Waltraud Maierhofer, Ph.D.

Professor, German
Professor, Global Health Studies

I am a professor of German literature and culture and also of Global Health Studies at the University of Iowa. I love to get students excited about another culture, learn what we have in common and what differentiates us, and explore human nature through narratives of human striving and accomplishments in its diverse forms. My research and teaching interests include German literature and culture from the eighteenth century to the present. I am especially interested in representations of health and Human Rights issues (contraception, abortion, disabilities), in intersections of historiography and fiction, ego-documents and biography, but also book illustrations and text–image relations, and I have edited several historical documents and translations.

I came to the University of Iowa in 1990 from the University of California at Santa Barbara. I earned my Dr. phil. (Ph. D.) in German and Philosophy at the University of Regensburg, Germany, in 1988.


My books (15 to date) range from a revised dissertation (‘Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre’ und der Roman des Nebeneinander (Goethe’s last novel and the panoramic novel or Zeitroman of the nineteenth Century; Aisthesis, 1990), a scholarly monograph, collections of scholarly articles, to mass-market introductions, a textbook and critical editions of original sources and translations. My most popular book is an introduction to the life and works of the painter Angelika Kauffmann (Rowohlt, 1997, 5th edition 2019). I have also edited her correspondence.

My most recent books are critical editions of artworks by Johann Heinrich Ramberg, a nineteenth-century painter and prolific book illustrator: I investigate text and image relations in commentary and introduction in Karikatur in der Goethezeit. Die Bildergeschichte “Leben Strunks des Emporkömmlings” (Caricature in the Age of Goethe. The Picture Story “Life of Strunk the Upstart”; Schnell und Steiner, 2019) and in Reineke Fuchs. 31 Originalzeichnungen und neu kolorierte Radierungen mit Ausschnitten aus der Übersetzung des Epos von D. W. Soltau in Knittelversen / Reynard the Fox. 31 original drawings and newly colored etchings with excerpts from the English translation of the burlesque poem by Soltau ( VDG 2016). Join me in the related Public Humanities project, a database of Ramberg’s illustrations and the corresponding publications, rambergillustrations.

Hexen – Huren – Heldenweiber. Bilder des Weiblichen in Erzähltexten über den Dreißigjährigen Krieg (Böhlau, 2005) examines representations of historical women and images of femininity in German narrative fiction about the Thirty Years’ War from Grimmelshausen to the Present.

I have worked with several students on translation and editing projects, such as Eveline Hasler’s Anna Goeldin: The Last Witch (Lighthouse Publishing, 2018). A translation of Hasler’s novel Child Witches is currently under review.

My interest in health and rights issues has taken me in a new direction. For example. I have contributed two chapters to the book coedited with Beth Widmaier Capo, Reproductive Rights Issues in Popular Media: International Perspectives (McFarland, 2017).

For a full list of publications (over 80 articles and book chapters and 90 book reviews), please go to...


  • Many first-year seminars and seminars in the Honors program.
  • GHS/WLLC/GWSS:1100 - Contraception across Time and Cultures
  • GHS/GRMN/WLLC/DST:1200 - Disabilities in Global Writing and Film
  • GRMN:2600 - Witch Hunts in Fact and Fiction
  • GRMN/CL:2666 - Pact with the Devil
  • GRMN:3010 - Stories in German
  • GRMN:3104 - Composition and Conversation
  • GRMN:3405 - German Cultural History
  • GRMN:3501 - Introduction to Literature
  • GRMN:4540 - Literature in Film
  • GRMN:4730 - Beautiful Souls and Scandalous Writings

Dissertations Directed (selection)

M.A. Thesis Director (selection)

  • Casey Wilmesmeier (2008), World Language Teacher, City High School, Iowa City
  • Kim Harpole (2007), German teacher, Millard South High School, Omaha, Nebraska
  • Amber Wozniak (2010), German teacher, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

Honors thesis mentor (latest)

  • Roman Ebert, (2021)
  • Brandon Pahl (2020)
  • Maggie Fischer (2020)

Awards and Service

  • For the department and DWLLC: UI International Programs Major Project Award (2021)
  • For the department: UI International Programs Global Research Partnership Award (2020)
  • Advisory board International Association for Germanic Studies (IVG) (2010-2021)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fellowship (several)
  • Co-editor Feminist German Studies (2015-2018)
  • Duke August Library Wolfenbüttel short-term fellowship (2013)
  • University of Iowa May Brodbeck Award (2009)
  • Humboldtians on Campus liaison for prospective applicants
  • Eighteenth-Century Studies: advisory editor
  • Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography: field editor and book review editor (2004-2012)
Research areas
  • German
Waltraud Maierhofer
Dr. phil. (Ph. D.) in German and Philosophy, University of Regensburg, Germany, 1988

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