Research Interests

In her research, Petra combines literary studies, “German” media theory, and philological analysis to reconstruct material histories of intellectual and cultural production, especially in 18th- and 19th-century Germany. Her other research interests include print culture, historical forms of knowledge organization, intellectual tools, the transnational history of journalism, and fake eyewitnessing.

Projects in Progress

  • A new monograph, tentatively titled All the News That’s Fit to Twist: Stories of Everyday Fakery in the Nineteenth-Century Press, analyzes liminal cases of fakery in the German, British and North American press from the first professional foreign correspondents to the onset of press photography. Written from the perspective of newsmakers and practitioners, it sheds new light on the prehistory of contemporary phenomena of fake news.
  • “Pics or it Didn’t Happen: Practices of Illustrating Current Events on the Threshold of News Photography” [journal article related to All the News That’s Fit to Twist].
  • Co-edited volume (with Sean Franzel and Ilinca Iurascu), Taking Stock: Media Inventories of the German Nineteenth Century, in preparation.