Associate Professor Gerhard Fischer

Associate Professor
School of Humanities & Languages


9385 2327
Room 238, Morven Brown
Fields: Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Literature in German, Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)

GERHARD FISCHER studied German and French Literature at the University of Bochum (Germany); he holds postgraduate degrees (MA and PhD) in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York (Binghamton, NY). He is a literary scholar and an historian, with research interests in 20th century European literature and drama/theatre, World War I, and 19th century Australian migration history and multiculturalism.

FISCHER has written four books (on the plays about the Paris Commune of 1871; on the ‘homefront war’ in Australia during World War I, and two volumes on the GRIPS Theatre of Berlin, including GRIPS: Geschichte eines populären Theaters, 1966–2000; Munich 2002), as well as over ninety essays/chapters in peer-refereed journals and scholarly collections. He is the editor and main contributor of The Mudrooroo/Müller Project: A Theatrical Casebook (shortlisted for the 1993 New South Wales State Literary Award for Multicultural Literature). As Convenor of the Sydney German Studies Symposia, he has edited or co-edited nine volumes of scholarly essays (on Walter Benjamin, Erich Kästner, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Heiner Müller, ‘multicultural identities’, ‘the play within the play’, and on German literature since unification (Schreiben nach der Wende. Ein Jahrzehnt deutscher Litewratur, 1989–1999; Tübingen 2001; second edition 2008). The latest book in this series is W.G. Sebald: Schreiben ex patria/Expatriate Writing; Amsterdam/New York 2009); a volume entitled Collective Creativity: Collaborative Work in Literature, the Sciences and the Arts is due to appear in 2010.

FISCHER currently supervises three PhD projects by students who happen to work on the most important German language writers/dramatists of the 20th century, i.e. Bertolt Brecht, Ödön von Horvath and Heiner Müller. Supervision of recently completed PhD projects include theses on Hans Magnus Enzensberger, on “Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer and Alexander Kluge”, and on Egon Erwin Kisch.

FISCHER is a recipient of the Australian Government’s Federation Medal (2001) and a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.


Gerhard Fischer is an Associate Professor in the School of Languages and Linguistics. He is a literary scholar and historian. He studied German and French literature and theatre studies in Germany and the United States where he received an M.A. and Ph.D. in comparative literature (State University of New York, Binghamton, NY). He has taught at the Odenwaldschule in Germany, universities in New York, Minnesota and California, and at the University of Algiers; in Australia since 1977. Numerous publications on modern German literature and theatre, on Australian migration history during the 19th century, on World War I (Enemy Aliens, U of Queensland Press 1989), and on questions of multiculturalism.

Fischer has written five books and over a hundred articles in journals and academic collections. As convenor of the Sydney German Studies Symposia he has edited ten volumes of scholarly essays, including Heiner Müller. ConTEXTS and HISTORY (Tübingen 1995), Schreiben nach der Wende. Ein Jahrzehnt deutscher Literatur, 1989-1999 (with David Roberts, 2. ed. Tübingen 2007) and W.G. Sebald. Schreiben ex patria / Expatriate Writing (Amsterdam and New York 2009).

Fischer’s ‘theatrical casebook’ The Mudrooroo/Müller Project (UNSW Press, 1993) – which contains an original play by Mudrooroo, The Aboriginal Protesters Confront the Declaration of the Australian Republic on 26 January 2001 with a Production of Heiner Müller’s The  Mission – was shortlisted for a NSW State Literary Award; the play, produced by Fischer in conjunction with the Performance Space for the Sydney Festival 1995 and featuring an entirely Aboriginal cast, was described as a “landmark“ in Australian theatre by the Sydney Morning Herald; following its success at the Sydney Festival, it was invited to tour to festivals in Germany (Weimar and Munich).

Fischer is currently working on a new book on internment in Australia during World War I, to be published jointly by Historic Houses Trust and UNSW Press in conjunction with an exhibition, The Enemy at Home, at the Museum of Sydney (7 May – 11 September 2011).

Gerhard Fischer is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2001, he was awarded the Commonwealth Government’s Centenary Medal.


German and European Studies