Caroline Kita

Caroline Kita

​Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Literature
PhD, Duke University
research interests:
  • 19th and 20th Century German and Austrian Literature and Culture
  • German-Jewish Studies
  • Aesthetic Philosophy and Religion
  • Music and Narrative
  • The Radio Play (Hörspiel) in German Culture

contact info:

office hours:

  • On Leave in Fall 2019
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mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
    CB 1104
    ONE BROOKINGS DR.
    ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

​Professor Kita's scholarship focuses on German and Austrian culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Professor Kita is particularly interested in aesthetic philosophy, music and literature, drama and sound studies. Her research has examined religious and cultural identity in the works of Jewish writers and composers in Austria from the turn of the twentieth century to the Second World War, and she has published on the works of Richard Beer-Hofmann, Siegfried Lipiner, Gustav Mahler, and Arnold Schoenberg.

Her monograph, Jewish Difference and the Arts in Vienna: Composing Compassion in Music and Biblical Drama examines the role of music and theater in shaping discourses of inclusion and otherness in fin-de-siècle Vienna. Her current book project, Border Territories: The Emancipatory Soundscapes of Postwar German Radio, focuses on the narrative radio drama, or Hörspiel, and traces how the ability of this acoustic-narrative genre to realize dynamic relationships between the temporal and spatial, the real and imaginary, the past and the present, allowed it to function as a unique mode of cultural critique and political commentary. In spring 2018, she will co-host a symposium together with colleague Jennifer Kapczynski on the subject of “The Arts of Democratization: Styling Political Sensibilities in Postwar West German Culture.”

Professor Kita teaches language courses on all levels, as well as seminars on various aspects of German and European culture. Her course offerings include "Rebellion, Regression, Rebirth: German Literature from the Vormärz to the Fin-de-Siècle," "Vienna 1900," "What Dreams May Come: Explorations of the Psyche in Viennese Modernism," and "Reading Radio: The Sounds of German History and Culture."

She has studied at the University of Vienna, the University of Potsdam, and the University of Duisburg-Essen. Kita was the recipient of a Fulbright Grant to Austria in 2004-05, and has received funding for advanced research from the Austrian Exchange Service (OeAD), who awarded her an Ernst Mach Grant in 2012 and a Franz Werfel Fellowship in 2015 and 2017. She was a faculty fellow at the Center for the Humanities here at Washington University in spring 2018.

Selected Publications

Jewish Difference and the Arts in Vienna: Composing Compassion in Music and Biblical Drama. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Forthcoming, 2019.

"Richard Beer-Hofmann’s Die Historie von König David: Jewish Biblical Drama and the Limits of Epic Theater." The German Quarterly. 89.2 (2016). 133-149.

"Myth, Metaphysics and Cosmic Drama: The Legacy of Faust in Lipiner's Hippolytos and Mahler's Eighth Symphony.Monatshefte. 105.4 (Winter 2013).