Dr Katharina Karcher BA, MA, PhD

Dr Katharina Karcher

Department of Modern Languages
Senior Lecturer in German

Contact details

Room 215, Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My work focuses on protest movements and political violence in the 20th and 21st centuries. In this context, I am particularly interested in questions of gender, race, class, dis/ability, and political ideology. My research transgresses disciplinary boundaries and draws on a range of theoretical frameworks including feminist theory, cultural studies, and critical security studies.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Bauhaus University Weimar (Germany)
  • Master of Arts, Utrecht University (Netherlands)
  • PhD, University of Warwick (GB)


I have joined the Department of Modern Languages as Lecturer in German at Birmingham in September 2018. Prior to this post, I had a lectureship at the University of Bristol and held research fellowships at the University of Warwick and the University of Cambridge. I hold degrees in German Studies, Gender Studies, and Cultural Studies, and my research and teaching draw on insights and theories from these and other academic fields.


 I am currently on maternity leave.

Postgraduate supervision

Please note:  I am currently on maternity leave.

I would be happy to supervise students with a research interest in:

  • Political violence and terrorism
  • Gender and conflict
  • Feminist protest and European women’s movements
  • Feminist Theory
  • 1968 and its legacy
  • Political extremism
  • Contemporary German culture and politics

Find out more - our PhD German Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


 My research combines theories and methods from cultural studies, history and feminist theory to analyse social movements and protest cultures in the post-1945 era from a gender perspective.

I have published widely on feminist protest and female political violence in the Federal Republic of Germany. My first monograph, developed out of my PhD with the support of a MHRA Research Scholarship and titled “Sisters in Arms?”: Militant Feminisms in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1968, was published by Berghahn in 2017. A German edition of the book (partly funded by the Rosa-Luxemburg foundation) was published in September 2018 by Assoziation A.

My current research links historical and contemporary debates about political extremism in the UK and in Germany. Drawing on new archival material, I will offer the first detailed study of the English exile of Germany’s iconic student leader, Rudi Dutschke. Following the attempt to assassinate him in 1968, Dutschke sought medical treatment in England and lived there until 1971, when he had to leave because he was considered a threat to national security. My research not only contributes to a better understanding of Dutschke’s political thought and life; it also offers a timely perspective on discourses and debates concerning the alleged threat that immigrants pose to national security.

Other activities

Dr Karcher has (co-)organised the following conferences and events:

  • Organizer of the interdisciplinary symposium ‘Rudi Dutschke: political activist, political refugee, political threat?’ at the University of Cambridge (2017).
  • Co-organizer of the 3-day international conference ‘Women – violence – 1968’ at the University of Cambridge (2016).
  • Lead organizer of a workshop on right-wing violence in contemporary Germany and a reading by the German Jewish author Esther Dischereit at the University of Cambridge (2015).
  • Lead organizer of a film screening and panel discussion about right-wing extremism in contemporary Europe at the ‘Festival of Ideas’, Cambridge (2015).
  • Co-organizer of an interdisciplinary workshop on feminist theory and practice at the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender, University of Warwick (2014).          
  • Organizer of the interdisciplinary symposium ‘Militant Feminisms in Art and Politics’, University of Warwick (2014).
  • Organizer of a one-day-event with French philosopher Luce Irigaray, University of Warwick (2013).
Memberships and Professional Associations:          
  • Modern Humanities Research Association
  • Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland
  • Feminist and Women's Studies Association UK
  • German History Society



  • ‘Sisters in Arms?’ – Militant Feminisms in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1968. Oxford and New York: Berghahn Books (2017). A German edition of the book, translated by Gerhild Ahnert and Annemarie Künzl-Snodgrass, was published in September 2018 by Assoziation A.
  • Colvin, Sarah & Katharina Karcher (eds.): Women, Global Protest Movements and Political Agency: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968. New York: Routledge (2018).
  • Colvin, Sarah & Katharina Karcher (eds.): Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968. New York: Routledge (2018).

Book chapters

  •  ‘“Ich bin parteilich, subjektiv und emotional” - Eigen-Sinn and the narrative (re)construction of political agency in Inge Viett’s Nie war ich furchtloser’,  in Carter, Erica, Palmowski, Jan & Katrin Schreiter (eds.) Experiencing Postwar Germany: Everyday Life and Cultural Practice in East and West, 1960 – 2000. Oxford and New York: Berghahn, 2018.
  • ‘”Deeds not words!”: A comparative analysis of feminist militancy in pre- and post-1968 Europe” in Colvin, Sarah & Katharina Karcher (eds.): Emancipation? Women – violence – “1968”: Essays toward a critical history of the present. New York: Routledge, 2018, pp.30-45.
  • ‘Women in Armed Leftist Struggles’, in Naples, Nancy, Renee C. Hoogland, Maithree Wickramasinghe & Angela Wong (eds.): The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2016, pp. 1-6. 
  • ‘The Mimesis that was not one: Femininity as camouflage in the armed struggle in West Germany’, in: Irigaray, Luce & Michael Marder (eds.): Building a New World. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 209-221.
  • ‘“Die Perücke ist ein Element das alle Katzen grau macht” – femininity as camouflage in the liberation of the prisoner Andreas Baader in 1970’, in: Bandhauer-Schöffmann, Irene & Dirk van Laak (eds.): Der Linksterrorismus der 1970er-Jahre und die Ordnung der Geschlechter. Trier: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2013, pp. 99-119.

