Curriculum Vitae

McGillen_Petra_2016 Crop

Current Position

Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College (5th year in rank), New Hampshire, 8/2012–
Department of German Studies
Areas of concentration: media and book history in 18th and 19th-century Germany, print and material culture, textual practices, authorship, historical forms of knowledge production, intellectual technologies, the history of journalism.


Ph.D. Princeton University, New Jersey, 5/2009–6/2012
Department of German
Dissertation: Original Compiler: Notation as Textual Practice in Theodor Fontane.
Directed by Nikolaus Wegmann (Princeton University).

M.A. Princeton University, New Jersey, 9/2006-5/2009
Germanic Languages and Literature, Department of German.

M.A. Sussex University, England, 9/2005-7/2006
Intellectual History and the History of Political Thought, Department of History
(with distinction).

B.A. Universität Potsdam, Germany, 10/2002-7/2005
Europäische Medienwissenschaft (with distinction, “1,0”)
Joint program of the Universität Potsdam, the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen
“Konrad Wolf,” 
and the Fachhochschule Potsdam.

Selected Awards and Grants

  • Enhanced Junior Faculty Fellowship, Dartmouth College, AY 2017–18.
  • Dean of the Faculty Mentoring Award, Dartmouth College, awarded for mentoring work in AY 2016–17, July 2017.
  • Leslie Center for the Humanities Project Grant, “Media Inventories of the Nineteenth Century,” Dartmouth College, 2017.
  • Public Voices Fellowship Program, Dartmouth College, AY 2017.
  • Dartmouth Conference Award, “Mediating the New Cold War in the Digital Age,” Spring 2016 (Co-Organizer).
  • Walter and Constance Burke Research Initiation Award, Dartmouth College, 2012–.
  • Andrew W. Mellon / ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2011-12.
  • Fellowship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, 2003-6.

Teaching Experience (Selected Courses)

  • From the Typewriter to Virtual Reality: Modern Media Theory, Upper-Division Seminar in German and Comparative Literature (scheduled), Dartmouth College, 2020-2021.
  • Pulp Fiction Meets High Literature: German Writers in the 19th-Century Media Market (Upper-Level Seminar), Dartmouth College, Fall 2016
  • Material Matters: A Brief History of Paper (Freshmen Seminar), Dartmouth College, Winter 2016
  • To Be Young and German (German 10), Dartmouth College, Fall 2016
  • Academic Director of Dartmouth’s German Language Study-Abroad Program, Berlin, Germany, Spring 2014
  • Introduction to German Literature (German 6), Dartmouth College German Study-Abroad Program, Spring 2014
  • Dialogues with the Classics (Humanities 2; Team-Taught), Dartmouth College, Winter 2014
  • Understanding German Media (Intermediate German Language and Culture), Dartmouth College, Winter 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016


