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Helga G. Braunbeck

Professor of German Studies

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

Withers Hall 301


Helga G. Braunbeck is Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, where she coordinates the German section and oversees the interdisciplinary German Studies Major. She holds degrees from the University of Tübingen, Germany, the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. in German Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Currently she is working on several articles in the areas of the environmental humanities, ecocriticism and the Anthropocene, in particular literary and cultural plant studies.

Her most recent book investigates intermediality in the work of a late 20th century German author from Prague, Libuše Moníková, whose texts are especially rich in references to and simulations of other media, such as art, music, film, and dance (see description and publisher’s link below).

Her previous research project focused on issues of authorship and the author’s relationship with literary predecessors, especially in the case of contemporary German writer Christa Wolf (see description below).

She teaches all levels of German language, culture, and literature, has taught in the dual-department World Literature Program, the UNC-systemwide German Studies Consortium, and is offering interdisciplinary courses in German Studies, such as courses on German Language, Science, Technology and Society; Green Germany – Nature, Environmental Movements, Policies, and Technology; German Environmental Literature, Art and Film; and Sports Culture in the German-speaking countries.

From 2007 to 2010 she served as Director of International Studies within Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and also as Co-Director of the dual-degree program of the Hamilton Scholars between CHASS and the Poole College of Management.

From 2010 to 2014 she served the college as Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs.


Articles in ecocriticism and literary and cultural plant studies, primarily on contemporary German literature.


Coordinator of the German Section.

Advisor for German Studies majors.

Academic Advisor for Study Abroad Exchange Program with Baden-Württemberg.

Research Publications


Figurationen von Kunst, Musik, Film und Tanz: Intermedialität bei Libuše Moníková. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2018.

A study on intermediality in the works of Libuše Moníková, a late 20th- century German author from Prague, within the historical contexts of East-West Cold War politics, the cultural contexts of postmodernism, and theories of intermediality. An analysis of how art, music, film, and dance are referenced or simulated in the literary medium in a kind of “hypertext” – creating a multi-media reading experience that includes visual and auditory realms. The study investigates how the author’s numerous references to artifacts from both Western and Eastern cultural contexts re-situate Czech art, music, film, dance and literature in a Europe without the political boundary of an Iron Curtain and argues that these techniques also clearly place the author’s work in postmodernism.

Reviewed by:

Dana Pfeiferová, in Aussiger Beiträge 12/2018, 213-214.
​​​​​​​Renata Cornejo, in Gegenwartsliteratur: Ein germanistisches Jahrbuch/A German Studies Yearbook 18/2019, pp. 343-345.
Michaela Trenner-Haberkorn, in Monatshefte 112/1, Spring 2020, pp. 169-171.

Autorschaft und Subjektgenese: Christa Wolfs Kein Ort. Nirgends. Vienna: Passagen Verlag, 1992.

An investigation of Christa Wolf’s deconstruction of the traditional concept of authorship which had been established excluding the feminine. Drawing on the theories of Lacan, Kristeva, and Cixous, the study analyzes how Wolf’s writing highlights the heterogeneity of the auctorial subject: how it employs such techniques as creating a strong imaginary dimension of the figure of Kleist (through his dreams, reflections, and hallucinations), works with polyvalent pronouns and a shifting perspective, and presents the reader with auto/alterobiographical fiction that makes it possible for the author to speak in the name of others but also as another. Christa Wolf transgresses the boundaries between self and other, employs the feminine tradition of the dialogic, and inscribes herself into her many-voiced text as part of her poetic program of “subjective authenticity.” Thus she succeeds in constructing a new concept of authorship, which is based on intersubjectivity and intertextuality.

Articles and Book Chapters​​​​​​​

“Arboreal Imaginaries. An Introduction to the Shared Cultures of Trees and Humans.” Editorial to special issue of Green Letters on “Arboreal Imaginaries,” co-edited and co-written with Solvejg Nitzke. 25/4, May 2022.

“Lichen.” Invited chapter for The Neglected Lives of MicroMatter: A Microbium, edited by Joela Jacobs and Agnes Malinowska. Santa Barbara: punctum books, 2022. Forthcoming.

“Writing Trees and Chasing Spirits: Marion Poschmann’s and Esther Kinsky’s Third Nature Poetics.” Plant Poetics, edited by Isabel Kranz, Joela Jacobs, and Solvejg Nitzke (Critical Plant Studies Series, edited by Michael Marder; Leiden: Brill, 2022). Forthcoming.

