Caroline Kita

​Assistant Professor of German
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 in German Culture

contact info:

office hours:

  • On Leave 2017-18
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mailing address:

  • CB 1104
  • 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, and the connections between literature and music. Her publications investigate the literary and philosophical writings of the Austrian-Jewish poet Siegfried Lipiner and his friendship and intellectual exchange with the composer Gustav Mahler. Currently, her research examines 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, including Richard Beer-Hofmann, Stefan Zweig, Arnold Schoenberg, and Franz Werfel.

Her course offerings range from language courses of all levels to seminars on various aspects of German and European culture, such as music, literature and national identity, Classicism, Romanticism, and Modernism. In addition to music, Professor Kita researches other aspects of auditory culture, including the radio play, or Hörspiel, as a literary genre.

Kita has studied at the University of Vienna, the University of Potsdam and the University of Duisburg-Essen. She was the recipient of a Fulbright Grant to Austria in 2004-2005, and has received funding for advanced research from the OeAD, who awarded her an Ernst Mach Grant in 2012 and a Franz Werfel Fellowship in 2015.


Selected Publications

"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).

recent courses

Advanced German: Core Course V (German 302D)

Continuation of Ger 301D. Refinement and expansion of German communication skills (speaking, listening, writing, reading), deepening understanding of German grammatical structures, acquisition of more sophisticated and varied vocabulary, introduction to stylistics through discussion and analysis of literary and non-literary texts. In addition to the regular class meetings, students should sign up for a twice-weekly subsection.

    What Dreams May Come: Explorations of the Psyche in Viennese Modernism (German 432)

    This course investigates the relationship between the burgeoning field of psychoanalysis to modernist art and literature in Vienna at the beginning of the twentieth century. Examining literary texts and artworks alongside theories of dreams and the unconscious by thinkers such as Ernst Mach and Sigmund Freud, we analyze the ways that visual artists, composers and poets sought to divulge the inner workings of the psyche. Our discussion will focus on questions such as: what forms and what visual, aural and verbal languages were developed to represent subjective experience? How did theories of memory and trauma, and ideas about gendered psyches shape the depiction of individual agency in these works? What can these works tell us about the larger societal forces at play in this cultural moment? Readings will include the drama, poetry and novellas of Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, musical works by Mahler and Schoenberg, and the visual art of Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka. Readings and discussion in German.

      Seminar in Cultural Theory: Vienna 1900 (German 529)

      Since the publication of historian Carl Schorske's seminal work Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture more than three decades ago, the capital of the Habsburg Empire has emerged as a point of fascination for historians, musicologists and scholars of German literature and culture. A time of experimentation and innovation in the arts, philosophy, psychology and the natural sciences, Vienna 1900 also conjures up images of the "gay apocalypse," a culture of aestheticism and decadence that blissfully disregarded the crumbling political and social structures of a monarchy in decline. This course will provide an introduction to fin-de-siècle Viennese culture through an interdisciplinary approach. We will read diverse literary texts by authors such as Robert Musil, Stefan Zweig, Arthur Schnitzler, Karl Kraus, and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and examine works of visual art (Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka), architecture (Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos), and music (Gustav Mahler and Arnold Schoenberg). Through these works we will explore issues of gender, Jewish identity and the modern language crisis. Finally, we will also discuss the legacy of turn of the century Vienna to the present day, examining the work of scholars who have sought to expand upon or challenge Schorske's paradigm. Primary texts will be read in German, discussion in English.