encourage the growth of the conference itself, since bigger is not necessarily better.]
  • Continue to foster work on Goethe that intersects with other disciplines, from philosophy to the sciences, from classics to the other literary traditions with which Goethe’s own work conversed.

Some possible directions for a future conference could be: Goethe(zeit) and Problems of Periodization (how to fit Goethe into different periods, Goethezeit as a period, recent periodization studies, etc.); Human(ism) and the Non-Human in the Goethezeit (on the one hand, the notion of Humanität looms large around 1800, but on the other, there are important reflections on nature, animals, organic and inorganic forces, etc.); Dialogues: Goethe and … (placing Goethe in conversation with his contemporaries or other figures). These are just some ideas that come to mind. I would enjoy brainstorming with my co-director to find a capacious and relevant conference theme.”


For Secretary-Treasurer:

Christian Weber received an M.A. from the University of Bonn and a Ph.D. from Indiana University, with intermezzi also at Oxford University and Ohio State University. Since 2008 he has been Assistant Professor of German at Florida State University, where he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure this year. His overarching research project concerns a critical and phenomenological investigation of the imagination. Goethe’s poetry offers a great resource for the study of processes of the productive imagination, as Weber argues in his book Die Logik der Lyrik: Goethes Phänomenologie des Geistes in Gedichten (Freiburg: Rombach, 2013). He is currently working on a second part that deals with the poetologic of later Goethe poems. In articles, he explored the interplay of the senses and imagination in the formation of language, the world-transforming power of metaphors, and how the imagination turns ideological in the form of nationalism.

“One of the first things I did when moving to the U.S. and commencing my graduate studies at Indiana University was to join the GSNA. What a great decision this was. Over the years, the society has truly become my academic home. I have attended many GSNA organized panels at different venues and organized some of them myself. Those who met me at conferences know that I am very passionate about Goethe’s poetry and Weltanschauung, and I feel lucky to have gotten to know so many of you who are sharing this passion. Now that my Lehrjahre have ended after receiving tenure at Florida State University, I am more than happy to return the favors and services that I have enjoyed from many members of this great society. It feels a bit ironic, though, that I was nominated for the post of GSNA Secretary-Treasurer, which uncannily returns memories of my way past banking career that I have successfully repressed until now. But hopefully I will be able to make good use of those experiences in this position. I look very much forward to contributing my ideas to further increase the welfare of the GSNA, which includes an advertising campaign to attract also more international members.”