Matthew Childs (he/him/his)

Graduate Student
Standing before the British Parliament building.

Contact Information

Denny 400K
Office Hours
Tuesdays, 2:30–3:30pm / Wednesdays, 11:00am–12:00pm / By appointment


M.A., German Studies, Florida State University, 2015
B.A., German and Classical Civilizations, Florida State University, 2013
Curriculum Vitae (151.68 KB)

Matthew Childs is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of German Studies.

Matthew's dissertation, titled Era of Uncertainty: Catastrophe in Nineteenth-Century German Literature, examines texts by Heinrich von Kleist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Wilhelm Raabe, and Theodor Storm in order to delineate the form and function of catastrophe in literature from the time. It makes two fundamental claims: (1) that catastrophe was utilized by the authors to advance critiques in society and (2) that catastrophe itself underwent a transformation owing to the advent of modernity, which resulted in its becoming a condition of life itself. 

Matthew has taught all levels of the German language program and was Lead TA for AY2020-21. He has taught non-traditional students at Language Strides German School and was a coordinator for high school exchange students from German-speaking countries at the NorthWest Student Exchange. 

Matthew's works in progress are:

  • Critical Catastrophe Studies. Co-edited with Christoph Weber. (edited volume)
  • Race and Germany. Co-authored with Jonathan Warren. (monograph)
  • "Human Waste: The 'Trash-Formation' of Society and its Reparation on the Example of Wilhelm Raabe's Pfisters Mühle: Ein Sommerferienheft." (double-blind, peer-review article)
  • "Sugar High: Capitalist Energies in Wilhelm Raabe's Pfisters Mühle: Ein Sommerferienheft." (Ohio State University Inaugural Umwelt Workshop)

Matthew's upcoming and most recent conference events include: 

  • "Diversities of Care in the Ling 19th Century." GSA 2024 (seminar participant)
  • Inaugural Workshop of the Ohio State University Umwelt Center for Germanic Studies and Environmental Humanities (presenter)
  • "Energetic Waterways: The Flow and Ebb of Germany's Rivers from Werther to Pfisters Mühle." MLA 2024 (presenter)
  • "Catastrophic Transformations: Changing Perspectives on Catastrophe in 19th-Century German Literature." PAMLA 2023 (presenter)
  • "Catastrophe and Critique." GSA 2023. (co-organizer)
  • "Foggy Pasts, Shifting Presents, Uncertain Futures: Wilhelm Raabe's Pfisters Mühle." ESCCS/TransHumanities Joint Summer School 2023 (presenter)
  • "The Ethics of Narrating Catastrophe: Kleist's Das Erdbeben in Chili." 72nd National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies 2023 (presenter)

Matthew's most recent publications are (see CV for category details):

  • "Goethe's Faust and Sorge in the Age of Imperialism and Colonialism." Goethe Yearbook, vol. 31, 2024. 
  • "Rethinking the West: Promise and Crisis of a Concept." Transatlanticism 2023. (link
  • "East Comma West - Münster." Rethinking the West Conference 2023. (link)


Courses Taught


Home Department
Professional Affiliations
German Studies Association, Modern Languages Association, Goethe Society of North America, American Association of Teachers of German, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment

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