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Paul J. BuchholzAssociate Professor of German StudiesDirector of Undergraduate StudiesStudy Abroad CoordinatorHonors Program Coordinator


  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 2010
  • M.A., Cornell University, 2009
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin, 2005


Teaching Fields: Twentieth and twenty-first century German prose, Austrian literature, narrative form, social theory, literature and politics of environmental crisis

Paul Buchholz began his studies in German literature at the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee and Madison). He received his Ph.D. in German Studies from Cornell University in 2010, focusing on literary theory and the history of the German novel. After holding the postdoctoral position of Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow at New York University in 2010-11, he worked as an Assistant Professor in the German Departments at Scripps College (2011-15) and the University of California-Berkeley (2015-16). His research was recognized with the Mary W. Johnson Faculty Achievement Award at Scripps College in 2015, and he has received two grants for study and research from the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). In 2020 he was to be the Fulbright-IFK Senior Fellow in Cultural Studies at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna, Austria, prior to the disruption of the Fulbright program by the Covid-19 crisis. 

Buchholz’ research focuses on German-language prose of the twentieth and twenty-first century, with a special emphasis on Austrian experimental fiction. He is particularly interested in how the experiments with narrative form can complicate commonplace ideas of human community, such as the nuclear family, the nation-state, and humanity as a ‘planetary’ community in the age of transnational ecological crisis. His first book, Private Anarchy: Impossible Community and the Outsider’s Monologue in German Experimental Fiction, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2018. Buchholz’ next book project, tentatively titled Communities of Desolation, will explore how threats of environmental degradation and destruction inspired new images of transnational human collectivity in German-language literature after 1968. In parallel to these two book projects, Buchholz has published a range of articles on twentieth and twenty-first century German prose in The German QuarterlyMonatshefte,The Journal of Austrian StudiesTRANSITGegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies YearbookThe Thomas Bernhard Yearbook, and has contributed to the Companion to Robert Walser (Northwestern University Press, 2018) 

Prof. Buchholz enjoys teaching language and literature because these courses offer a chance to encounter cultural artifacts and texts that challenge our accepted ways of describing the world, and allow us to experiment with new ideas of self and society. He has worked extensively in developing undergraduate curriculum that underscores the relevance of German Studies for university students in the twenty-first century. In the past, he has taught German language and literature courses focusing on political protest, gender politics, family and domesticity, modern ecological thought, and theories of political community.



Private Anarchy: Impossible Community and the Outsider’s Monologue in German Experimental Fiction. Northwestern University Press, 2018.


“Why Ecological Archives?” Introduction to special double issue Ecological Archives ed. Caroline Schaumann and Paul Buchholz. Colloquia Germanica vol.53, no.2-3 (2021), 109-119 (peer-reviewed). 

“Shadows of the Commons: The “No man’s lands” of Jürgen Becker and Jochen Schimmang.” Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook 20 (2020), 223-245 (peer-reviewed).

“Impossible Escapes: Ecological Counterculture in Franz Krahberger’s Humbolts Reise.” Monatshefte vo.112, no.1 (2020), 102-126 (peer-reviewed). 

“Ecological Pessimism and the Pronouns of the Future in Nicolas Born’s ‘Radical Harvest.’” The German Quarterly vol.92, no.3 (2019), 365-383 (peer-reviewed). 

“Out of a Job: ‘Giving Notice’ in The Tanners and The Assistant” in A Companion to Robert Walser. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 2018: 125-141. 

“Planetary Alienation: Negation of the Whole Earth in 1970s Austrian Prose.” Austrian Studies 48:4 (2015), 27-52 (peer-reviewed). 

“Eco-Romanticism: Terezia Mora’s Der einzige Mann auf dem Kontinent and the Re-reading of Marlen Haushofer’s Die Wand.” Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook 14 (2015), 147-169 (peer-reviewed). 

“Anarchic Affinities in Thomas Bernhard’s Fiction of 1978: JaDer Stimmenimitator, and the Specter of Ingeborg Bachmann.” Gegenwartsliteratur: A German Studies Yearbook 13 (2014), 87-110 (peer-reviewed). 

Introduction for special issue Satire and Polemic in Austrian LiteratureJournal of Austrian Studies 46:1 (2013), xxiii-xxiv. 

“Konstellationen der Klischeevorstellungen. Zur politischen Thematik in Thomas Bernhards frühen Leichtlebig-Fragmenten.” Thomas Bernhard Jahrbuch 2009/2010 (Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2011), 125-135  

“Bordering on Names: Strategies of Mapping in the Prose of Terézia Mora and Peter Handke.” TRANSIT 7(1) (Spring 2011) (peer-reviewed). 


Max Peintner, “The Dam” (1981). Translation and introduction by Paul Buchholz. Mountains and the German Mind: Translations from Gessner to Messner, 1541-2009. Edited by Sean Ireton and Caroline Schaumann. Rochester: Camden House, 2020, pp. 291-303.