Professor Kapczynski’s research focuses principally on twentieth century literature and film. Her current book project explores the reconstruction of masculinity in West German cinema of the 1950s.
Kapczynski’s monograph The German Patient: Crisis and Recovery in Postwar Culture appeared with University of Michigan Press in 2008. The book examines the place of disease in discussions of German guilt after 1945, and demonstrates that illness provided a key framework for postwar thinkers attempting to explain the emergence and impact of fascism.
She has published articles on a range of subjects, from the writings of Heinrich Böll to Heinrich von Kleist, from American war films to post-unification German cinema. She has also co-edited three volumes: Die Ethik der Literatur, with Paul Michael Lützeler; A New History of German Cinema, with Michael D. Richardson; and most recently, Persistent Legacy: German Studies and the Holocaust, edited together with Ern McGlothlin. Her current book project, The Subject of Democracy, explores the the relationship between film and democratization in West German culture of the 1950s. In spring 2018, she will co-host a related symposium together with colleague Caroline Kita on the subject of "The Arts of Democratization: Styling Political Sensibilities in Postwar West German Culture."
Kapczynski’s broader research and teaching interests include nineteenth through twenty-first century literature, film studies, gender theory, and political theory (particularly theories of political subjectivity and democratization). She has taught courses on German Literature of the Modern Era, German Modernism, the post-1945 “Zero Hour,” History of German Cinema, War Film, Holocaust Film, and Contemporary German Cinema.