Prof. Dr. Charles Johanningsmeier

User Foto
Prof. Dr. Charles Johanningsmeier
Fulbright-Leipzig Distinguished Chair for American Literature
Room 3508 | Phone:



Like many Americans, I have moved around a good deal in my life. Born in Indiana, I grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. After graduating from high school I have lived in the Philadelphia area; Oxford, England; New Mexico; Long Island, New York; Indiana; upstate New York (Ithaca); and, currently, Omaha, Nebraska.. I am married and have three children who are 10, 6, and 4 years old.



I received my Ph.D. in English and American Studies from Indiana University in 1993. Partly as a result of this training, in all of my courses I blend literary and cultural studies approaches. For the most part I teach nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American Literature, with an emphasis on texts written by authors from marginalized groups.



My research interests are quite diverse. I am most involved, though, in gauging how literary texts have played a role in ordinary readers’ lives. Given that the vast majority of American readers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century read their fiction in magazines and newspapers, much of my research has consequently focused on these serialized texts and their impact on American culture. Currently I am working on a book about how literary texts written between 1865 and 1914 by authors of both genders and from different races and regions represented a cultural negotiation between the emerging power elite in the urban Northeast and people in the rest of the country.


Community Service

Whenever possible, I like to visit junior highs and high schools in the United States to deliver lectures, conduct writing workshops, and so forth. As a former high school teacher myself, I feel it is important to bridge the cultural gap between the high schools and the universities. Here in Germany I have already signed up to participate in a program run by the U.S. Embassy that sends Fulbright scholars out to secondary schools in this region to talk about American culture and answer questions that students might have.


Selected Publications & Papers

  • Fiction and the American Literary /Marketplace: The Role of Newspaper Syndicates in America, 1860-1900 (Cambridge University Press, 1997)
  • “How American Readers Originally Experienced James’s ‘The Real Thing.’” The Henry James Review, 27 (Winter 2006): 75-99.
  • “Welcome Guests or Representatives of the ‘Mal-Odorous Class’? Periodicals and Their Readers in American Public Libraries, 1876-1914.” Libraries and Culture, 39 (2004): 260-292.
  • “The Devil, Capitalism, and Frank Norris: Defining the ‘Reading Field’ for Sunday Newspaper Fiction, 1870-1910.” American Periodicals, 14.1 (Spring 2004): 91-112.
  • “Unmasking Willa Cather’s ‘Mortal Enemy.’” Cather Studies, 5 (2003): 237-272.
  • “Subverting Readers’ Assumptions and Expectations: Jewett’s ‘Tame Indians.’” American Literary Realism, 34 (2002): 233-250.
  • “What We Can Learn from a Better Bibliographical Record of Charles W. Chesnutt’s Periodical Fiction.” North Carolina Literary Review, 8 (1999): 84-96.
  • “Sarah Orne Jewett and Mary E. Wilkins (Freeman): Two Shrewd Businesswomen in Search of New Markets.” The New England Quarterly, 70 (March 1997): 57-82.


Selected Honors, Awards, Distinctions

  • Awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship to teach at the University of Leipzig for the 2006-2007 academic year.
  • Invited to give the featured lecture, “Where the Masses Met the Classes: Nineteenth-Century American Newspapers and Their Significance to Literary Scholars,” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America, November 2005.
  • Jefferis Endowed Chair, University of Nebraska at Omaha, August 2000 - August 2003
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Stipend, 1997