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University of Pittsburgh

Holly yanacek

Visiting Assistant Professor
1521B Cathedral of Learning
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


PhD, German Studies, Certificate in Cultural Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2016
MA, German Studies, University of Pittsburgh, 2012

BA, German, Heidelberg University, 2010


Courses Taught

  • German Cultural History
  • Indo-European Folktales
  • Drama of Ideas: German Theater Workshop
  • German Reading and Translation II
  • Elementary German I and II
  • Intermediate German I and II



Holly Yanacek is Visiting Assistant Professor of German at the University of Pittsburgh, where she completed her PhD in German Studies and a doctoral-level certificate in Cultural Studies in 2016. She has taught a variety of German language, literature, and culture courses from the beginning to the advanced levels. During the spring term, she will teach a new immersive German theater course of her own design, “The Drama of Ideas,” in which students will analyze, modernize, stage, and perform Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck. She currently manages the Department’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Yanacek’s research and teaching interests span German literary and cultural history from the Enlightenment to the present. Currently, a major emphasis of her research is on emotion studies because researching emotions has opened new avenues of investigation into questions of the individual, the social, and the relationship between individuals and society since the ‘affective turn.’ Her first book project, in progress, analyzes the representation of emotion in fin-de-siècle German novels by Thomas Mann, Lou Andreas-Salomé, and Theodor Fontane. Yanacek has received generous support for her research from the Fulbright Commission, the DAAD, the German Historical Institute, and the University of Pittsburgh. She spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Berlin as a Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Fulbright Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin. She has also lived in Heidelberg, Germany, where she taught English to German secondary school students and studied at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Yanacek is a member of the Keywords Project, a collaborative research initiative sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh and Jesus College, University of Cambridge.



  •  “Well-being.” Keywords Project. University of Pittsburgh, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, and Critical Quarterly. July 2016. 
  • “The Symbol.” English translation of Friedrich Theodor Vischer’s philosophical treatise “Das Symbol”(1887). Art in Translation 7.4 (February 2016): 417-448. Published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Online.
  •  “Investigating the Unexplained: Paranormal Belief and Perception in Kleist’s ‘Die heilige Cäcilie’ and ‘Das Bettelweib von Locarno.’” Colloquia Germanica 45.2 (2012): 163-178. Appeared in print in 2015.
  •  “Empathy.” Keywords Project. University of Pittsburgh, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, and Critical Quarterly. April 2014.
  •  “Emotion.” Keywords Project. University of Pittsburgh, Jesus College, University of Cambridge, and Critical Quarterly. January 2014.


Awards and Honors

  • Speaking in the Disciplines Faculty Seminar Fellowship (2016)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship (2015-2016)
  • Cultural Studies Small Grant for Summer Research (2015)
  • Fulbright Graduate Research Fellowship (2014-2015)
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Long-Term Research Grant (2014-2015, award declined)
  • German Historical Institute (GHI) Archival Summer Seminar in Germany (2014)
  • Cultural Studies Small Grant for Summer Research (2014)
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship (2008-2009)


Professional Memberships

  • American Association of Teachers of German
  • Coalition of Women in German
  • Fulbright Association
  • German Studies Association
  • Goethe Society of North America
  • Modern Language Association
  • Society for the History of Emotions