Book reviews

  •  Kim Richmond’s Women Political Prisoners in Germany: Narratives of Self and Captivity, 1915–91, in: Modern Language Review, Vol 112, Issue 2, April 2017, pp. 539-541.
  • Charity Scribner’s After the Red Army Faction: Gender, Culture, and Militancy and Patricia Melzer’s Death in the Shape of a Young Girl: Women’s Political Violence in the Red Army Faction, in: Seminar, Vol 52, Issue 3, September 2016, pp. 326-332.
  • Clare Bielby’s Violent Women in Print: Representations in the West German Print Media of the 1960s and 1970s, in: German Politics and Society, Vol 33, Issue 3, Autumn 2015, pp. 117-119.
  • Rosi Braidotti’s The Posthuman, in: Feminist Review 107, July 2014, pp. 107-109.
  • Paige Whaley Eager’s, From Freedom Fighters to Terrorists: Women and Political Violence and Margaret Gonzalez-Perez’ Women and Terrorism: Female Activity in Domestic and International Terror Groups, in: European Journal of Cultural Studies 2010, Vol. 13, Issue 2, pp. 263-265.


  • ‘Fliegende Tomaten (und Lesben)’, in SPEX: Magazin für Popkultur, No. 382, September/October 2018, 70-71
  • ‘German election: Merkel safe but don’t underestimate the right-wing populists’, in The Conversation, 22 September 2017. Available online: https://theconversation.com/german-election-merkel-safe-but-dont-underestimate-the-right-wing-populists-84471.
  • ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, in Sympathie Magazine, 2017, pp. 36-37. Available online: https://www.sympathiemagazin.de/europa/grossbritannien-560.html.
  • ‘Can Female Participation in Political Violence Lead to Social Progress?’, in CREST Security Review, Issue 5 (July 2017), 26-27.
  • ‘From Student Riots to Feminist Firebombs: Debates about “Counter-violence” in the West German Student Movement and Women’s Movement’, Women in German Yearbook, Vol. 32 (2016), pp. 50-75.
  • ‘How (not) to “Hollaback”: Towards a transnational debate on the “Red Zora” and militant tactics in the feminist struggle against gender-based violence’, in: Feminist Media Studies, Vol 16, Issue 1, 2016, pp. 70-85.
  • ‘Angela Merkel to run again: why she’s the antithesis of Donald Trump in a post-truth world’, in The Conversation, 21 November 2016. Available online: https://theconversation.com/angela-merkel-to-run-again-why-shes-the-antithesis-of-donald-trump-in-a-post-truth-world-69163
  • ‘Feminism on Fire - Adrienne Gerhäuser, Corinna Kawaters and the ‘Red Zora’’, 1 September 2016. Available online: http://dangerouswomenproject.org/2016/09/01/red-zora/
  • ‘German election: is this really a verdict on Merkel’s open door to refugees?’, in: The Conversation, 14 March 2016. Available online: https://theconversation.com/german-election-is-this-really-a-verdict-on-merkels-open-door-to-refugees-56174
  • ‘An Interview with Father Martin Newell, Activist’, co-authored with Preti Taneja, in: Lacuna Magazine, February 2016. Available online: http://lacuna.org.uk/interview/an-interview-with-father-martin-newell-activist/                       
  • Article on the militant feminist group ‘Red Zora’ in: an.schläge - Das Feministische Magazin (in German), March 2014. Available online: http://anschlaege.at/feminismus/2014/02/das-patriarchat-in-stuecke-hauen/
  • Interview with Luce Irigaray, in: Exchanges: the Warwick Research Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, Available online: http://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/article/view/17/47

View all publications in research portal


  • Protest, political extremism, and terrorism in Germany
  • Contemporary feminist movements
  • Angela Merkel

Media experience

  • Radio Interviews on contemporary German politics for BBC Cambridgeshire, WDR, Monocle 24, and BBC 4.
  • Collaborations with journalists for SPIEGEL, SPEX, An.schläge and other magazines.
  • Consultancy for the film producer Kate Solomon
  •  Co-producer of the documentary film ‘You Say You Want a Revolution’ (2018)

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office