Klaus Benesch is “LMU International Research Professor” and Professor of English and American Studies at LMU, the University of Munich. 

His research interests include American literary and cultural history; architecture, urbanism, and the history of technology; mass media and cultural theory.

Positions Held

  • Since 2022 “LMU International Research Professor” at Harvard University and the École normale supérieure (ENS Lyon).
  • 2007 Full Professor (Chair), Department of English and American Studies, LMU Munich
  • 2004 Visiting Professor, Department of English, Weber State University (Ogden, UT)
  • 2004 Outside offer: American Literature (chair/program director), University of Freiburg (rejected)
  • 2000 Outside offer: American Literature (chair/program director), University of Göttingen (rejected)
  • 2000-07 Full Professor (Chair), Department of English, University of Bayreuth
  • 1995-96 Visiting Professor, Department of English, University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA)
  • 1993-99 Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Freiburg (Germany)


  • 1999 Dr. habil.; University of Freiburg
  • 1990 Dr. phil.; University of Munich
  • 1986 M.A.; University of Munich

Academic Service/Scholarly Affiliations

  • Dean, School of Languages and Literatures, LMU Munich, 2011-2013
  • Dean of Research, School of Languages and Literatures, LMU Munich, 2009-2011
  • Director (2007-2013) and Board member (2002-2014), Bavarian American Academy
  • Editorial Board, American Studies Encyclopedia Online (published by the American Studies Association), 2007-2010
  • Advisory Board, Revue francaise d’études americaine
  • Editorial Board, Prospettive Americane, published by LT2 (Venice).
  • Reader: University of Minnesota Press; University of Pennsylvania Press; University of Alabama Press; Palgrave-Macmillan (New York); Melus (The Journal of The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States); PoCoPages (Presses universitaires de la Méditerranée); African-American Review; Pacific Coast Philology: Journal of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language AssociationAmerikastudien/American Studies (an academic quarterly published by the German Association for American Studies); Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte
  • Referee/reader: German Research Foundation (DFG), Mercator-Research Center Ruhr, Humboldt Foundation, Swiss SNF, the Belgium National Fund for Scientific Research (NFSR), National Science Centre, Poland, and various other international academic funding institutions.
  • Member of the jury of the Academy of Finland, a governmental funding body for scientific research in Finland (2021/22)
  • Member of the jury (for both junior and senior applicants) of the “Institut universitaire de
    France”, Ministère de l’enseignement supérieur, de la recherche et de l’innovation, Paris
  • Referee/reader for the Bogliasco Foundation, New York/Genoa
  • Referee/member of the prize committee “LMU Kulturpreis,” 2009-2011, award total: €150,000; awarded to Mike Davis, Bruno Latour, Julia Kristeva, et al.
  • Member of the “Centre d´Études Africain Americain et Diasporique” (CEAAD/Paris)
  • Member of the research group “The Representation of Slavery in Literature and the Arts,” Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University, 2005-06 (organized and directed by David Blight)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA); Member of the MLA Delegate Assembly (delegate for scholars residing outside the US and Canada), 2003-2006
  • Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA)
  • American Studies Association (ASA)
  • Poe Studies Association (PSA)
  • The Society for Literature and Science (SLS)
  • Collegium for African American Research (CAAR)
  • European Association for American Studies (EAAS)
  • German Association for American Studies (DGfA)
  • Bavarian American Academy (BAA)


  • LMU International Research Professor, Harvard University (2022/23)/ Ècole Normale Supérieur de Lyon (2023/24)
  • Visiting professor (invited), School of Business, special program in ‘Technology’, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland (2018 and 2021)
  • Visiting professor (invited), Contextual Program “Technology,” University of St. Gallen, 2018
  • Residency Fellowship in “Architecture,” Bogliasco Foundation NewYork/Genoa, 2017
  • Visiting professor (invited), Venice International University (VIU), San Servolo, 2016
  • Professeur invité, Université de Bordeaux Montaigne, 2014-2015
  • Professeur invité, École Normale Supérieur de Lyon (ENS), 2010/11
  • Staff member (invited), International Program (IP), Universitá di Venezia, 2010-2012
  • Honorary member of the “Centre d’Études Africain Americaine Diasporique” (CEAAD/Paris), since 2010
  • Visiting professor (invited), Stanford University, Program in “Science, Technology, and Society,” 2008
  • Member (invited) of the research group “The Representation of Slavery in Literature and the Arts,” Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, Yale University (organized and directed by David Blight), 2005-2006
  • Mellon Fellowship, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas (Austin), 2003-2004
  • Max-Kade-Fellowship, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), 1996
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship of the German Research Foundation (DFG), 1991-1992
  • ‘American Studies Award’ (1990). Awarded by the ‘Amerika-Institut’, University of Munich, for the essay “Oral Narrative and Literary Text: Afro-American Folklore in Their Eyes Were Watching God”. In: Callaloo. A Journal of Afro-American and African Arts and Letters (The Johns Hopkins University Press) 11.3 (1988): 627-35
  • Oskar-Karl-Forster publication grant (1990). For the publication of The Threat of History: Narrative Discourse and Historical Consciousness in Contemporary Afro-American Fiction
  • Research and Travel Grant by the German Academic Exchange Service, 1987
  • Doctoral Fellow of the Bavarian Graduate Fellowship Program (Bayerische Graduiertenförderung), University of Munich, 1986-88

