Kirsten Kumpf Baele, Ph.D.



Kirsten E. Kumpf Baele, Ph.D. is Lecturer and Outreach Coordinator of German in the Division of World Languages, Literatures & Cultures at the University of Iowa. In addition to teaching courses on German literature, language, and culture, she created and annually teaches the popular seminar Anne Frank & Her Story. It is her proposal that successfully brings the 13th Anne Frank horse chestnut tree to the University of Iowa and by extension larger Iowa City community. For this reason, she is collaborating with numerous campus and city organizations to put forward programming that connect with the anticipated sapling including her role as co-awardee of the Anne Frank Initiative 2022 (with the upcoming Provost’s Global Forum). In the classroom Kumpf Baele combines learning goals and community service projects in ways that enrich student growth and the common good. Specifically in Anne Frank & Her Story, she makes more accessible difficult (hi)stories and the impact these have on post-secondary students. With the support of an Iowa Center for Undergraduate (ICRU) full-year fellow, the Iowa Women’s Archives (IWA), and the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio, she is spearheading a project that will implement an interactive digital map and coinciding app to shed light on Jewish history in the Iowa City and larger Corridor area. Kumpf Baele identifies that the “body” can serve for students as a site of knowing not only the self but also for developing empathy for other persons both locally and globally. In this sense, her focus on community engagement draws parallels with and calls attention to the “helper figure” (the upstander) and the hope associated with this figure both in past and present times. A similar civic initiative has been her work with the Oakdale Community Choir which takes place inside the Oakdale prison, a medium-security prison in Coralville, Iowa. In conjunction with this volunteer work, she developed a first-year seminar “Penned In: Voices of the Confined” which asks students to study and discuss imprisonment in its varying forms. One component of the course includes a prison visit during which students talk with inmates about their experiences with art and literature. Kumpf Baele continuously pushes her students and herself as educator to personalize the past by localizing it with stories from the respective local communities. Kumpf Baele has recently published in Amsterdam University Press, McFarland, and LIT Verlag. In the summer of 2022, supported with a fellowship from the Stanley-UI Foundation and International Programs, Kumpf Baele will serve as a Visiting Fellow to conduct scholarly work with a focus on embodied pedagogy at Ghent University together with an Associate Professor in the Department of Translation, Interpreting, and Communication which builds on Kumpf Baele’s public humanities work on Anne Frank.

Courses Taught

I. Language Program (taught in German)

  • GRMN 1001 / Elementary German I 
  • GRMN 1002 / Elementary German II 
  • GRMN 1020 / Intensive Elementary German 
  • GRMN 1010 / First Year German Review 
  • GRMN 2001 / Intermediate German I 
  • GRMN 2002 / Intermediate German II 
  • GRMN 2020 / Intensive Intermediate German 

II. Upper-Level Courses for the Major (taught in German)

  • GRMN 3104 / Composition & Conversation II: “Was uns bewegt! Jugend Pop- & Subkulturen in den deutschsprachigen Ländern” 
  •  GRMN 4540 / Literature in Film: “Anders, aber dennoch dabei: Erzählen vom Anderssein & Anderswerden” 
  • GRMN 3501 / German Writers Engaged 
  • GRMN 3010 / Stories in German: Auf der Schwelle: (Im)mobility, Crossings and Displacement in German Literature and Film 
  • GRMN: 4910 / Peer Tutoring in German

III. Interdisciplinary Courses (taught in English)

  • GRMN 1000 / “Pen”ned In: Voices of the Confined 
  • WLLC & GRMN 2620 / Anne Frank & Her Story 
  • GHS & GRMN 1100 / Contraception Across Time and Cultures (co-taught course) 
  • Introduction to American Literature and Culture (co-taught in the American Studies Department at TU Dortmund)
  • Ban it and I’ll Read It: Banned Books in 20th Century United States and German-Speaking Countries (taught half in English and half in German; TU Dortmund, Germany)
  • Uncuffed Thoughts: Prison Literature in the U.S. and German-Speaking Countries (taught half in English and half in German; TU Dortmund, Germany)



Research areas
  • German
Kirsten Kumpf Baele
Ph.D. in German, University of Iowa, M.A. in German, University of Iowa

512 Phillips Hall (PH)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States