“Blatt.” Invited chapter for Handbuch Pflanzen, edited by Isabel Kranz and Joela Jacobs (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2022). Forthcoming.

“The Past Erased, the Future Stolen: Lignite Extractivism as Germany’s Trope for the Anthropocene.” Humanities 2021 10(1) 10,

Libuše Moníková: ‘Ich mag Bilder.’ Sudetenland 3 – 4, 2020.

“In the Shadows of the Anthropocene: Gardens and Gardening in Recent German Literature.”  Gegenwartsliteratur: Ein germanistisches Jahrbuch/A German Studies Yearbook 19/2020, 123 – 153.

“Zarte Empirie, Schreiben mit grüner Tinte und die agenzielle Natur: Klaus Modicks Novelle Moos,” Literatur für Leser 2/17, 23 – 41 (Summer 2019).

Recent German Ecocriticism in Interdisciplinary Context. Review article of 7 books on German Ecocriticism and Environmental Literature. Monatshefte 111.1 (Spring 2019), 117 – 135.

“Im Sprung über Prag: Tanz, Identität und Literaturballett im Werk Libuše Moníkovás,” Variations 23, 2015, 103 – 115.

“Competition, Connection, and Collaboration in Smaller German Programs.”
Die Unterrichtspraxis 44/2 (Fall 2011), 146 – 153.

“’Der Roman muß sich die Bilder holen’: Film Discourse in the Texts of Libuše Moníková,” Libuše Moníková: In memoriam. Ed. Brigid Haines and Lyn Marven.Amsterdam: Rodopi (German Monitor 62), 2005, 245 – 279.

“Die Wege zu den Bildern, zu den Tönen, durch die Texte: Intermedialität im Werk Libuše Moníkovás.” Hinter der Fassade: Libuše Moníková. Beiträge der internationalen germanistischen Tagung České Budějovice-Budweis 2003. Ed. Patricia Broser and Dana Pfeiferová. Vienna: Edition Praesens, 2005, 148 – 170.

 “Cesty k obrazům a k tónům: prostřednictví textů Libuše Moníkové.” Literární Noviny, Ročník XIV, 1. Prosince 2003, 1, 11. (Slightly abbreviated version of keynote presented in Česke Budějovice-Budweis, Czech Republic, November 2003 and translated into Czech by Magdalena Hennerová).

 “’The Annexation of Europe to Bohemia’ – Negotiating National Belonging and Transnational Affinities in the Search for Identity (Libuše Moníková).”
Proceedings of the 7th Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI). Bergen, Norway: HIT Centre at the University of Bergen, 2000. CD-ROM.

“Libuše Moníková” and “Prague,” Encyclopedia of German Literature. Ed. Matthias Konzett. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000.

“The Body of the Nation: The Texts of Libuše Moníková.” Monatshefte 89/4, Winter 1997, 489 – 506.

“Biographical Fiction,” “Libuše Moníková,” and “Sister.” The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature. Ed. Friederike Eigler and Susanne Kord.Westport:Greenwood Press, 1997.

“‘Fly, little sister, fly’: Sister Relationship and Identity in Three Contemporary German Stories,” in The Significance of Sibling Relationships in Literature.  Ed. JoAnna Stephens Mink and Janet Doubler Ward. Bowling Green: Bowling GreenStateUniversity Popular Press, 1993, 158 – 169.

“Das weibliche Schreibmuster der Doppelbiographie: Bettina von Arnims und Christa Wolfs Günderrode-Biographik,” in Frauen–Literatur–Revolution.  Ed. Irmgard Roebling and Sigrid Schmidt-Bortenschlager. Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus Verlag, 1992, 231 – 244.


“Gespräche mit Libuše Moníková.” Monatshefte 89.4, Winter 1997, 452 – 467.

Book Reviews

The Geological Unconscious: German Literature and the Mineral Imaginary. By Jason Groves. New York: Fordham UP, 2020. Monatshefte Winter 2021 (forthcoming).

Ökologischer Wandel in der deutschsprachigen Literatur des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts. Neue Ansätze und Perspektiven. Edited by Gabriele Dürbeck, Christine Kanz and Ralf Zschachlitz. Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018. Monatshefte 112.2, Summer 2020, 362-364.