Research Funding

  • “Selbstbeobachtung und Selbstermächtigung in der amerikanischen Aufklärung”. Principal investigator, DFG Collaborative Research Centre 1369 “Cultures of Vigilance. Transformations—Spaces—Practices” (2019-23)
  • “Places of Beginnings: Topographies of Renewal in the American Renaissance, 1820-1870.” Principal investigator, DFG research group 593 “Beginnings in/of Modernity” (2009-12)
  • Principal investigator, DFG research training group 1733 “Literature and Globalization” (2011-14)
  • Principal investigator, Elite Network of Bavaria, Doctorate Program “Mimesis” (2014-19)
  • Ongoing project funding by DFG, DAAD, DGfA, BAA, American Embassy/Consulate General and various academic and non-academic funding institutions

Supervised Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Degrees

Second Book (“Habilitation”)

  • Schmidt, Kerstin. „Negative Space and the Making of Modern America: Spatial Reconfigurations in American Literature, Architecture, and Photography, 1850-1920“ (2010)
  • Pöhlmann, Sascha. „Future-Founding Poetry: The Topography of Beginnings From Whitman to the Twenty-First Century“ (2014)
  • Patrick Geiger. “Selbstbeobachtung und Selbstermächtigung in der amerikanischen Aufklärung” (2023)


  • Loredana Filip (Romania). “Happy Confessions? Science Communication and Reading in the Age of American Self-Help Culture” (2023)
  • Paolo Pitari (cotutelle Ca’Foscari, Venice/LMU Munich). “The Existentialist Contradiction. The Necessary Unbearable Suffering of Free Will in David Foster Wallace” (2020)
  • Christine Faber (Luxembourg).”The Unsettled State of America: Contemporary Narratives of Home and Mobility in Times of Crisis” (2020)
  • Ines Ghalleb (Tunisia). “The Interdisciplinary Mind: Modes of Evolution in Richard Power’s Galatea 2.2, Plowing in the Dark, The Echo Maker, and Generosity: An Enhancement” (2020)
  • Patrick Geiger. “Das flüssige Selbst: Henry David Thoreau’s Walden und globales Bewußtsein” (2020)
  • Hufford, Kent Landon Hufford (USA). “From Necessity to Contingency: Tracing the Historiography of Technology in the Work of Stuart Chase, Lewis Mumford and Marshall McLuhan” (2020)
  • Bryan Howard Banker (USA). “Black Hegelians, Dialectical Philosophy in the Aesthetics of W.E.B. DuBois, C.L.R. James, Paul Robeson, and Langston Huges” (2019)
  • Thoren Opitz. “From World Wide Walt to International Hov: The Making of Global Poetics in Whitman and Rap” (2018)
  • Andrew Frederick Allen (USA). “After Postmodernism: Ethical Paradigms in Contemporary American Fiction” (2018)
  • Straß, Hanna. “Stories of Pollution: Narrating Toxicity in Postcolonial Contexts” (2015)
  • Vrzina, Anita (Serbia). “Freeing the Image: Aesthetics and Politics of the Contemporary African American Novel” (2015)
  • Rees, Daniel (Great Britain). “Hunger and Modern Writing: Melville, Kafka, Hamsun, and Wright” (2015)
  • Huber, Sebastian. “Subject of the Event: Reagency in the American Novel after 2000” (2014)
  • Söllner, Louisa. “Missing Pictures: Photography, History, and Nostalgia in Cuban-American Literature” (2012)
  • Gerhold, Heike. “Outside the American Mainstream: Self and Society in T.C. Boyle’s Fiction” (2011)
  • Estes, Andrew (USA). “Cormac McCarthy and the Writing of American Spaces” (2010)
  • Pöhlmann, Sacha. “Pynchon’s Postnational Imagination” (2008)
  • Block, Petra. “The Creolization of Food in New Orleans” (2007)