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Professor Hochbruck | Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hochbruck


1980 – 1986     

English and German for Secondary School Instruction & Magister Artium
University of Freiburg


1. State Examination in English


Magister Artium in German


Dr. phil.
University of Freiburg


University of Stuttgart


University Professor
TU Braunschweig

Since 2003 University Professor for North American Philology
University of Freiburg







Heroes in Education. School Settings and Transfer of Academic Knowledge
Project Ö, third funding period of SFB 948 Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms.


helden in not.pngHelden in der Not
Eine Kulturgeschichte der amerikanischen Feuerwehr

(Heroes in Times of Need: A Cultural History of American Firefighting)

Figurationen des Heroischen 5 (ed. Ralf von den Hoff)

Published as part of SFB 948 Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms.

It seems obvious that firefighters are heroes: they save, extinguish and rescue, are selfless and courageous. Cultural history paints a more nuanced picture that celebrates, rather than mythical heroism, dedication to the democratic community.

Firefighters rescue children from burning houses and cats from trees; they put out forest fires and rescue accident victims from car wrecks. At the latest since the death of 343 members of the Fire Department of New York in the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, firefighters seem obviously to be already-mythical heroic figures. A review of 300 years of cultural history reveals a more multifaceted picture with ups and downs, but also an enduring quality: the willingness to risk one's own health and, if necessary, one's life for the safety of all. The state of a democratic and republican civil society is reflected in the organization and constitution of its fire department.

Origins of the American Short Storyorigins of the american short story
ed. with Aynur Erdogan and Philipp Fidler

Origins of the American Short Story contains ten short stories, a general introduction, and for each story, notes and commentary. The first nine stories originally appeared in American magazines between 1775 and 1797. For the most part, these are proto-short shories, but together they illustrate the major features that were used in the development of the American short story. The last story in the volume, Washington Irving's "The Adventure of a German Student," illustrates the result of this development and represents the American short story as we know it today.



DFG FOR 875 "History in Popular Cultures of Knowledge"


'Theatres of History': Theatrical Re-Constructions of North American History

Project Director: Wolfgang Hochbruck
Research Associate: Carolyn Oesterle; Student Assistants: Anna-Lena Hauenstein, Anna Stockitt, Victoria Tafferner

The last three decades have seen a tremendous proliferation of cultural practices in which history is approached, appropriated and (re-)constructed in dramatized formats and by theatrical means. These 'theatres of history' cover a wide range of phenomena such as experimental archeology, the museological varieties of living history, the very popular forms of period reenactment, and parahistoric live action role play. The North American Studies project analyses the specific mediality of theatrical (re-)con­structions of history, their way of negotiating the past, as well as their attractiveness as a source of recreation and tourist activity. Aim and target of the project are a typology of 'theatres of history', and the situation of its constituent parts within the continuum of academic historiography and (pop)cultural industries. A focus lies also on the complex interrelations between the formation, reproduction and commercialisation of historical knowledge as transmitted through theatres of history.

Project Description

At the turn of the 21st century, the popular representation of history has reached a heyday worldwide. This Research Unit analyses current popularisations of the historical and pre-historical past on the basis of several case studies and aims to develop an interdisciplinary theory that will help to describe and interpret the phenomenon. There will be major emphasis on the socio-cultural functions of popular historical knowledge, its contents and media.
It is a major assumption of this project that knowledge about history is not merely the result of intentional dissemination but rather a product of the informal distribution of popular cultural commodities. At the present time, the dissemination of historical information is characterised by a strong emphasis on an everyday-culture approach: The past is processed in a way that it makes history relevant for the context of the recipient and brings it to life. The disciplines involved in this project are history, archaeology, British and American literary and cultural studies, ethnology as well as media pedagogy.