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PD Dr. Karin Hoepker

Guest Professor (Vertretungsprofessur für Prof. Dr. Sabine Sielke)

Institutional mailing address

Institut für Anglistik, Amerikanistik und Keltologie
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Regina-Pacis-Weg 5
53113 Bonn


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Office hours

Please contact me via email to set up an appointment.

Research interests 

  • Poetics, fiction, and the US-novel since the 19th century
  • Popular Culture and Seriality, esp. TV-Series and Crime
  • Science, Fiction, & Technology
  • Biopolitics and Biomedicalization – Narratives of Depression and Self-Optimization
  • Theory of Space and Place, architecture and urban studies 

Current projects

  • Early project design: “Love, Transatlantically: Economies of Intimacy and Semantics of Love in Romantic Narrative”
  • Second book (manuscript reviewed and accepted): The Edge of Reason: Fiction, Risk and Probability in American Antebellum Narratives (Peter Lang 2022)



  • Fall/Winter 2021/22; Guest Professor of American Studies (Vertretungsprofessur Prof. Dr. Sabine Sielke), Bonn University 
  • Since Fall 2020: Associate Professor of American Studies, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU)
  • Spring/ Summer 2020: Deputy Chair of American Studies, esp. American Literature (Lehrstuhlvertretung Prof. Dr. A. Kley), FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, Georg Thyssen-Foundation “Lesezeit”-Program
  • Fall/ Winter 2019/20: Guest Professor of American Studies, Vienna University
  • Since April 2018: Associate Professor of American Studies, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg 
  • March ‘17 & Aug. 14: Research at the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
  • 2012/ 2013: Visiting Scholar, Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, Stanford University (DAAD)
    Visiting Researcher, Firestone Library & Archives, Princeton University (DAAD)
  • 2012-2014: Researcher Interdisciplinary Emerging Fields Initiative “Bio-Objects and Bio-Subjects: Exploring the Interface of Science and Society”
  • Since April 2009: Assistant Professor of American Studies, esp. American Literature, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • April 2008-March 2009: Postdoctoral Researcher, “Program for the Advancement of Talented Junior Scholars”
  • February 2008: Dissertation on: “No Maps for These Territories – Towards an Archaeology of Future Urbanity in William Gibson's Work”
  • Oct 2007-March 2008: Junior Lecturer of American Cultural Studies (Prof. Dr. Heike Paul), FAU
  • March-May 2007: Visiting Researcher Firestone Library & Archives, Princeton University
  • 2004-2007: Fellow, interdisciplinary Ph.D. program of the German Research Foundation (DFG) “Cultural Hermeneutics: Reflections on Difference and Transdifference,” FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Studied English and American Studies and German Literature at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg and at Indiana University Bloomington




    No Maps for These Territories – Towards an Archaeology of Future Urbanity in William Gibson's Work. (Rodopi/Brill 2011)

    Journal Articles

    • Höpker, Karin. "Biomedicalization, Spatial Aesthetics, and the Ethopolitical Subject in Sam Esmail’s Homecoming Self-Help, Ability, Positive Thinking in North American Culture." Literatur in Wissenschaft und Unterricht (2021).
    • Kley, Antje, and Karin Höpker. "Beyond the Laboratory: Biotechnology and Literary Knowledge Production in Contemporary Science Novels." Literatur in Wissenschaft und Unterricht XLVIII, 3 (2015) (2017): 195-212.
    • Höpker, Karin. "Frederick Douglass’s ’The Heroic Slave’ – Risk, Fiction, and Insurance in Antebellum America." Amerikastudien 60.4 (2016): 441-462.
      BibTeX: Download

