Petra S. McGillen. Photo by Eli S. Burakian.

Current Position

Associate Professor of German (with tenure) at Dartmouth College, 7/2020–
Areas of concentration: Material media history, German literature and culture 1750–1900, print culture, intellectual technologies, history of information; the transnational history of journalism, history of news (real and fake).

Academic Development and Education

Acting Chair, Department of German Studies, Dartmouth College, 7/2020–12/2020.

Associate Professor of German Studies, Dartmouth College, 7/2020—
Department of German Studies

Assistant Professor of German Studies, Dartmouth College, 7/2012–6/2020
Department of German Studies

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. University of Sussex, 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 Publications

For the full list of publications, please see the tab Publications.


The Fontane Workshop: Manufacturing Realism in the Industrial Age of Print. New Directions in German Studies; 26. New York; London: Bloomsbury Academic, July 2019.

Click here for a book summary and chapter abstracts.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

Selected Awards and Grants

  • Venn Vision Grant, “Telegraph, Photograph, Penny Press: How the Medium Changes the Message,” Interdisciplinary Workshop in Nineteenth-Century Studies (with Colleen Boggs and Katie Hornstein), scheduled for Spring 2023.
  • Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for the best work in German Studies, Modern Language Association, December 2020.
  • David Bloom and Leslie Chao Fellowship, Dartmouth College, July 2020.
  • Karen E. Wetterhahn Memorial Award for Distinguished Creative or Scholarly Achievement, Dartmouth College, June 2020.
  • Enhanced Junior Faculty Fellowship, Dartmouth College, AY 2017–2018.
  • Dean of the Faculty Mentoring Award, Dartmouth College, awarded for mentoring work in AY 2016–2017, 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, 2012–2019.
  • Andrew W. Mellon / ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2011–2012.
  • Fellowship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes, 2003-2006.

Teaching (Selected Courses)

For the full list of courses, please see the tab Teaching.

  • From the Typewriter to Virtual Reality: Modern Media Theory, Upper-Division Seminar in German and Comparative Literature (scheduled), Dartmouth College, Winter 2023.
  • The Invention of News, Humanities Seminar, Dartmouth College, Spring 2021.
  • Material Matters: A Brief History of Paper and Other Writing Surfaces, Seminar in Comparative Literature and German Studies, Dartmouth College, Winter 2019.
  • Pulp Fiction Meets High Literature: Media and Writing in 19th-Century Germany (Upper-Level Seminar), Dartmouth College, Fall 2016; Fall 2021.
  • Dialogues with the Classics (Humanities 2; Team-Taught), Dartmouth College, Winter 2014, Winter 2020, Winter 2023.
  • Understanding German Media (Intermediate German Language and Culture), Dartmouth College, Winter 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2019.

Talks and Events

Conferences, Panels, Lecture Series – Organized (Selection)

  • 1/2022 More is More: Rules and Riddles of 19th-Century Vielschreiberei, Panel Series, Modern Language Association Convention, LLC 19th and early 20th-Century German, Washington, D.C., January 2022
  • Since 11/2021 [with Dan Rockmore and Lynn Patyk] Fake News and Narrative: Histories, Interventions, Controversies, Lecture Series, Susan and James Wright Center for Computational Justice and Just Communities, Dartmouth College (year-long series; one to two public events per quarter).
  • 11/2021 [with Ilinca Iurascu and Sean Franzel] Media Inventories 3.0, Interdisciplinary Two-Day Workshop and Working Group Meeting, University of British Columbia, Canada (via Zoom).
  • 2/2020 [with Sean Franzel] Media Inventories 2.0, Interdisciplinary Two-Day Workshop and Working Group Meeting, University of Missouri, MO.
  • 6/2019 [programming committee member] Fontanes Medien (1819–2019), International Four-Day Conference, Universität Potsdam, Germany.
  • 3/2018 [with Sean Franzel] Media Inventories of the Nineteenth Century, Interdisciplinary Two-Day Workshop and Permanent Working Group, Dartmouth College.
  • 3/2018 [with Nora Ramtke] Writing Time: Temporalities of the Journal, Panel, Annual Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies/Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Erforschung des 18. Jahrhunderts, Orlando, FL.