  • Book: The Fontane Workshop: Manufacturing Realism in the Industrial Age of Print (London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2019).
  • Co-Editor (with Deborah Helmer) of Theodor Fontane: Aus England for the Große Brandenburger Fontane-Ausgabeeds. Heinrich Detering and Gabriele Radecke, Abteilung VIII “Das kritische Werk,” Bd. 1. Berlin: Aufbau, scheduled for 2020–2021.
  • Second Book Project: From Our Own (False) Correspondent: The Everydayness of Fakery in the Press, ca. 1635–1870 (in progress).
  • “The Business of Criticism: Theodor Fontane and Wilhelm Hertz’s Media Campaign for Vor dem Sturm.” The Business of Literature, eds. Vance Byrd and Ervin Malakaj, scheduled for 2019 (under review).
  • “From Our Own False Correspondent: Armchair Reporting in the Kreuzzeitung as a Means of Early Information Warfare, ca. 1860–1870.” Observing the Everyday: Journalistic Practices of Knowledge Production in the Modern Era, ed. Hansjakob Ziemer, scheduled for 2019 (in progress).
  • “Die Fontanesche Karten-Ente oder Vom Sehen mit dem Stift. Zur Logik der Skizze in Fontanes Notizbüchern.” Edition Text + Kritik Sonderband: Theodor Fontane, ed. Peer Trilcke, Munich: edition text + kritik (forthcoming 2019).
  • “Notizbücher: Medienwissenschaftliche Perspektiven.” Theodor-Fontane-Handbuch, eds. Rolf Paar, Gabriele Radecke, and Peer Trilcke, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, scheduled for 2019 (submitted).
  • “Poetische Mobilmachung im Textbaukasten: Fontanes Kunst der Weiterverwendung – der Fall Allerlei Glück.” Formen ins Offene. Zur Produktivität des Unvollendeten, eds. Hanna Delf von Wolzogen and Christine Hehle, Berlin; Boston: de Gruyter, 2018, 97–119 (substantially expanded version of “Per Liste durch den Papierkosmos,” see below).
  • “Ein kreativer Apparat. Die Mediengeschichte von Theodor Fontanes Bibliotheksnetz und Lektürepraktiken.” Fontane Blätter 103 (2017): 100–123. [Translation of “A Creative Machine,” see above.] Abstract
  • “The Romantic Editor as Modern Media Practitioner: The Poetics of Reading in Ludwig Tieck’s Minnelieder Anthology.” Special Issue: Das Erblühen der Blumenlesen. German Anthologies, 1700–1850, eds. Nora Ramtke and Seán M. Williams, German Life and Letters 70.1 (2017): 57–78 (peer-reviewed). Abstract
  • “Wit, Bookishness, and the Epistemic Impact of Note-Taking: Lichtenberg’s Sudelbücher as Intellectual Tools,” Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 90.4 (2016): 501–528 (peer-reviewed). Abstract
  • “Andauernder Effekt: Medienkonkurrenz und Rhetorik in Heinrich Heines Napoleon-Schriften.” Zwischen Gattungsdisziplin und Gesamtkunstwerk. Intermedialität 1815 – 1848. Eds. Stefan Keppler-Tasaki, Wolf G. Schmidt. Berlin: de Gruyter 2015, 203–222 (peer-reviewed).
  • “Kompilieren.” Historisches Wörterbuch des Mediengebrauchs (HWMG). Eds. Heiko Christians, Matthias Bickenbach, and Nikolaus Wegmann. Köln: Böhlau 2014, 352–368.
  • Invited review of White, Michael J. Space in Theodor Fontane’s Works: Theme and Poetic Function. IGRS Books, 2012. Monatshefte 106:2 (2014): 315-317. 
  • Invited review of Piper, Andrew. Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times. Chicago UP, 2012. Monatshefte 105:3 (2013): 489–491.
  • “Per Liste durch den Papierkosmos. Fontanes bewegliche Textproduktion – Beobachtungen zum Fall Allerlei Glück.” Zettelkästen. Maschinen der Phantasie. Eds. Heike Gfrereis and Ellen Strittmatter. Marbach am Neckar: Deutsche Schillergesellschaft, 2013, 98–109. Marbacher Katalog 66.
  • Invited review of Berbig, Roland. Theodor Fontane Chronik. 5 vols. De Gruyter, 2010. Monatshefte 104:4 (2012): 664–7.
  • “A Creative Machine: The Media History of Theodor Fontane’s Library Network and Reading Practices.” The Germanic Review 87.1 (2012): 72–90 (peer-reviewed).
  • “Stimmung, Raum, Landschaft. Mediale Verschiebungen der Kulturphysiognomik bei Florens Christian Rang, Leo Spitzer und Hans Gaitanides” (with Heiko Christians). Archiv für Mediengeschichte (2007): 213–22.