     Book Contributions

    • Kley, Antje, and Karin Höpker. "Unruly Creatures, Obstinate Things – Bio-Objects and Scientific Knowledge Production in Contemporary Science Novels." Under the Literary Microscope: New Perspectives on Science in Society from Contemporary Fiction. Ed. Sina Farzin, Roslynn Haynes, Susan M. Gaines, University Park, PA: Penn State UP, 2021
    • Höpker, Karin. "'Only in the Chattel Records' – Obscurity, Historiography, and Frederick Douglass’ "The Heroic Slave"." Reading the Canon. Literary History in the 21st Century. Ed. Philipp Loeffler, Heidelberg: Winter, 2017. 333-363.
    • Höpker, Karin. "No Longer Your Friendly Neighborhood Killer: Crime Shows and Seriality after 'Dexter'." Transgressive Television: Politics and Crime in 21st-Century American TV Series. Ed. Birgit Däwes, Alexandra Ganser, Nicole Poppenhagen, Heidelberg: Winter, 2015. 247-266.
    • Höpker, Karin. "Slices of Life: Killing and Seriality in 'Dexter'." Amerikanische Fernsehserien der Gegenwart. Ed. Heike Paul und Christoph Ernst, Bielefeld: Transcript, 2015. 277-303.
    • Kley, Antje, and Karin Höpker. "Literatur und Wissen: Life Science und The Pursuit of Happiness in Richard Powers' 'Das größere Glück'." Quarks and Letters: Naturwissenschaften in Literatur und Kultur der Gegenwart. Hrg. Aura Heydenreich und Klaus Mecke, Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2015. 273-293.
    • Höpker, Karin. "A Sense of an Ending: Risk, Catastrophe, and Precarious Humanity in Margaret Atwood`s 'Oryx and Crake'." The Anticipation of Catastrophe: Environmental Risk in North American Literature and Culture. Ed. Sylvia Mayer, Alexa Weik von Mossner, Heidelberg: Winter, 2014. 161-180.
    • Höpker, Karin. "Happiness in Distress - Richard Powers' 'Generosity' and Narratives of the Biomedical Self." Ideas of Order: Narrative Patterns in the Novels of Richard Powers. Ed. Kley Antje, Jan Kucharzewski, Heidelberg: Winter, 2012. 285-312.
    • Höpker, Karin. "The Cab and the City - Chance Encounters and Certalian Perspectives in Jim Jarmusch's 'Night on Earth'." EthniCities : Metropolitan Cultures and Ethnic Identities in the Americas. Ed. Butler Martin, Jens Gurr, Olaf Kaltmeier, Trier: WVT, 2011. 155-170.
    • Höpker, Karin. "Inszenierte Lesarten: Kulturelle Begegnungen in und mit anglophonen Texten." Kulturhermeneutik: Interdisziplinäre Beiträge zum Umgang mit kultureller Differenz. Hrg. Christoph Ernst, Walter Sparn, Hedwig Wagner, München: Fink, 2008. 119-124.
    • Höpker, Karin, Alexandra Ganser, and Christina Hein. "Trickster Hermeneutics als alterNative Schreib-und Lesepraxis: Gerald Vizenors 'Harold of Orange' und Louis Owens 'Bone Game'." Kulturhermeneutik: Interdisziplinäre Beiträge zum Umgang mit kultureller Differenz. Hrg. Christoph Ernst, Walter Sparn, Hedwig Wagner, München: Fink, 2008. 159-186.
    • Höpker, Karin, and Alexandra Ganser. "Cruises and Crusades: Productions of Urban Space in 'Taxi Driver' and 'Mean Streets'." Conformism, Non-Conformism, and Anti-Conformism in American Culture. Ed. Antonis Balasopoulos, Gesa Mackenthun, Theodora Tsimpouki, Heidelberg: Winter, 2008. 237-257.
    • Höpker, Karin, and Andrea Kuhn. "Making Over 'The Stepford Wives': Gender, Nostalgia, and Irony in the Hollywood Remake." Screening Gender: Geschlechterszenarien in der gegenwärtigen US-amerikanischen Populärkultur. Ed. Heike Paul, Alexandra Ganser, Münster: LIT, 2008. 75-96.
    • Höpker, Karin. "Cityscapes, Interstitial Spaces: Heterotopographies in William Gibson's 'Virtual Light-Trilogy'." GrenzGänge/BorderCrossings: Kulturtheoretische Perspektiven. Ed. Gerd Sebald, Michael Popp, Jan Weyand, Münster: LIT, 2006. 170-187.