Floriographie: Die Sprachen der Blumen. Edited by Isabel Kranz, Alexander Schwan, and Eike Wittrock. Paderborn: Fink, 2016. Monatshefte 110.1, Spring 2018, 117-120.

Neue Realismen in der Gegenwartsliteratur. Edited by Søren R. Fauth and Rolf Parr. Szenen/Schnittstellen, Vol. 1. Paderborn: Fink, 2016. Gegenwartsliteratur 16 (2017), 335-336.

Taking Stock of German Studies in the United States: The New Millennium. Edited by Rachel J. Halverson and Carol Anne Costabile-Heming. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2015. Monatshefte 109.1, Spring 2017, 177-179.

Emerging German-Language Novelists of the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Lyn Marven and Stuart Taberner. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2011. Monatshefte 106.2, Summer 2014, 341-343.

Deutsch-tschechische Migrationsliteratur – Jiří Gruša und Libuše Moníková. By Ursula Maria Hanus. München: Iudicium, 2008. Monatshefte 103.1, Spring 2011, 144 – 146.

Beschädigung, Entschädigung – Überlieferung, Auslieferung: Körper, Räume und Geschichte im Werk von Libuše Moníková. By Karin Windt. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2007. Monatshefte 100.2, Summer 2008, 311 – 313.

Body and Narrative in Contemporary Literatures in German: Herta Müller, Libuše Moníková, Kerstin Hensel. By Lyn Marven. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Monatshefte 99/1, Spring 2007, 124 – 126.

Writing against Boundaries: Nationality, Ethnicity and Gender in the German-speaking Context. Edited by Barbara Kosta & Helga Kraft. Amsterdam – New York, NY: Rodopi, 2003. Monatshefte 97.4, Winter 2005, 789 – 791.

Autorkategorie und Gedächtnis: Lektüren zu Libuše Moníková. By Antje Mansbrügge. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2002. Monatshefte 97/1, Spring 2005, 154 – 156. 

Subjektive Authentizität: Zur Poetik Christa Wolfs zwischen 1964 und 1975. By Barbara Dröscher. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 1993. Monatshefte 89.1, Spring 1997.

“Rückkehr und Umkehr: ‘Ist es überhaupt noch mein Prag?’– Libuše Moníkovás Verklärte Nacht.” Freitag,Aug. 16, 1996.

Christa Wolfs Kein Ort. Nirgends in der DDR-Literatur der siebziger Jahre. By Peter F. Teupe. Frankfurt am Main, Bern, New York, and Paris: Peter Lang, 1992. German Studies Review 27/1, February 1994.

Wendepunkt: Intermediate German for Proficiency.  By Heidi Byrnes and Stefan Fink. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1987. In Die Unterrichtspraxis 2/1990. Together with Sigrid Berka.


Henauhof-Nordwest – Ein mittelsteinzeitlicher Lagerplatz am Federsee, by Michael A. Jochim (Stuttgart: Theiss Verlag, 1993). Translation of archeology book from English to German.


Invited Lectures

“Environmental Humanities.”
Invited presentation of my research for USC 260 – Research as a Profession (Holly Hurlsburt and Catherine Showalter), NC State University, February 18, 2022.

“The Brilliant Green We Don’t See: Plants and Humans”
Invited Guest Lecture for MLS 501 – Environmental Humanities and Social Ecology (Jordi Marí), NC State University, April 10, 2018.

“German Culture, Berlin, and Green Germany”
Invited Guest Lecture for HS 495/USC 298, sec. 005 – International Urban Landscapes, History and Culture: Berlin-Paris at NC State University, February 4, 2012.

“Success in the Global Marketplace: Germany”
American Institute of Chemical Engineers at NC State University, April 12, 2012

“Writing Literature: Libuše Moníková and the Regime of Images.”
NC German Studies Seminar and Workshop Series. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, February 17, 2008.

“Die Wege zu den Bildern, zu den Tönen, durch die Texte: Intermedialität im Werk Libuše Moníkovás.” Keynote.
International Meeting on the Writer Libuše Moníková. Česke Budějovice-Budweis, Czech Republic, November 2003.

“The Documentary Film The Civilizers: Germans in Guatemala / Los Civilizadores: Alemanes en Guatemala, by Uli Stelzner and Thomas Walter.”
Introductory lecture for film screening. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, Latin American Film Festival, November 2001.