Speaking Engagements (Past 3 Years & Upcoming)

  • “An den Außengrenzen des Journalismus: Fontanes ‘unechte Korrespondenzen’ als boundary-work” [Arbeitstitel]. Invited Talk, Fontanes Medien (1819–2019), International Conference, Universität Potsdam, Germany, scheduled for June 2019.
  • “The False Correspondent in Nineteenth-Century Press Wars: A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Fake News.” Invited Lecture, Landmarks of European Identity, Undergraduate History Seminar, Princeton University, scheduled for November 2018.
  • “Subjunctives and Serendipity in Lichtenberg’s Sudelbüchern.” Thought Experiments/Gedankenexperimente, Multi-Panel Series, 42nd Annual German Studies Association Conference, Pittsburgh, scheduled for September 2018.
  • “Journalistic Knowledge Practices in the Modern Era: Working Group Meeting,” Invited Presentation, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), Berlin, Germany, June 2018.
  • “Remixing the genus medium: Style and Non-Linear Editing in Fontane’s Creative Process,” Invited Talk, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, February 2018.
  • “Copy and Mix: Fontane’s Notes and the Manufacture of Realism in the Industrial Age of Print.” Invited Talk, “Working Methods and the Novel,” Workshop at Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, November 2017.
  • “Fontane’s Pictorial Drafts and the Middle-Style of Realism,” Visions of Realism, Multi-Panel Series, 41st Annual German Studies Association Conference, Atlanta, October 2017.
  • “Glean and Tweak: Fontane’s Compilation of Fake ‘Eyewitness’ Accounts,” Observing the Everyday: Journalistic Practices and Knowledge Production in the Modern Era. Workshop Talk, German Historical Institute and Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Washington, D.C., March 2017.
  • “Programmatisch offen: Der ‘Zettelkasten’ des Kompilators Fontane,” Invited Talk, Formen ins Offene. Zur Produktivität des Unvollendeten, International Conference, Theodor-Fontane-Archiv, Potsdam, Germany, October 2016.
  • “Steady-Seller and Living Archive: Crossing the Book / Journal Distinction in Theodor Fontane’s Wanderungen,” The Business of Literature: Authorship, Publishing, Aesthetics. Multi-Panel Series, 40th Annual German Studies Association Conference, San Diego, September 2016.
  • “The Compiler’s Moment: Fontane and the Industrialization of Print.” Form and Format, ca. 1880–1940. Workshop Talk, NCCR Iconic Criticism/Eikones, Basel, Switzerland, October 2015.
  • “Scenes of Writing: Fontane’s Desk.” The Posthermeneutic Turn in Textual Studies. Multi-Panel Series, 39th Annual German Studies Association Conference, Washington D.C., October 2015.
  • “Into the Reading Labyrinth: Poetics of Immersion in Tieck’s Minnelieder Anthology.” German-Language Anthologies in the Long 18th Century. Panel, 14th International Congress for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ISECS), Rotterdam, Netherlands, July 2015.


German, native language.
English, near-native fluency.
Italian, Latin, and French, basic reading knowledge.

Professional Activities

  • Programming Committee Member and Panel Chair, “Fontanes Medien (1819–2019),” Six-Day Conference on the Occasion of Theodor Fontane’s Bicentennial, Universität Potsdam and Theodor-Fontane-Archiv, Potsdam, Germany; scheduled for Summer 2019.
  • Co-Organizer, with Nora Ramtke (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), “Writing Time: Temporalities of the Journal in the Eighteenth Century,” Panel, American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies/Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Erforschung des 18. Jahrhunderts, ASECS Annual Convention, Orlando, Florida, scheduled for March 2018.
  • Co-Organizer, with Sean Franzel (University of Missouri), “Nineteenth-Century Media Inventories,” Two-Day Workshop and Inaugural Meeting of Permanent Working Group, Dartmouth College, scheduled for March 2018.
  • Humanities Strategy Group, Member, Dartmouth College, 2015–2016.
  • Advisory Board Member (“wissenschaftlicher Beirat”), Book Series Rezeptionskulturen in Literatur- und Mediengeschichte, eds. Mathias Herweg, Stefan Keppler-Tasaki, Cordula Lemke, Claudia Wiener. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2013–
  • Committee Member, sub-committee on mid-level course reform, German Department, Dartmouth College, 2012–13.
  • Associated Member of the Theodor Fontane-Arbeitsstelle, Universität Göttingen, since 2011.