     Academic Activities: Talks, Conferences, and Workshops (Selection)

    • January 2022: Junior Scholar & Student Conference on “Justice, Punishment, Human Rights, and the Death Penalty” at the Bavarian American Academy, Munich with Andreas Etges (LMU) and Andrew Gross (Goettingen), 28./29.01.2022
    • October 2021: International Conference Speculative Endeavors – Cultures of Knowledge and Capital in the Long Nineteenth Century, University of Bayreuth, deferred to 22.–24.10.2021, org. Katrin Horn, Karin Hoepker, Selina Foltinek

      “Shipwreck, Risk, and the Novel: Poe's Poetics of the Improbable,” invited lecture for Current Issues in North American and Cultural Studies, Bonn University, 19.10.2021
    • June 2021: Workshop “Authorship and Cultural Participation in the Nineteenth Century”, German Association for American Studies (GAAS), Heidelberg, June 2021
    • February 2021: “Fiction after Postmodernism – New Realism, Contagion, and the Dystopian Imagination in M. Atwood’s Work,” invited talk, Otto-Friedrich-University, Bamberg, 08.02.2021
    • November 2019: "Cold Intimacy: Ex-Urban Masculinity in Contemporary US-American TV Series,” Metropolitan Masculinities: Narratives of Gender and Urban Space, Ruhr-University Bochum, 29.-30.11.2019
    • October 2019: “Semantics of Love and Fragmented Family Ties in E. Marlitt’s Work,” Seminar Family and Knowledge, German Studies Association (GSA), Portland, OR, 3.-6.10. 2019
    • June 2019: “Emotional Economy, Biomedicalization and Narratives of Managed Selves in Contemporary TV-Series,” GAAS Hamburg, 13.-15.06.2019
    • November 2018: “’Black Cargo:’ Narratives of Immobility in Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon and Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad”, American Im/Mobilities, Austrian American Studies Association (AAAS), Vienna, 16-18.11.2018
    • June 2018: “Peripheral Masculinities: Affect and the Rural in Contemporary US-American TV Series”, De/Constructing Masculinities? Critical Explorations into Affect, Intersectionalities, and the Body, 22-23.06.2018
    • July 2017: “Ugly Feelings – Öffentlicher Affekt und die Logik des Postfaktischen in den USA” (Public Affect and the Logic of the Postfactual), Invited Talk at the Ethics and Society Lecture Series, FAU
    • May 2017: “Risk, Whaling, and the Incorporation of Trust in Melville’s Moby-Dick,” Symposium Re-reading the American Renaissance, Vienna University, 09.05.2017
    • April 2017: “Risk and Fiction - Reading Transatlantic Networks,” Network@1800: New Directions in German and European Cultural Studies, Academic Symposium & Humboldt Kolleg, Bowdoin, Maine 05.-08.04.2017
    • December 2016: “Risk, Probability, and the Order of Things in Melville’s Fiction,” Fictions of Management, Free University Berlin, 08-10.12.2016
    • November 2016: "When the Whale Was Still a Fish: Precarious Knowledge and Melville’s Moby-Dick,” Vienna University, 18.11.2016   
    • July 2016: “Ethopolitics: Narrating the Biomedical Self”, The Biopolitics of America: Bodies, Environments, and the Liberal Imagination, Würzburg University, 28.-30.07.2016
    • February 2016: “Sea-faring, Whale-hunting, and Mobile Orders of Knowledge in Melville's Moby-Dick,” International Conference Maritime Mobilities: Critical Perspectives from the Humanities, Vienna, 01.-02.02.2016
    • October 2015: Internat. Conference Perilous Passages: The Birth of Risk in 19th Century American Culture, w. Jeanne Cortiel (Bayreuth); Thurnau Castle, 23.-24.10.2015
      "Perils of the Sea? The Creole-Mutiny and Frederick Douglass’ The Heroic Slave.” Ibd.
    • May 2015: Workshop “Owning (Human) Nature? Literary Knowledge Production and the Life Sciences”, Knowledge Landscapes North America, GAAS, University of Bonn, 28.-31.05.2015
    • November 2014: “Unruly Creatures, Obstinate Things – Bio-Objects and Scientific Knowledge Production in Contemporary Science Novels” mit Antje Kley, Fiction meets Science, Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst, 19.-22. November
    • October 2014: “No Longer Your Friendly Neighborhood Killer: Crime Shows and Seriality after Dexter”, Transgressive Television: Politics, Crime, and Citizenship in 21st-Century American TV Series, Vienna, 1.-3.10.2014
    • June 2014: Workshop “Digital Detritus: Spam, Scrap, Bit Rot” with Andrew Gross, GAAS, Universität Würzburg 12.-15.06.2014
    • May 2014: “Killer Seriality: Dexter and Contemporary American TV,” Invited Talk Cultural Studies and Film Studies Series, Bamberg, 06.05.2014

