Dr Katharina Karcher BA, MA, PhD

Dr Katharina Karcher

Department of Modern Languages
Associate Professor 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 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.

Postgraduate supervision

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


Recent publications


Karcher, K & Colvin, S (eds) 2018, Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968. Gender and Global Politics Series, Routledge, London ; New York, NY .

Karcher, K & Colvin, S (eds) 2018, Women, Global Protest Movements and Political Agency: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968. Gender and Global Politics Series, 1st edn, Routledge, London.

Karcher, K 2017, Sisters in Arms: Militant Feminisms in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1968. Monographs in German history, vol. 38, Berghahn Books, New York. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvw04gn9


Karcher, K 2024, 'Re-examining CCTV Footage and Re-imagining Justice through a Critical Black Gaze: The ‘Justice 4 Dea-John Reid’ Campaign’s Dark Sousveillance', Somatechnics: Journal of Bodies – Technologies – Power , vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 45-61. https://doi.org/10.3366/soma.2024.0422

Karcher, K 2022, 'A Threat to National Security? The Legal Dispute between ‘Red Rudi’ and the British Home Office, 1970–1971', Contemporary European History, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0960777321000564

Karcher, K 2021, 'The pleasure and pain of passing as (dis)abled: Rudi Dutschke’s exile in the UK (1968-1971) and the Ableism of the West German Student Movement', New German Critique, vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 199-218. https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-9305540

Karcher, K 2019, 'Violence for a good cause? The role of violent tactics in West German solidarity campaigns for better working and living conditions in the Global South in the 1980s', Contemporary European History, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 566-580. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0960777319000237

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Karcher, K 2019, "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 E Carter, J Palmowski & K Schreiter (eds), German Division as Shared Experience: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Postwar Everyday. Berghahn Books. <https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/CarterGerman>


Karcher, K & Geerts, E 2024, Problematizing Political Violence in the Federal Republic of Germany: A Hauntological Analysis of the NSU Terror and a Hyper-Exceptionalized “9/11”. in C Bielby & M Puw Davies (eds), Violence Elsewhere 1: Imagining Distant Violence in Germany 1945-2001. Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture, vol. 238, Boydell and Brewer, pp. 174-195. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781800102521-011

Geerts, E, Karcher, K, Dimcheva, Y & Toribio Medina, M 2023, European urban (counter-)terrorism’s spacetimematterings: More-than-human materialisations in situationscaping times. in A Martini & R da Silva (eds), Contemporary Reflections on Critical Terrorism Studies. 1st edn, Routledge Critical Terrorism Studies, Routledge, pp. 31-52. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003266709-4

Colvin, S & Karcher, K 2018, Introduction: 1968 – the year that rocked whose world? in S Colvin & K Karcher (eds), Women, Global Protest Movements and Political Agency: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968. 1st edn, Routledge Studies in Gender and Global Politics, Routledge, London, pp. 1-15.

Karcher, K 2018, ‘Deeds not words!’: a comparative analysis of feminist militancy in pre- and post-1968 Europe. in S Colvin & K Karcher (eds), Gender, Emancipation, and Political Violence: Rethinking the Legacy of 1968. Gender and Global Politics Series, Routledge, London ; New York, NY , pp. 30-45.


Dimcheva, Y, Karcher, K, Parkes, MC & Toribio Medina, M (eds) 2023, Urban Terrorism in Contemporary Europe: Remembering, Imagining and Anticipating Violence. Palgrave Macmillan, Switzerland.

Book/Film/Article review

Karcher, K 2017, 'Women Political Prisoners in Germany: Narratives of Self and Captivity, 1915–91 by Kim Richmond', Modern Language Review, vol. 112, no. 2, pp. 539-541. https://doi.org/10.5699/modelangrevi.112.2.0539

Review article

Karcher, K, McCuaig, J & King-Hill, S 2024, '(Self-) Reflection / Reflexivity in Sensitive, Qualitative Research: A Scoping Review', The International Journal of Qualitative Methods. https://doi.org/10.1177/16094069241261860

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