Aleida Assmann

Aleida Assmann

Aleida Assmann (born March 22, 1947) is a German professor of English, Egyptology, Literary and Cultural Studies.


Aleida Assmann is the daughter of the New Testament scholar Günther Bornkamm.[1] She studied English and Egyptology at the Universities of Heidelberg and Tübingen from 1966 to 1972. In 1977 she wrote her dissertation in Heidelberg about The Legitimacy of Fiction. She had to take her minor field examination in Egyptology in Tübingen because her husband Jan Assmann had become a professor of Egyptology in Heidelberg.

In 1992 Assmann completed her habilitation in Heidelberg. In 1993 she became a professor of English and Literary Studies at the University of Constance. In 2001 she was the Max Kade visiting professor at Princeton University. She also had visiting professorships at Rice University in Houston (2000), Yale University (2002, 2003, 2005), and the University of Chicago (2007), as well as at the University of Vienna (June 2005).

Assmann's early works were about English literature and the history of literary communication. Since the 1990s her focus has been on cultural anthropology, especially Cultural and Communicative Memory, terms she and Jan Assmann coined and developed. Her specific interests cluster around the history of German memory since 1945, the role of generations in literature and society, and theories of memory.[2]

Since 2011 she has been working on a research project titled "The Past in the Present: Dimensions and Dynamics of Cultural Memory." This project summarizes in English her and Jan Assmann's work on memory.[3]



trans.: “From Collective Violence to a Common Future: Four Models for Dealing with a Traumatic Past,” in: Helen Gonçalves da Silva et al. (eds.), Conflict, Memory Transfers and the Reshaping of Europe (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010), 8-23.


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