Prof Jennifer Kapczynski

Jennifer Kapczynski

Honorary Associate Professor of German
PhD, University of California, Berkeley
research interests:
  • 20th and 21st-century German Literature and Film (West and East)
  • Cinema Studies
  • Theory and History of Democratization
  • Representations of Political Subjectivity
  • Gender Theory
  • Holocaust Studies
  • War and Representation
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contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • CB 1104
  • One Brookings Dr.
  • St. Louis, MO 63130
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Professor Kapczynski’s research focuses principally on twentieth and twenty-first century literature and film.

Kapczynski’s monograph The German Patient: Crisis and Recovery in Postwar Culture appeared with University of Michigan Press in 2008. The book examines the place of disease in discussions of German guilt after 1945, and demonstrates that illness provided a key framework for postwar thinkers attempting to explain the emergence and impact of fascism. She has published articles on a range of subjects, from the writings of Heinrich Böll to Heinrich von Kleist, from American war films to post-unification German cinema. She has also co-edited three volumes: Die Ethik der Literatur, with Paul Michael Lützeler; A New History of German Cinema, with Michael D. Richardson; and, most recently, Persistent Legacy: German Studies and the Holocaust, edited together with Erin McGlothlin. Her current book project, The Subject of Democracy, explores the the relationship between film and democratization in West German culture of the 1950s. In spring 2018, she will co-host a related symposium together with colleague Caroline Kita on the subject of "The Arts of Democratization: Styling Political Sensibilities in Postwar West German Culture."

Kapczynski’s broader research and teaching interests include nineteenth through twenty-first century literature, film studies, gender theory, and political theory (particularly theories of political subjectivity and democratization). She has taught courses on German Literature of the Modern Era, German Modernism, the post-1945 “Zero Hour,” History of German Cinema, War Film, Holocaust Film, and Contemporary German Cinema.

Selected Publications

Persistent Legacy: The Holocaust and German Studies. Ed. Erin McGlothlin and Jennifer M. Kapczynski. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2017.

A New History of German Cinema. Ed. Jennifer M. Kapczynski and Michael Richardson. Screen Cultures: German Film and the Visual. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2012.

The German Patient: Crisis and Recovery in Postwar Culture (University of Michigan Press, series on "Social History, Popular Culture, and Politics in Germany," 2008)

“The Singular Jew: Representing National Socialism’s Victims in Recent Historical Cinema,” in: Holocaust Cinema in the 21stCentury: Images, Memory and the Ethics of Representation. Ed. Gerd Bayer and Oleksandr Kobrynskyy. New York: Wallflower. 2015. 117-40.

Full publications list