Rolf J. Goebel, Ph. D.

Goebel sm
Photograph by Addison Brown, UAH


Professor of German

Curriculum Vita

Phone:  256-824-2344 (office)
               256-536-7855 (home)
               256-824-6329 (fax)

Born in Kiel, Germany, Dr. Rolf J. Goebel holds degrees from Brown University (M.A. in English, 1977), the University of Kiel (Staatsexamen in German and English, 1979), and the University of Maryland (Ph.D. in German Literature, 1982). Since 1982 he has been teaching German language and culture at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, where he was promoted to Full Professor in 1998. In 1987-88 he spent a year at Osaka University, Japan as an exchange lecturer in English.

His current areas of research are German modernism and contemporary literature, especially Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Durs Grünbein; the representation of metropolitan space, especially post-reunification Berlin; and cultural theory (cultural hermeneutics, postcolonialism, media competition). In addition to numerous articles and conference papers, he has published three books: Kritik und Revision: Kafkas Rezeption mythologischer, biblischer und historischer Traditionen (Critique and Revision: Kafka’s Reception of Mythological, Biblical, and Historical Traditions,1986), Constructing China: Kafka’s Orientalist Discourse (1997), and Benjamin heute: Großstadtdiskurs, Postkolonialität und Flanerie zwischen den Kulturen (Benjamin Today: Urban Discourse, Postcoloniality, and Flânerie between Cultures, 2001). He is also a co-author of A Franz Kafka Encyclopedia (2005) and has edited A Companion to the Works of Walter Benjamin (2009). His essay “Berlin’s Architectural Citations: Reconstruction, Simulation, and the Problem of Historical Authenticity” (PMLA 118:5, October 2003: 1268-1289) won the 2004 William Riley Parker Prize. Goebel also received the Max Kade Award for the Best Article in The German Quarterly 2007; the essay is titled “Gesamtkunstwerk Dresden: Official Urban Discourse and Durs Grünbein’s Poetic Critique.” German Quarterly 80:4 (Fall 2007): 492-510.

Rolf Goebel is also active as an organist. He has served as Dean and Sub-Dean of the Greater Huntsville, AL Chapter of the American Guild of Organist and has given numerous local recitals and introductory organ workshops. He is especially interested in the repertoire of the 16th to 18th centuries.