Dr. Julia Velten

wiss. Mitarbeiterin, Abteilung Banerjee
I am a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in Professor Mita Banerjee’s team. I received my B.Ed. in English, History, and Education as well as my M.A. in American Studies from Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. In order to complete my M.A. thesis “‘The power of a four letter word’: AIDS and the ‘Right to Try’ in Dallas Buyers Club,” I received a PROMOS (DAAD) scholarship that gave me the opportunity to pursue my research at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for two months. Subsequently, I worked with Professor Banerjee as a doctoral researcher within the DFG research group 1939 “Un/doing Differences: Praktiken der Humandifferenzierung” (2016-19). Our project focused on centenarian auto/biographies and dealt with the fabrication of centenarians in the United States. Based on this research, I wrote my dissertation “Extraordinary Forms of Aging: The Construction of Age in Life Narratives of Centenarians and Children with Progeria.” for which I received my PhD in American Studies in December 2021. My first monograph Extraordinary Forms of Aging: Life Narratives of Centenarians and Children with Progeria was published with transcript in October 2022.


My general research interests include life writing, aging studies, medical humanities, indigenous studies, popular culture, narrative science, and environmental humanities. Currently, I am looking at the intersection of different cultures of knowledge. I inquire how knowledge generated by the natural sciences, by the humanities, and by public discourses intersect and influence each other. I explore the way these different types of knowledge are discussed and represented in literature and media.


I have been teaching at the Obama Institute regularly since 2019. Among other topics, my courses dealt with:

  • U.S. American cultural history
  • Historical fiction
  • Gender in U.S. literature and media
  • Environmentalism and the Anthropocene in contemporary U.S. media
  • Aging studies
  • Southern literature
  • Indigenous literatures

Furthermore, I co-organize the annual American Studies Summer School where I lead an excursion through the U.S. American south. During this excursion we focus on southern literature and culture and the Civil Rights Movement.

I am happy to supervise B.A./B.Ed. and M.A./M.Ed. theses on topics connected to my teaching or research.


Dr. Julia Velten
Philosophicum II
Jakob-Welder-Weg 20
Room 02.227

Phone: +49-6131-39-29098

Office hours
Aug 5, Aug 12, Aug 26,
Sep 9, Sep 30,
Oct 7
Mon, 15-17
in person and via MS Teams


extraordinary forms of aging
transcript, 2022