“Franz Kafka: The Metamorphosis and Other Stories.”
World Literature Summer Institute for High School Teachers, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, June 2001.

“Germany: From Romantic Castles to European Nation.”
Evening Programm of the Division of Continuing Studies, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, October 1998.

“Films and Facts: Movies in the German Classroom.”
Lecture at the Center for European Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, August 1997.

“‘The Annexation of Europe to Bohemia’ and Other Views from the East.”
European Germany or German Europe? – German Studies Symposium, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, November 10 – 12, 1995.

Conference Presentations

“Marion Poschmann’s Arboreal Imaginaries.”
German Studies Association, Houston, TX, Sep. 15-18, 2022.

“Eroticism, Ethics, Empathy: Horst Stern’s The Last Hunt.”
Conference on “Hunting Troubles: Gender and its Intersections in the Cultural History of the Hunt.” May 12-14, 2022; virtual.

“Utopia’s User Interface and Its Discontents: Geoengineering, Smart Cities, and Glass Life in Niklas Maak’s Novel Technophoria.”
Conference on “Anticipatory Environmental (Hi)Stories: Narratives of Coming Nature(s) from Antiquity to the Anthropocene.” February 24-25, 2022; virtual.

“The Past Erased, the Future Stolen: Opencast Lignite Mining in Recent German Literature” German Studies Association, Session organized by the Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Network on “Future Past,” Portland, OR, October 3 – 6, 2019.

“Writing Trees and Chasing Spirits: Marianne Poschmann’s and Esther Kinsky’s Third Nature Poetics” Conference on Vegetal Poetics, Dresden, Germany, June 6 – 8, 2019.

“Shadows of the Anthropocene in Gardens of Contemporary German Literature,”
European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture, and the Environment, Würzburg, Germany, Sep. 26 – 29, 2018.

“Palm Trees and a Lion: The Microcosm, Exotic Species and Colonial Discourse of Thomas Hettche’s Pfaueninsel,”
German Studies Association, Session on Tales of the Anthropocene, Atlanta, GA,
Oct. 5 – 8, 2017.

“Tender Science, Writing, and the Agency of Plants: Klaus Modick’s Novella Moos,”
German Studies Association, Seminar on The Literary Life of Plants: Agency, Languages and Poetics of the Vegetal, San Diego, Sep. 29 – Oct. 2, 2016.

“Im Sprung über Prag: Tanz und Intermedialität im literarischen Werk Libuše Moníkovás,”
German Studies Association, Washington, DC, Oct. 1 – 4, 2015.

“Palach’s Death-Mask and Stalin’s Pipe: Libuše Moníková’s Narrative of Life under Socialism”
German Studies Association
Kansas City, Sept. 18 – 21, 2014.

“Figurationen von Kunst, Politik und Literatur in den Romanen von Libuše Moníková”
German Studies Association
Denver, CO, Oct. 3 – 6, 2013.

“Growing German in the Garden of an Academic Community”
Conference of the Modern Language Association
Los Angeles, CA, January 6 – 10, 2011.

“How to Stand on the Shoulders of Kafka”
Kafka at 125. An international scholarly conference in the Research Triangle, NC, April 2 – 4, 2009.

“Images, Bodies, and Politics in the Fiction of Libuše Moníková”
BetweenThree: Arts – Media – Politics. Conference of The International Association for Philosophy and Literature, Freiburg (Germany) –Basel (Switzerland) –Strasbourg (France), June 2006.

“Das Werk Libuše Moníkovás im Raum zwischen Moderne und Postmoderne”
Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference, Knoxville, Tennessee, October 2004.

“The Third Space: Transnationalism in the Novels of Libuše Moníková”
North East Modern Language Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, March 2004.

“Sekunden, die das Leben verändern: Vorschläge zum Unterricht mit den Filmen Das Versprechen und Lola rennt.”
Meeting of theNorth Carolina Chapter of the Association of Teachers of German, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, February 2002.

“The Annexation of Europe toBohemia” – Negotiating National Belonging and Transnational Affinities in the Search for Identity (Libuše Moníková).
Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI), Bergen, Norway, August 2000.

“Whose Life is it Anyway? Politics and the Body in the Novels of Monika Maron and Libuše Moníková.”
German Studies Association, Atlanta, Georgia, October 1999.

