Elizabeth Hamilton

  • Associate Dean of the College of the Arts and Sciences
  • Associate Professor and Acting Chair of German
  • Director, First-Year Seminar Program
  • Musical Studies Co-Chair Exoficio
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinator


  • BA, Grove City College, 1987
  • MA, University Delaware, 1991
  • PhD, Ohio State University, 1998


Areas of special interest

  • Twentieth-century West German literature and film, East German cinema, Postwar narratives of “Vergangenheitsbewältigung,” Disability Studies

Recent publications

  • Fühmann, Franz, Dietmar Riemann, and Elizabeth C Hamilton. 2021. What Kind of Island In What Kind of Sea. E-book, Amherst, Massachusetts: Lever Press. doi.org/10.3998/mpub.12467134

  • Foreword to Disability and World Language Learning: Inclusive Teaching for Diverse Learners. Evans, Wade and Sally Scott. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 2019.
  • Review of Nina Schmidt’s The Wounded Self: Writing Illness in Twenty-First-Century German Literature. Jahrbuch Gegenwartsliteratur 18.
  • Translation, with student Leo R. Kalkbrenner, of “Diagnoses That Matter. My Great-Grandmother's Murder as One Deemed ‘Unworthy of Living’ and Its Impact on Our Family” by Andreas Hechler. Disability Studies Quarterly. 37.2 (Summer 2017). www.dsq-sds.org.
  • “Mariella Mehr’s Voices For Children” in “Es ist seit Rahel uns erlaubt, Gedanken zu haben.” Essays in Honor of Heidi Thomann Tewarson. Ed. Steven R. Huff and Dorothea Kaufmann. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2012.
  • Worlds Apart? Disability and Foreign Language Learning. Eds. Tammy Berberi, Elizabeth Hamilton, and Ian Sutherland. New Haven: Yale UP, 2008.
  • “ Teaching German to Students Who are Blind: A Personal Essay on the Process of Inclusion.” In Worlds Apart? Disability and Foreign Language Learning. Eds. Tammy Berberi, Elizabeth Hamilton, and Ian Sutherland. New Haven: Yale UP, 2007. (27 ms. pp.)
  • Edited book: Worlds Apart? Disability and Foreign Language Learning. Eds. Tammy Berberi, Elizabeth Hamilton, and Ian Sutherland. New Haven: Yale UP, 2007.
  • Unsereins muß auf die Bühne: The Tin Drum and the Stage.” To appear in Grass’s The Tin Drum. Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Ed. Monika Shafi. New York: MLA, 2006. (20 ms. pp.)
  • “ The State of the Community: Foreign Language Students with Disabilities and Language Lab Technology.” 37.2 The IALLT Journal of Language Learning Technologies. (fall 2005): 17-33.
  • “ Of Miracles and Pedestals. Helen Keller Through German Eyes.” Disability Studies Quarterly. 26.1 (winter 2006).  www.dsq-sds.org Ulrich Plenzdorf: After Oberlin.” Willkommen und Abschied. Thirty-Five Years of German Writers-in-Residence at Oberlin College. Eds. Dorothea Kaufmann and Heidi Thomann Tewarson. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2005. 62-66.
  • “ Language Barriers and Barriers to Language: Disability in the Foreign Language Classroom” coauthored with Tammy E. Berberi. Building Pedagogical Curb Cuts: Incorporating Disability in the University Classroom and Curriculum. Eds. Liat Ben-Moshe, Rebecca C. Cory, Mia Feldbaum, and Ken Sagendorf. Syracuse: Graduate School, Syracuse U, 2005. 11-19.
  • Review of The Normal One: Life With a Difficult or Damaged Sibling by Jeanne Safer (New York: Free Press-Simon and Schuster, 2002). Disability Studies Quarterly 25.2 (Spring 2005). www.dsq-sds.org
  • ‘‘No Longer Unreasonable: Disability in German Cinema.” Disability Studies Quarterly 24.3 (Summer 2004). www.dsq-sds.org
  • ‘‘Deafening Sound and Troubling Silence in Volker Schlöndorff’s Die Blechtrommel.’’ Sound Matters: Essays on the Acoustics of German Culture. Eds. Lutz Koepnick and Nora Alter. New York: Berghahn, 2004. 130-142.
  • “Imaginary Bridges: Politics and Film Art in Robert Musil’s Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß and Volker Schlöndorff’s Der junge Törleß.’’ Colloquia Germanica Volume 1 (Winter 2003): 69-85.
  • ‘‘Read the Book or Watch the Movie? Der Richter und sein Henker at the Intermediate Level.’’ Die Unterrichtspraxis 35.2 (2002): 141-148.
  • ‘‘From Social Welfare to Civil Rights: The Representation of Disability in Twentieth-Century German Literature.” The Body and Physical Difference: Discourses of Disability. Ed. David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1997. 223-239.
  • Translation of ‘‘Embarking for New Shores” by Heinz-Uwe Haus. Rocky Mountain Review 45 (1991): 237-246.

