Dr. Hester Baer joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in Fall 2013, and currently serves as Graduate Director in Germanic Studies. She is also a core faculty member in Film Studies, a core affiliate in Comparative Literature, and an affiliate faculty member in Women's Studies. In 2014-15, she holds the Clara and Robert Vambery Distinguished Professorship of Comparative Studies at UMD and is a fellow at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.
Professor Baer's research interests focus on gender and media, with particular emphasis on German film and literature from the postwar and contemporary periods. She is the author of Dismantling the Dream Factory: Gender, German Cinema, and the Postwar Quest for a New Film Language (Berghahn Books, 2009), which came out in paperback in 2012. She has also published articles and book chapters on women's cinema in Germany; on the role of sound in German cinema from the 1950s; on the women's magazine Film und Frau and 1950s film audiences; on the transition from popular to avant-garde filmmaking practices in Germany in the early 1960s; on transnational cinema and the Mexican film Y tu mamá también; on contemporary German women writers; and on gender and the Holocaust. Dr. Baer is the translator and co-editor of The Blessed Abyss: Inmate #6582 in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp for Women by Nanda Herbermann (Wayne State UP, 2000), originally published in Germany in 1946. She is the guest editor of a special issue of the journal Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature (2011), entitled "Contemporary Women's Writing and the Return of Feminism in Germany."
In 2015, Baer's co-edited volume German Women's Writing in the Twenty-First Century will be published by Camden House. She is currently at work on a new book about German cinema from 1980-2010. An article related to this project, "Das Boot and the German Cinema of Neoliberalism," appeared in German Quarterly (2012); another, "Affectless Economies: The Berlin School and Neoliberalism" was published in Discourse (2013). Baer is a participant in the collaborative research project "Feminisms in the Digital Age: Transnational Activism in Germany and Beyond": http://www.artsrn.ualberta.ca/feminism/
Professor Baer received her Ph.D. in German from Washington University in St. Louis, where she also earned a graduate certificate in Women's Studies. Her education included a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to conduct research in Berlin and exchange years in Tübingen and Vienna. After completing her degree, she spent a year at Duke University as the Lisa Lee and Marc Ewing Postdoctoral Fellow in German Studies and Women's Studies. Before coming to Maryland, Professor Baer taught German and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she was named Associates Second Century Presidential Professor. Baer has served as the President of the South Central Modern Language Association and as the President of Women in German. The recipient of a Fulbright award for travel to Germany in 2004, she spent summer 2012 in Berlin on a DAAD Research Visit Grant to conduct research for her book project on German cinema and neoliberalism.
At the University of Maryland, Baer teaches a wide range of courses in German language, literature, and culture, film studies, and theory. Recent graduate seminars include "German Literature in the 21st Century" and "Transnational Theory and Criticism." In Spring 2015, she will facilitate the Film Studies Graduate Colloquium on "Feminist Film & Media Theory."