Prof. Crister S. Garrett
Professor for American Culture and History
Room 3505 | Phone: (0341) 97-37335
Office Hours: Summer Term Hours: Tuesdays 4-6 PM, and By Appointment.
I earned my PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in contemporary history and politics, focusing on the United States and Europe. Over the years, I have lived in different parts of Europe (France, Sweden, Belgium) and in other parts of the world (Thailand and Lebanon). My mother emigrated from Sweden to the United States in the 1950s, and my father is a Colorado boy who met my mom on the East Coast. I guess you could say my "Heimat" is California, but I have moved around the United States quite a bit (New York, Wisconsin, Virginia). My wife is German (from Leipzig), and our two children have German and American passports and go to a Franco-German school (Reclam Gymnasium).
My teaching interests center around contemporary American history, politics, and society, especially in an international and transatlantic context. In the States, I have taught at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At both schools, I taught interdisciplinary courses involving the United States, Europe, and global themes (e.g., globalization, societal transformation, cultures of security, cultures of capitalism, and politics among nations and regions).
I have a passion for the internationalization of higher education. My career has involved building international programs for undergraduates and graduates whether in Monterey, Madison or Leipzig. Two current projects that I started and direct are the:
I conduct research on contemporary American politics and society, especially in an international context. I do a lot of research on contemporary trends in political, economic, and social reform in a transatlantic context, involving mostly the United States, Germany, France, and Sweden. I am also regularly researching American foreign policy, and the relationship between the country’s history, political culture, and international politics. You can see some of my selected publications below.
Current research projects include "Contesting the Transatlantic Space", "Narratives of Security", and "Constructing Practices for American Foreign Policy". These projects are supported by the DAAD, the U.S. government and receive or have received funding from different foundations (e.g., Robert Bosch Foundation, Thyssen Foundation).
I like to attend diverse international conferences to build interdisciplinary and international research networks. Some recent conference papers include:
"Masters of Security? Migration, Markets, and the Rise of Transatlantic Populism". Transatlantic Studies Association, Plymouth, England, 2016.
"Economic Disruptions and Insecurities: Constructing Narratives of Economic Order". International Studies Association, Atlanta, 2016.
"Complicating Security: The Multiple Narratives Emerging from the Ukraine Crisis". International Studies Association, New Orleans, 2015.
"Complicating Economic Security: German-American Relations and the Multiple Narratives of the Great Recession". German Studies Association, Washington D.C., 2015.
From these conferences have emerged two international research projects: "Emerging Security Concerns and Concepts of Boundary" (International Studies Association) and "Contemporary Narratives of Economic Crisis and Ordnung" (German Studies Association).
I work regularly with high-school teachers to help them with continuing education (Weiterbildung). I also initiated a program at Leipzig as part of the university's UniLabor Initiative to integrate social media, student education for teaching careers, and building networks with teachers in the classroom, the Teaching America Project (TAP). You can find out more about TAP and recent continuing education workshops at
There is a strong interest in Germany and Europe about developments in contemporary American society and politics. To help build bridges between the campus and community to encourage continuing education, university learning, and research about German-American and European-American relations, I established with with University and U.S. Embassy in Berlin the American Space Leipzig initiative. The American Space involves generous support from the U.S. government to acquire learning resources for the University Library, to hold conferences, and to organize community events around important contemporary transatlantic themes. You can find out more about American Space programs and initiatives at
I also work quite a bit with different media to encourage a substantial conversation about contemporary American and transatlantic topics. Some recent contributions include:
You can find a fuller list at American Space Leipzig Media.
Selected Publications & Papers
My publications involve an effort to produce scholarship that is interdisciplinary and accessible to different constituencies, from students to scholars to a serious community seeking further insights into contemporary issues. Some examples include:
- "Britain's Place in the Transatlantic Space: Cultural Studies, International Politics, and Narrative Choices“, in, Frauke Hofmeister and Dietmar Böhnke eds., Kulturkontakte Cultures in Contact: Essays for Joachim Schwend (2014)
- "Introduction Service-Learning to Europe and Germany: The Case of American Studies at the University of Leipzig“ (with Catherine Sharpe, Martin Walter, and Maria Zywietz). Interdisciplinary Humanities Special Issue, „Service-Learning in the Humanities“, Fall 2012.
"To Weimar and Back? Poland, the United States, and the Transatlantic Security Space", in, Andrzej Mania and Lukasz Wordliczek eds., The United States and the World: From Imitation to Challenge (2009)
"Seeing 'Eye to Eye'? German Perceptions and German-American Politics after the 2008 Presidential Election". Harvard International Review (e-edition). December 2008.
"Ein Brückenschlag zwischen 'altem' und 'neuem' Europa". Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte No. 14 (April) 2006
"Amerikas Präsidentschaftwahl 2004 und der Wandel der transatlantischen Beziehungen" in, Torsten Oppelland eds., Die USA im Wahljahr 2004 (2005).
"Internationalization, Citizenship, and the Restructuring of American Identity," in, Hartmut Keil ed., Transatlantic Cultural Contexts (2005).
"The Many Minds on American Multilateralism, and the Management of Transatlantic Relations". Published Paper, American Institute for Contemporary German Relations (AICGS, Washington D.C.), 2004.
Selected Honors, Awards, Distinctions
My career would not have been possible without the generous support of different governments, foundations, and international organizations. They have permitted me to engage in international research, teaching, and community involvement on both sides of the Atlantic since my days as a doctoral student. Such support is crucial to encourage international careers. Some of the awards that I have received include:
First Holder of Leipzig-Fulbright Distinguished Chair for American Studies, University of Leipzig.
DAAD International Scholar Fellowship, University of Leipzig.
European Union Fellow for International Politics. Brussels and Strasbourg.
Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow for Transatlantic Affairs. Bonn and München.
Rotary International Fellow. University of Lund, Sweden.
The Fulbright Commission and the DAAD made it possible for me to discover wonderful Leipzig, and my future wife. I will be forever grateful for their generosity.