Gabriele Eichmanns -Modern Languages - Carnegie Mellon University

Gabriele Eichmanns

Associate Teaching Professor of German

Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Baker Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Office: BH 368
Phone: (412) 268-4783
Fax: (412) 268-1328
Department Member Since: 2008


Over the years my research as well as my teaching has been informed by the overarching question of whether human beings are able to overcome cultural differences and accept diverse ways of living. One instance that provided me with a first-hand experience occurred last spring when I took a group of students from the University of Washington to Vienna to spend three months in one of the most beautiful cities of Europe to explore the Austrian language and culture. Not only was I witness to their growing understanding and sensitivity regarding the foreign environment, but I also noticed their immense interest in comparing the Austrian to the American culture and in seeing their own ways of living with European eyes. This experience reminded me of my own numerous times abroad when everything seemed different at first but became familiar as time went by.

I started out as a double major in Comparative Literature and Japanese Studies at the University of Bonn in Germany. In my junior year I decided to spend a year in Southern Japan in order to improve my language skills and to learn about Japan and its people. It was a memorable experience and led to another, much longer stay abroad: This time I went to Seattle to continue my studies at the University of Washington where I received my M.A. in Comparative Literature. Another year in Denmark followed where I studied Comparative Literature from a Danish perspective while learning about Scandinavian culture and literature. Upon my return to the States I had made up my mind that I would stay in the States and enter a Ph.D. program in German so that I would be able to teach my own language while, at the same time, learn about my host country’s culture.

This dichotomy between the familiar and the foreign can be easily detected in the research I have been conducting for the past years. In my dissertation, I examine the German notion of Heimat (home) and the impact globalization has had on this very German concept after the fall of the Berlin Wall.I analyze how the local and the global come together, how they create hybrid forms and thus a new understanding of what it means to be German in the new millenium. I am in the process of revising my dissertation and it is my intention to have a publishable manuscript by the end of the summer of 2012. I am also co-editing a volume on Heimat entitled Heimat in History, Theory, Literature and Film in which the various contributors explore the recent discourse on Heimat from multiple angles. Furthermore, I am close to finishing a textbook on Germany and globalization for advanced learners of German, which I have been using in my own globalization classes and which I am hoping to publish in the near future.

Another project of mine is more comparative in its nature and involves a study of the encounter between East and West. Drawing on my background in Comparative Literature and Japanese Studies, I am exploring the German perception of Japan in an article entitled “Gyrating Around the Void. Emptiness as Recurring Topos in Recent German Short Stories on Japan.” I intend to expand my work in the future and also focus on Japanese authors such as Kenzaburo Oe and Yoko Tawada and their respective views of Western society and in particular German culture and history.


Ph.D., University of Washington, 2008

Recent Publications and Presentations

  • “Die ’McDonaldisierung’ der Welt. Das Parodieren der Erwartungen des westlichen Lesers in Christian Krachts Der gelbe Bleistift.“ Strategies of Humor in Post-Unification German Literature, Film and Other Media.. Ed. Jill Twark. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle upon Tyne, 2011.
  • “‘Warum ich immer noch keinen Antrag auf Einbürgerung gestellt habe.‘ Transkulturelle Identitätsformen in Yadé Karas Selam Berlin und Wladimir Kaminers Russendisko.“ Forthcoming in Akten des XII. Internationalen Germanistenkongress Warschau 2010. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2012
  • “Gyrating Around the Void. Emptiness as Recurring Topos in Recent German Short Stories on Japan.” Forthcoming in Troubled Affinities. Encounters Between German-Speaking Countries and East Asia.Ed. Qinna Shen and Martin Rosenstock. Spektrum: Publications of the German Studies Association.
  • "Heimat Revisited: German Identity Formation in Hans-Ulrich Treichel’s Short Story Collection Heimatkunde oder Alles ist heiter und edel.“ Forthcoming in Heimat in History, Literature, and Film. Ed. Gabriele Eichmanns and Yvonne Franke. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle upon Tyne, 2013.

Books in Progress

  • Heimat in History, Literature, and Film. Co-edited by Gabriele Eichmanns and Yvonne Franke. Book proposal accepted by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Germany in the Age of Globalization. A Textbook for Advanced Learners of German. Submitted to Heinle/Cengage Learning (under review).

Course Taught

  • 82-121 Elementary German I
  • 82-221 Intermediate German I
  • 82-222 Intermediate German II
  • 82-320 Contemporary Societies in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
  • 82-426 Germany in the Age of Globalization