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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities

Renate Hof - CV & Research

studied English and American Literature, German Literature and Linguistics.


Ph.D., Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich

1983 - 1992

Assistant Professor, Amerika-Institut, Munich


Research Fellowship in American Studies, American Council of Learned Societies, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.




Visiting Professor, Universität Konstanz

1993 -

Full Professor of American Literary and Cultural Studies, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin


1984 - 1992

Member of the advisory board of the German Association of American Studies

1988 -

Co-editor, Amerikastudien/American Studies


Research Interests:

19th and 20th - Century American Literature; Narrative Theory; Feminist Criticism, Gender Studies. A new DFG-research project "Engendering Authority" considers the implications of the concept of gender for a reconceptualization of traditional genre theories. Starting with the genre of the essay, it analyzes the ways in which the relation between authority and authorship has structured the production of cultural knowledge. As numerous critics have pointed out, the emergence of the essay coincides with the appearance of the individual humanist subject in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Linked to the reorganization of knowledge the genre itself is marked by its own self-containment, its authority resting mainly on the voice of a speaking/writing self. For nontraditional proponents of this mode of writing, namely those who are not white middle- or upper-class men, one of the problems has been the question of how to situate themselves in relation to the institutionalized forms of the genre. Seen from this perspective, the essay as a form of self-experimentation cannot be understood without considering the interaction between the cultural production of subjectivity and an institutionally sanctioned authority of the essay-writer.