Invited Talks

  • “Fake Eyewitnessing and Predictive Reporting in Nineteenth-Century Visual News.” Invited Lecture and Intensive Graduate Studies Seminar, Doctoral Research Training Group “Small Forms,” Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, May 2022.
  • “Sketched with an ‘Oracular Pencil:’ The Manipulation of Time in the Nineteenth-Century Press.” Invited Lecture, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, March 2022.
  • “Schneller, als die Zeit erlaubt – Praktiken des predictive journalism im späten 19. Jahrhundert.” Lecture, Institut für Germanistik, Vergleichende Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany, February 2022 (via Zoom).
  • An den Außengrenzen des Journalismus: Fontanes ‘unechte Korrespondenzen’ als boundary-work. Panel Talk, Fontanes Medien (1819–2019), International Conference, Universität Potsdam, Germany, June 2019.
  •  Unreliable Reporters of the Pencil: Practices of “Illustrating” Current Events on the Threshold of Photography. Workshop Talk, “Truth and the Logic of the Series, 1850 to 1930,” NCCR Iconic Criticism/Eikones, Universität Basel, Switzerland, May 2019.
  • “I was there today”: Fake Eyewitnessing and Journalistic Authority from Fontane to Relotius. Lecture, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, February 2019.
  • Korrespondent im Deutungskrieg: Fontane, Fake News und die Entstehung journalistischer Autorität im mittleren 19. Jahrhundert/heute. Lecture, Philosophische Fakultät, Universität Potsdam, Germany, January 2019.
  • The False Correspondent in Nineteenth-Century Press Wars: A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Fake News. Lecture and Seminar Session, “Landmarks of European Identity,” Undergraduate History Seminar, Princeton University, NJ, November 2018.
  • Real Fakes: Textual Practices of “Firsthand” Reporting in the Nineteenth-Century Berlin Press. Workshop Presentation, “Modern Journalistic Practices of Knowledge Production – Part 2,” Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, June 2018.
  • Fontane’s Sound Bites: Remix and the Realist Novel, ca. 1880. Lecture, German Studies Graduate Colloquium, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, February 2018.
  • The Compiler’s Moment: Fontane and the Manufacture of Nineteenth-Century Realism. Workshop Presentation, Book History/Theory of the Novel Seminar, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, November 2017.
  • Programmatisch offen: Der “Zettelkasten” des Kompilators Theodor Fontane. Conference Talk, “Formen ins Offene. Zur Produktivität des Unvollendeten,” Theodor-Fontane-Archiv, Potsdam, October 2016.
  • Compiler at Work: Fontane’s Creative Response to the Industrialization of Print. Lecture and Manuscript Workshop, Smith College, Northampton, April 2016.
  • The Compiler’s Moment: Fontane and the Industrialization of Print. Lecture, “Form and Format, ca. 1880–1940,” NCCR Iconic Criticism/Eikones, Basel, October 2015.
  • Weiterverwendungskunst. Praxis und Epistemologie der weichen Ordnung in Fontanes Notizbüchern. Lecture, “Wissen in materialen Textkulturen. Zum epistemischen Status von Geschriebenem in vergangenen und heutigen Gesellschaften,” SFB 933 Materiale Textkulturen, Universität Heidelberg and Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, Marbach am Neckar, June 2013.
  • Waste / Books: Approaching Lichtenberg’s Sudelbücher as Intellectual Tools. Lecture, Graduate Student Colloquium “Detours, Deviations, and Digressions in International Literature and Thought,” Brown University, Providence, April 2013.
  • Auflisten und verschieben. Realismus-Produktion in Fontanes Notizbüchern. Lecture, “Eintragen. Das Notizbuch als epistemologisches Lese- und Schreibformat,” Johannes Gutenberg-Universität und Princeton University, Mainz, July 2011.

