Dr. Hester Baer joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in Fall 2013, and currently serves as the Department Head and Graduate Director in Germanic Studies. She is also a core faculty member in Film Studies and Comparative Literature, and an affiliate faculty member in Women's Studies. In 2014-15, she held the Clara and Robert Vambery Distinguished Professorship of Comparative Studies at UMD and was a fellow at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.
Professor Baer's research interests focus on gender and sexuality in film and media; historical and contemporary feminisms; and German literature and culture in the 21st Century. She is the author of Dismantling the Dream Factory: Gender, German Cinema, and the Postwar Quest for a New Film Language (Berghahn Books, 2009), which came out in paperback in 2012. Baer is the co-editor of German Women's Writing in the Twenty-First Century (Camden House, 2015), and the guest editor of a special issue of the journal Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature (2011), entitled "Contemporary Women's Writing and the Return of Feminism in Germany." She is also the translator and co-editor of The Blessed Abyss: Inmate #6582 in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp for Women by Nanda Herbermann (Wayne State UP, 2000), originally published in Germany in 1946.
Baer is a participant in the collaborative research project "Feminisms in the Digital Age: Transnational Activism in Germany and Beyond": http://www.artsrn.ualberta.ca/feminism/ Her article emerging from this collaboration, "Redoing Feminism: Digital Activism, Body Politics, and Neoliberalism" was published in Feminist Media Studies in 2015. She is currently at work on a new book about German cinema from 1980-2010. An article related to this project, "Das Boot and the German Cinema of Neoliberalism," appeared in German Quarterly (2012); another, "Affectless Economies: The Berlin School and Neoliberalism" was published in Discourse (2013).
Professor Baer received her Ph.D. in German from Washington University in St. Louis, where she also earned a graduate certificate in Women's Studies. Her education included a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to conduct research in Berlin and exchange years in Tübingen and Vienna. After completing her degree, she spent a year at Duke University as the Lisa Lee and Marc Ewing Postdoctoral Fellow in German Studies and Women's Studies. Before coming to Maryland, Professor Baer taught German and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she was named Associates Second Century Presidential Professor. Baer has served as the President of the South Central Modern Language Association and as the President of Women in German. The recipient of a Fulbright award for travel to Germany in 2004, she spent summer 2012 in Berlin on a DAAD Research Visit Grant to conduct research for her book project on German cinema and neoliberalism.
At the University of Maryland, Baer teaches a wide range of courses in German language, literature, and culture, film studies, and theory. In Spring 2016, she taught an undergraduate film course, "Nazis, Terrorists, and Spies: Coming to Terms with the Past and Present in Recent German Film." Her graduate seminars include "German Literature in the 21st Century" and "Transnational Theory and Criticism." In Spring 2015, she facilitated the Film Studies Graduate Colloquium on "Feminist Film & Media Theory."