Caroline Weist


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
B.A. University of Richmond


Since starting to learn German many years ago, my studies have taken me to the University of Richmond for my B.A. in German and English, the University of Pennsylvania for my Ph.D in German Literature, the Freie Universität Berlin for Fulbright research, the Universität zu Köln, the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, the Schweizerisches Literaturarchiv Bern, and many places in between.

My primary research interest has always been in theatre and performance studies, but my current work focuses on the intersection of theatrical performance with disability, gender, and queer theory. Building on the work I began in my dissertation, which investigated the onstage dynamic between the concepts of prosthesis and Heimat (German for "home"), my current book project widens that focus in order to explore how theatre illuminates the complex and contradictory history of the term Volkskörper ("body of the people") in the 20th century.

In recent years, I have presented on a variety of topics in that area, including Georg Kaiser's Von morgens bis mitternachts, Ernst Toller's Hinkemann, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt's Der Besuch der alten Dame. My interests go beyond the twentieth century, however, and I have also written and spoken on several works that fall considerably earlier, such as Daniel Caspar von Lohenstein's baroque tragedy Epicharis, Charlotte von Stein's Dido, C.M. Wieland's novel Geschichte des Agathon, and Christian Spuck's balletic adaptation of Büchner's Leonce und Lena.

As an educator, I'm always looking for new ways for students to experience the course material, whether through performance or other forms of alternative engagement that unite us as a learning community. At Penn, I received the School of Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching by a Graduate Student, and teaching continues to play a central role in my work as a scholar. I have also organized several conferences and colloquia, and place great value on establishing venues for students to exchange ideas and inspire intellectual creativity in their peers.

Personal Interests

If not at my desk or in the classroom, I am most likely to be in the pool, polishing up my synchronized swimming skills, or else attempting in vain to catch up on everything both wonderful and terrible that we call television. I am also the managing director of German-American physical theatre company Kinderdeutsch Projekts, which has performed in New York City, Bangkok, Berlin, Hildesheim, and San Francisco, and plans to adapt Walter Hasenclever's Die Menschen for a future production.


GER 102 B Elementary German II
GER 341 Performing Sex and Gender