Maria Kaspirek

Research Interests

  • Current Ph.D. project: “(In)Sanitary Science. The Discourse of Mental Hygiene as Tacit Knowledge in Antebellum Literature”
  • Literary Theory
  • History of Knowledge/Knowledge Production in Literature and Science
  • Mythology and Mythopoeia
  • Gothic Fiction
  • Medicine and Literature


  • Lecturer at the Department of English and American Studies (since October 2016)
  • Fellow of AriadnePhil mentoring program, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg (since 2016)
  • Participant of the BAA Summer Academy on “Material Cultures” (Miami, 2016)
  • Doctoral fellow of the DFG graduate program 1718 “Presence and Tacit Knowledge” (since 2015)
  • Studied German Philology, Comparative Literature, Book Studies, and English Literary Studies at University of Vienna, Johannes Gutenberg- University of Mainz, and University of Aberdeen (2010-2014)


  • Member of the German Association for American Studies (DGfA) and the forum for postgraduates (PGF) of the DGfA (since 2015)
  • Member of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society (since 2015)


Papers and Lectures

  • “The Battle for Authority: Literary and Medical Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century America.” HCA Spring Academy 2017, Heidelberg (March 2017)
  • “Timeless Madness? Temporal Strands of a Literary Topos.” (De-)Konstruktionen von Zeitlichkeit: Optimierung – Wahrnehmung – Erzählung, Konferenz des DFG-Graduiertenkollegs 1718 „Präsenz und implizites Wissen“, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg (Oct. 2016)
  • “Self-Help and Self-Improvement: The Reception of Phrenology and Neuroscience.” Neurocultures: Brain Imaging and Imagining the Mind, Department of English Studies, University of Bielsko-Biala (Sept. 2016)
  • “Phrenology and the Mind-Body Problem in Nineteenth-Century America.” The Body and Pseudoscience in the Long Nineteenth Century, Newcastle University (June 2016)
  • “A Strange Sympathy betwixt Soul and Body“ – Material(ist) Psychiatry in The Scarlet Letter.Material Cultures, BAA Summer Academy, Miami (June 2016)
  • “The Politics of Madness – Psychiatry as a Tool of Social and Self-Control.” Defining and Defying the Concept of Deviance and Degeneration in the British Isles and North America in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Journée d’études, Université Lyon II (Jan. 2016)
  • “Heredity and Insanity in The Scarlet Letter.Annual Postgraduate Conference of the German Association of American Studies, University of Bamberg (Nov. 2015)
  • “Domesticity as a Cure for Mental Illness in The House of the Seven Gables.Homeliness, Domesticity, and Security in American Culture, Polish Association for American Studies, University of Warsaw (Sept. 2015)


  • Antebellum (Pseudo) Science and Literature (Undergraduate Seminar)