PD Dr. Philipp Reisner

Adjunct Faculty
I am a literary scholar with a background in American studies, French literature, and music. My current research focuses on the early Americas, theology, contemporary short prose, drama, and poetry. Upon completing studies at the University of California in Davis, the Robert Schumann Conservatory and Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, I worked as a visiting lecturer in Düsseldorf from 2009 to 2021 and in Mainz from 2019 to 2021, where I was awarded the venia legendi in 2021. In recent years, my research focus has expanded to include periodical and sermon studies. I regularly teach a seminar in Mainz as a Privatdozent.

My dissertation on the New English theologian Cotton Mather (1663–1728) examines Mather’s theological role in the context of early modern society. It was published in 2012 as Cotton Mather als Aufklärer: Glaube und Gesellschaft im Neuengland der Frühen Neuzeit. My habilitation thesis, Faith in Verse: Biblical Presence in Contemporary American Poetry, seeks to develop a new approach to reading contemporary American poetry from the perspective of biblical hermeneutics. It traces the spiritual dimensions of American poetic history from the 1980s to the present by examining the work of living poets from diverse backgrounds. Biblical allusions and biblical structures in their work offer a powerful key to reflecting not only upon the history of the present, but also upon steady cultural undercurrents that have not been adequately accounted for by concepts of secularization. At the same time, the analysis reveals how biblical theology can be used as a tool for literary hermeneutics.


Research Interests

  • Early Modernity
  • Theology and Literature
  • Periodical and Sermon Studies
  • History of Childhood, Education, and Music
  • Contemporary American Literature, especially short prose, drama, and poetry



Since I firmly believe in research-based, dialogical teaching, my courses focus on texts related to my research. Themes include education and a variety of topics from cultural history with a focus on literature. I also believe in the importance of survey courses on single authors as a central component of literary and cultural studies. Shared enthusiasm in the topic makes new literature and approaches accessible. I seek to dismantle superficial boundaries in teaching and look forward to developing new course subjects.


PD Dr. Philipp Reisner

Mailing Address:
Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies
Room 02.208
Jakob-Welder-Weg 20
55128 Mainz

Phone: +49-6131-39-22357