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Klaus L. Berghahn

Weinstein-Bascom Professor of German and Jewish Studies
860 Van Hise Hall
213 Ingraham Hall
Web page:


Klaus L. Berghahn was raised and educated in Duesseldorf (Germany). At the universities of Cologne and Muenster he studied German literature, philosophy, and history. After the completion of his dissertation, he accepted a teaching position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Not knowing much about the place, he found himself to his surprise in one of the oldest and best German Departments in the United States, where he was nurtured -- and flourished. After teaching for twenty years German literature since the 18th century, he participated in the founding of the Jewish Studies program, where he has regularly taught a topic course on German-Jewish relations since the 18th century. Together with Jack Zipes (Minnesota) he was successful in bringing a DAAD Center of Excellence to the Midwest. As its Director for seven years, he built up an interdisciplinary graduate program, taught seminars together with up to three colleagues, and organized many workshops and symposia. He received five offers from other institution, and yet he decided to stay at the UW-Madison mainly on the strength of the German Department, the support of his university, and its excellent library. He compensated his commitment to the UW-Madison by teaching at eight universities in Germany, the United States, Israel, and England, and he widely traveled on lecture tours. Still a member of the German Department, he is affiliated with the Department of History, the Jewish Studies Program, the Integrated Liberal Studies program, and the DAAD Center for German and European Studies.

Research and teaching interests:

  • German literature and culture since the 18th century
  • History of criticism
  • History of utopian thinking
  • History of German-Jewish relations, anti-Semitism

Major publications since 2000:

  • Zukunft in der Vergangenheit. Bielefeld:Aisthesis 2008.
  • Unmasking Hitler. CUltural Representations of Hitler from the Weimar Republic to the Present. (Co-editor with Jost Hermand) Oxford: Lang 2005.
  • Kulturelle Repräsentationen des Holocaust in Deutschland und den Vereinigten Staaten. Ed. by Klaus L. Berghahn, Jürgen Fohrmann, Helmut Schneider, New York: Peter Lang 2002.
  • Friedrich Schiller: Über naive and sentimentalische Dichtung. Stuttgart: Reclam 2002. (Edition, commentary, essay)
  • Goethe in German-Jewish Culture. (Co-editor with Jost Hermand) London/New York: Camden House, 2001.
  • Grenzen der Toleranz. Juden und Christen in der deutschen Aufklärung.Weimar: Boehlau 2000. (2nd edition 2001).
  • Friedrich Schiller: Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen. Stuttgart: Reclam 2000.(Edition, commentary, essay)

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