  • First Year Seminar:  Disability
  • The Seventies, the Germanies, the Cinema
  • East German Cinema
  • New German Cinema
  • History of German Cinema
  • The Deviant Body in German Literature and Film
  • Elementary and Intermediate German Language courses
  • Member of Oberlin's Interdisciplinary Cinema Studies Committee


Elizabeth Hamilton publishes a translation and literary-Historical Interpretation

August 29, 2022

Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of German Elizabeth Hamilton published a translation and literary-historical interpretation of Franz Fühmann and Dietmar Riemann's Was für eine Insel in was für einem Meer in an open-access digital edition with Lever Press: What Kind of Island in What Kind of Sea. First published in East Germany in 1986, the original work depicts residents of the Samariteranstalten, a church-run institution for people with cognitive disabilities, in astonishing black-and-white photographs by Riemann and in probing, poignant writing by Fühmann.

Hamilton's book was reviewed by Michele Ricci-Bell in Reading in Translation, a journal edited by Stiliana Milkova, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature. The review appears here.


Elizabeth Hamilton Publishes Translation

June 6, 2017

Elizabeth Hamilton, associate professor of German, translated with her student, Leo R. Kalkbrenner, ""Diagnoses That Matter: My Great-Grandmother's Murder as One Deemed 'Unworthy of Living' and Its Impact on Our Family," by Andreas Hechler. The translation was published in Disability Studies Quarterly.

Elizabeth Hamilton Delivers Keynote Address

May 18, 2017

Associate Professor of German Elizabeth Hamilton delivered the keynote address at Bates College's May Conference on May 12, 2017. Hamilton's talk was titled "Universal Design and the Architecture of the Liberal Arts." This year's theme for the annual meeting on pedagogy and curricular design was "Beyond Compliance." The conference included small-group workshops on syllabus design and a student panel on learning styles and barriers to academic progress.

Elizabeth Hamilton Interviewed

July 30, 2015

Elizabeth Hamilton, associate professor and chair of the German Language and Literatures Department, was interviewed for the Märkische Online Zeitung. The article (in German) describes Hamilton’s on-site research at the Samariteranstalten, a cluster of homes and schools for people with cognitive disabilities in Fürstenwalde, Brandenburg. Hamilton is translating and writing a scholarly edition of a photo-essay collection that was created there, Was für eine Insel in was für einem Meer.

The original work, created in the former East Germany in 1985, depicts residents of an institution for people with cognitive disabilities in astonishingly beautiful black-and-white photographs by then up-and-coming photographer Dietmar Riemann and in probing, poignant essays by the esteemed literary author Franz Fühmann. The subjects of their photographs and texts lived in care of the Samaritans’ Institution, or Samariteranstalt Fürstenwalde, a Protestant Church-run institution about 35 miles east of Berlin. The artistic value of the Fühmann-Riemann collection transcends the geographical and historical context of the now-defunct GDR. These are intimate and respectful portraits of people who in most cultures, even today, remain hidden from public view. As fuller, global histories of disability are now being written, Fühmann and Riemann’s work opens an essential window onto a formerly shuttered world.


Two Receive German Study Award

June 29, 2015

Alex Baker ’17 and Muci Yu ’18 each received a Max Kade Summer German Study Award to help support their plans to study in Berlin, Germany, this summer.