Conference Presentations

  • The Poetics of the List and the Inventory. Media Inventories 2.0. Interdisciplinary Two-Day Workshop and Working Group Meeting, University of Missouri, MO, February 2020 [via Skype].
  • Subjunctives and Serendipity in Lichtenberg’s Sudelbüchern. Multi-Panel Series “Thought Experiments – Gedankenexperimente,” 42nd Annual German Studies Association Conference, Pittsburgh, September 2018.
  • Fontane’s Pictorial Drafts and the Middle-Style of Realism. Multi-Panel Series “Visions of Realism,” 41st Annual German Studies Association Conference, Atlanta, October 2017.
  • Commonplace Authenticity: Fontane’s Compilation of Fake “Eyewitness” Accounts. Workshop “Observing the Everyday: Journalistic Practices and Knowledge Production in the Modern Era,” German Historical Institute and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Washington, D.C., March 2017.
  • Steady-Seller and Living Archive: Crossing the Book / Journal Distinction in Theodor Fontane’s Wanderungen. Multi-Panel-Series “The Business of Literature: Authorship, Publishing, Aesthetics,” 40th Annual German Studies Association Conference, San Diego, September 2016.
  • Scenes of Writing: Fontane’s Desk. Multi-Panel-Series “The Posthermeneutic Turn in Textual Studies,” 39th Annual German Studies Association Conference, Washington D.C., October 2015.
  • Into the Reading Labyrinth: Poetics of Immersion in Tieck’s Minnelieder Anthology. Panel “German-Language Anthologies in the Long Eighteenth Century,” 14th International Congress for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Rotterdam, July 2015.
  • The Entertainment Formula: Genre Scenes and the Narrative Production of Affect in the Gartenlaube. Paper, Seminar “Narration,” 37th Annual German Studies Association Conference, Denver, October 2013.

Professional Activities & Service

Departmental Service

  • Interim Department Chair, July–December 2020.
  • Program Co-Founder, Joint Engineering/German Foreign Studies Program “Green City: Sustainability and Full-Immersion German,” with Petra Bonfert-Taylor, Thayer School of Engineering, and Mary Tobin, Engineering Major ’20 [first iteration in Spring 2022].
  • Member, Subcommittee on Major/Minor Reform, Department of German Studies, Dartmouth College, Spring 2019.
  • Program Founder and Coordinator, German Department Literature Archive Internship with the Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach and the Theodor-Fontane-Archiv, Dartmouth College, since 2014.
  • Coordinator, German Department Internship Program with the Max Planck Institutes for Neurobiology (Martinsried near Munich) and Chemical Ecology (Jena), Dartmouth College, 2015–2016.
  • Faculty Advisor to the German Club, Winter 2014 and Spring 2015.
  • Member, Subcommittee on Curricular Reform, Department of German Studies, Dartmouth College, 2012–2013.

Service to Dartmouth College

  • Committee Member, Ad-Hoc Council on Work-Life Issues, subcommittee on partner employment (appointed by Interim Provost David Kotz), Dartmouth College, Winter–Spring 2022.
  • Co-Founder, C19 Undergraduate Fellowship for Humanities Research on the Nineteenth Century, with Colleen Boggs, since Fall 2021 [pilot round approved for 2022–2023].
  • Member, Policies in Action Working Group, C3I Initiative, Dartmouth College, Spring/Summer 2019.
  • Initiator, Critical Media Studies Initiative, since Spring 2019.
  • Committee Member, Council on Honorary Degrees, Dartmouth College, 2018–2021.
  • Co-Convener, Nineteenth-Century Studies Group, Dartmouth College, 2016–2018.
  • Member, Humanities Strategy Group of the Associate Dean of the Arts and Humanities, Dartmouth College, 2015–2016.

Service to the Profession

  • Committee Chair, Modern Languages Association, Executive Committee on 19th and early 20th Century German Literature, 2020–2021 (committee membership for five-year term, 2019–2024).
  • Advisory Board Member, Series Rezeptionskulturen in Literatur- und Mediengeschichte, eds. Mathias Herweg, Stefan Keppler-Tasaki, Cordula Lemke, Claudia Wiener. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, since 2013.
  • Peer-Reviewer for German Quarterly; Monatshefte; German Studies Review.
  • Associated Member, Theodor Fontane-Arbeitsstelle, Universität Göttingen, since 2011.
  • Member of the Modern Languages Association; the German Studies Association; the International Association for Word and Image Studies; and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing.


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


References are available upon request. Please email me or use the contact form.