Gastvortrag – Prof. Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck: Wheat, Sustainability, and Culture

Sommervorträge 2019 – Why Environmental Humanities? | Prof. Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck is deputy professor of the Chair of American Studies at Universität Regensburg. Her current research projects include the book project “Environmental Humanities: A Cultural History of the Wheat (from a transatlantic perspective)” (WZU Augsburg Research Group).

Sommervorträge 2019 – Why Environmental Humanities? | Gastvortrag von Prof. Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck, Professorin und Lehrstuhlvertretung am Lehrstuhl Amerikanistik (Chair of American Studies) der Universität Regensburg


In her talk about ‘Wheat, Sustainability, and Culture’, Prof. Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck traces the cultural meaning(s) of the wheat as a deeply economized crop which, through agricultural breeding, seems to adapt easily to ever new climate and soil conditions, creating dependencies and shaping the landscape on a global scale. There is no other crop that embodies cultural values to a comparable degree while simultaneously ignoring the need for a more sustainable agriculture that secures long-term future survival. Starting from the multiform representations of the wheat in American culture, this lecture traces the genesis of this crop as a central marker of cultural self-definition. It examines the cultural premises preventing a balanced relationship between ecological, economic, and social factors and asks about the potential usages of art, literature, and other forms of cultural expression to help form a future-proof, and more sustainable understanding of the wheat.


Prof. Dr. Kirsten Twelbeck has taught American Studies at the universities of Hannover, Göttingen, Berlin (FU) und Augsburg. Right now she is Acting Professor for American Studies at Regensburg University. Apart from many articles in scholarly journals and anthologies she has written two monographs: No Korean is Whole, Wherever He or She May Be (2002) und Beyond the Civil War Hospital: The Rhetoric of Healing and Democratization in Northern Reconstruction Writing (1861-1882) (2014). Many of her publications focus on the multiple connections between cultural contact and aesthetic form, asking about the various functions of cultural artefacts in broader, and more complex, relations of exchange. This also lies at the heart of her current research project in the Environmental Humanities about the cultural dimension(s) of the wheat. Cast as a Global Player with a strong cultural component the wheat connects well with her other fields of interest, especially in the fields of Transpacific, Transatlantic and Postcolonial Studies but also with her more narrowly political research topics such as Nation Building and democratization.

Date comment:
Die Veranstaltung findet in englischer Sprache statt.

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