“From Dance to Mummification: Constructions of the Body in the Works of Libuše Moníková.”
Conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the Association of Teachers of German, Nashville, Tennessee, November 1997.

“The Body of the Nation: The Texts of Libuše Moníková.”
Modern Language Association, Washington, DC, December 1996.

“The Body of the Nation: The Texts of Libuše Moníková.”
Women in German Conference, St. Augustine, Florida, November 1996.

“Images, Intertexts, and the Postmodern Novel: Libuše Moníková.”
Faculty Seminar Series, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, October 1995.

“The Picaresque Goes Postmodern: Libuše Moníková’s The Façade.”
Modern Language Association, San Diego, California, December 1994.

“Geschlecht, Macht, Gewalt im Spätwerk Dürrenmatts.”
Southeast Conference on Foreign Languages and Literatures.Winter Park,Florida, February 1994.

“Vorschläge zur Arbeit mit dem Film Das schreckliche Mädchen (Michael Verhoeven, 1989) im Unterricht.”
Meeting of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German. Raleigh, North Carolina, October 1993.

“Bild, Begehren und Besitz: im Spiegelkabinett von Dürrenmatts Minotaurus.”
Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. Lexington, Kentucky, April 1993.

“Fassaden und Sgraffiti: Geschichte in Libuše Moníkovás Roman vom anderen Europa.”
German Studies Association. Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 1992.

“Projection of Power/Power of Projection: Libuše Moníková.”
Passions, Persons, Powers. Conference of The International Association for Philosophy and Literature. Berkeley, California, May 1992.

“Vision, Projektion, Identifikation: Film in Friedrich Dürrenmatts Der Auftrag und Midas.”
Southeast Conference on Foreign Languages and Literatures. Winter Park, Florida, February 1992.

“Christa Wolfs Kassandra: Schwesternschaft in Familie und Feminismus.”
Conference of the Pacific Northwest Council on Foreign Languages. Spokane,Washington, May 1991.

“Libuše Moníková’s Topography of Multiple Displacement.”
Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. Lexington, Kentucky, April 1991.

“Kleist’s severed eyelids and Günderrode’s blink of the eye: border crossings between self and other at the intersection of the visual and the textual.”
Crossing the Disciplines: Cultural Studies in the 1990s – Conference sponsored by the Oklahoma Project for Discourse & Theory and the Semiotic Society of America.Norman,Oklahoma, October 1990.

Flieg, Schwesterlein, flieg: Schwesterbeziehung und Identitätsfindung in drei Erzählungen von M.-L. Kaschnitz, B. Strauß und A. Jakob.”
Conference of the American Association of Teachers of German. Boston, Massachusetts, November 1989.

“Hypercard in the German Classroom.”
A demonstration of computer-assisted exercises (using high quality digitized sound) for Beginning German.
Conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Boston, Massachusetts, November 1989.

“Das weibliche Schreibmuster der Doppelbiographie: Bettina von Arnims und Christa Wolfs Günderrode-Biographik.”
Conference of the “Frauen in der Literaturwissenschaft.” Paderborn, Germany, September 1989.


GreenGermany: From Nature Poetry to the Green Party to Being a Leader in Environmental Technology.

Interdisciplinarity in General Education Symposium, NC StateUniversity, April 2, 2008.


Chair of the session “The Body and Sensation”
Conference of the Southern Comparative Literature Association, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, September 2007.

Organizer of the meeting of the North Carolina Chapter of the Association of Teachers of German
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, February 2002.

Organizer and chair of the special session: “Dislocation: Expatriation and Transnationalism at the End of the Millennium.”
Modern Language Association. New Orleans, LA, December 2001.

Organizer of two readings from her novels, and one lecture for honors students, by author Libuše Moníková.
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, October 1994.


“Distance Education Panel: German Studies Through UNC’s Video Network.”

51st Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference. Wilmington, NC, October 2001.


Ph.D. German Literature University of California, Santa Barbara 1990

M.A. German Literature University of Oregon 1984

State Board Examination German and English Literature and Linguistics Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany 1981

Area(s) of Expertise

Environmental Humanities, Ecocriticism and the Anthropocene, Literary and Cultural Plant Studies, Germany and Environmental Issues, German Science and Technology, Intermediality in German Literature, Transnational Literature, Libuše Moníková, Franz Kafka, Postmodernism, Interdisciplinarity