      “Mad Scientists, Horrid Creatures: Wissenschaftsfiktion in der amerikanischen Populärkultur”, Invited Lecture Populärkultur-Series, Interdisciplinary Center of Contemporary Literature and Culture, Erlangen, 05.05.2014
    • Sept/Oct 2013: Summer Academy of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation, La-Colle-sur-Loup/ Nice, France 22.09-05.10.2013 (Lecturer)
    • July 2012: Workshop and Invited Talk on „Life! Risk Narratives and the Novel in the 21st Century”, Bayreuth Institute for American Studies (BIFAS)
    • Mai/Juni 2012: Workshop „Narratives of Self – Life Sciences and Life Writing in the Biomedical Age”, GAAS, University of Mainz
    • December 2011: Workshop Neuro-Reality Check: Scrutinizing the ‘neuro-turn’ in the humanities and natural sciences, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
    • November 2011: “Dexter – Pathologizing the New Picturesque,” AAAS, Salzburg
    • October 2011: “Archaeologies of the Present – Archives of the Everyday in William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition-Trilogy” and Masterclass on Architecture and Utopia with Nathaniel Coleman, Society for Utopian Studies, Penn State University, State College, PA
    • June 2009: Workshop, „Faculty Towers – Academic Self-Reflection in Film, Fiction, and Theory” GAAS, Jena University
    • March 2009: “The Propitious Moment: Navigating the Ethnic Other in Scorsese's Mean Streets and Jarmusch's Night on Earth” w. A. Ganser. EthniCities: Metropolitan Cultures and Ethnic Identities in the Americas, ZIF, Bielefeld
    • Feb.-April 2007: Guest attendant of the “Utopia/ Dystopia” lecture series of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center, Princeton
    • April 2006: “Cruises and Crusades – Productions of Urban Space in Select City Street Narratives since the 1970s”, European Association of American Studies (EAAS), Nicosia, Cyprus
    • March 2006: “Intimate Caesurae: The Transience of the Human in Recent Fiction”, American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), Princeton, 23.-26.03.2006
    • March 2005: Workshop „Meaning Out of Control? Popular Culture as Interdisciplinary Challenge”, with Rainer Winter (Klagenfurt) & Tobias Nagl (Amherst), FAU
    • Mai 2004: “Cruising the Hyperreal” with Jens Klenner (George Mason U), Contemplating the Humvee as Cultural Object, Cultural Studies Association (CSA), Boston, Northeastern U, 5-9.05.2004
    • April 2004: “Nomadic Urban Spaces - Interstitial Topographies in William Gibson’s Virtual Lights-Trilogy”, Mapping Identities: Urban Landscapes and the Discourses of Space, Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., 03.04.2004
    • January 2004: Workshop on “System and Epic: William Gaddis and the Autopoiesis of American Literature,” with Prof. J. Tabbi (University of Illinois, Chicago) and Prof. M. Hansen (Princeton University) on “Technoscience-Fiction: Techniques between Science and Literature."