Prof. Dr. Gesa Mackenthun



Room 8012
August-Bebel-Straße 28
18051 Rostock

Phone: +49 (0)381 498-2586



Born a long time ago in Hamburg and raised in Lower Saxony and Hessia, Gesa Mackenthun received her academic education at Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz (1978-1981) and Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main (MA 1986). She completed her PhD in Frankfurt in 1994. From 1995 to 2003 she was Assistant Professor at Greifswald University, and since 2003 she holds the professorship for American Literature and Culture Studies at Rostock University. She carried out part of her post-doctoral research at Mount Holyoke College, MA, and at the University of California at Berkeley. Gesa Mackenthun initiated, as was from October 2006 to March 2010 the spokesperson of, the Graduate School "Kulturkontakt und Wissenschaftsdiskurs / Cultural Encounters and the Discourses of Scholarship" at Rostock University (funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).


Research Interests

Critical Empire Studies, colonial discourse analysis (16th to 19th century)
Postcolonial Literatures and decolonial theory in the New World
History of American Archaeology and Anthroplogy
19th Century American Literature
Black Atlantic Studies
History of American Studies


Complete list of publications


Monographs (selection)

Fictions of the Black Atlantic in American Foundational Literature. London/New York: Routledge, 2004.

Metaphors of Dispossession. American Beginnings and the Translation of Empire, 1492-1637. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997.

Sea Changes. Historicizing the Ocean. Ed. Bernhard Klein and Gesa Mackenthun. London/New York: Routledge, 2004.

Das Meer als kulturelle Kontaktzone: Räume, Reisende, Repräsentationen. Ed. Bernhard Klein and Gesa Mackenthun. Konstanz: UVK, 2003.

'Between Worlds': The Legacy of Edward Said. Sonderheft der Zeitschrift für Anglistik/Amerikanistik (ZAA). 54,4. Hg. mit Günter Lenz und Holger Rossow. 2005.

Human Bondage in the Cultural Contact Zone. Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Slavery and Its Discourses. Ed. Raphael Hörmann and Gesa Mackenthun. Münster: Waxmann, 2010.

Entangled Knowledge. Scientific Discourse and Cultural Difference. Ed. Klaus Hock and Gesa Mackenthun. Münster: Waxman, 2012.

Agents of Transculturation. Border-Crossers, Mediators, Go Betweens. Ed. Sebastian Jobs and Gesa Mackenthun. Münster: Waxmann, 2014.

Fugitive Knowledge. The Preservation and Loss of Knowledge in Cultural Contact Zones. Ed. Andreas Beer and Gesa Mackenthun. Münster: Waxmann, 2014. Preparing for print.


Project-related Essays

“The Conquest of Antiquity: Territorial Expansion and Romantic Scientific Discourse in the US.” American Travel Writing and Empire. Eds. Susan Castillo and David Seed. Liverpool University Press, 2009. 99-128.

“Women’s Liberation Through Archaeology in Yucatán.” Review of Lawrence Gustave Desmond, ed. Yucatán Through Her Eyes. Alice Dixon Le Plongeon, Writer & Expeditionary Photographer. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009. A Contracorriente 7,2 (Winter 2010) 336-43.

“Imperial Archaeology: The American Isthmus as Contested Scientific Contact Zone.” Surveying the American Tropics. Literary Geographies from New York to Rio. Ed. Maria Cristina Fumagalli, Peter Hulme, Owen Robinson, Lesley Wylie. Liverpool University Press, 2013. 101-30.

“Fossils and Immortality. Geological Time and Spiritual Crisis in Nineteenth-Century America.” Deutungsmacht.Religion und Belief Systems in Deutungsmachtkonflikten. Ed. Philipp Stoellger. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. 259-83.

“Digging Far and Deep: Archaeological Sites, Dislocations, and Heterotopoi in Postcolonial Writing.” Transculturation and Aesthetics. Ed. Joel Kuortti. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2014. In print. 15 pp.

“Postkolonialer Ecocriticism.” Ecocriticism. Eine Einführung. Ed. Gabriele Dürbeck und Urte Stobbe. Köln: UTB Böhlau, 2015. Ca. 10 pp.

“Hidden Cities in the American Wilderness: The Cultural Work of a Romantic Trope.” The Politics of Visibility in the American West. Ed. Wendy Harding. Miranda Online Journal, 2015. 


In print

“Night of First Ages: Deep Time and the Colonial Denial of Temporal Coevalness.” Frederike Offizier, Marc Priewe, Ariane Schröder, ed. Crossroads in American Studies: Transnational and Biocultural Encounters. Heidelberg: Winter, 2015. Ca. 15 pp. In print.

“‘Unhallowed Mysteries’ in the Colonial Archive. Competing Epistemologies in North America.” Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies. Ed. Diana Bryden, Peter Forsgren, and Gunlög Fur. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2015. Ca. 20 pp. In print.

“Bisoncide and Neo-Savagism: The Myth of the Unecological Indian.” America After Nature. Ed. Catrin Gersdorf et al. Heidelberg: Winter, 2016. Ca. 20 pp.