Patricia Melzer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Patricia Melzer
527 Anderson Hall


German Language and Cultural Studies, Women in Radical Social Movements, Gender of Political Violence, Film, Feminist, Queer and Transgender Theory


Patricia Melzer is Associate Professor of German and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Temple University. Her research focuses on feminist and queer theories and cultural texts, and women in radical social movements in Germany. She teaches German language classes and courses on German cultural history in the Department of French, German, Italian and Slavic and classes on feminist and queer theory, film, social movements and feminist cultural studies in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program. A native German, she did her graduate education in the U.S. and has lived in Philadelphia since 2001. Her first book Alien Constructions: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought was published by Texas University Press in 2006 and since then her work has appeared in journals such as German Studies Review, International Feminist Journal of Politics, and Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies. Her second book Death in the Shape of a Young Girl: Women’s Political Violence in the Red Army Faction, was published by New York University Press in 2015. It examines the participation of women in the left-wing terrorist groups RAF and Movement 2nd June in the 1970s and 1980s. The book focuses in particular on the implications of women’s political violence for feminist theories of violence.

Selected Publications


Death in the Shape of a Young Girl: Women’s Political Violence in the Red Army Faction. New York University Press, 2015.

Alien Construction: Science Fiction and Feminist Thought. Texas University Press, Austin, 2006.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Forthcoming: “’Women of Peace’ We Are Not”: Feminist Militants in the West German Autonomen and the Women’s Movement. German Studies Review 40:2 (2017).

“’Wir Frauen sind eh die bessere Hälfte der Menschheit’: Revolutionäre Politik und Feminismus in den Gefängnisbriefen einer (Ex)Terroristin. “Der Linksterrorismus der 1970er-Jahre und die Ordnung der Geschlechter. Eds. Irene Bandhauer-Schöffmann and Dirk van Laak. (Giessen Contributions to the Study of Culture, Bd. 9).  Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2013. 183-205.

“Frauen gegen Imperialismus und Patriarchat zerschlagen den Herrschaftsapparat“: Autonome Frauen, feministischer Protest und Gewalt in Westdeutschland. “All we Ever Wanted…”: Eine Kulturgeschichte europäischer Protestbewegungen der 1980er Jahre.  Eds. Hanno Balz and Jan-Henrik Friedrichs. Karl Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 2012. 157-177.

“Maternal Ethics and Political Violence: The ‘Betrayal’ of Motherhood among the Women of the RAF and 2 June Movement. ”Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 47:1 (February 2011): 81-102

“‘Death in the Shape of a Young Girl’: Feminist Responses to Media Representations of Women Terrorists During the ‘German Autumn’ of 1977.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 11:1 (March 2009): 35-61.


  • German 1001, 1002 and 1003: Introduction to German I, II and III
  • German 2041: Reading I
  • German 863: World Societies Through Literature and Film: Germany (Gen Ed class)
  • German 3221: German Culture Through Film
  • German 4140: German Minorities and Cultural Identities: Gendered Dimensions (cross-listed with WST)
  • German 4140: Race, Gender, Sexuality and Nation in Weimar Culture (cross-listed with WST)
  • GSWS 3722: Women and Political Violence
  • GSWS 2051: Critical Race Theory and Feminist Implications
  • GSWS 3236: Gender and Technology in Popular Culture
  • GSWS 8001: Introduction to Feminist Studies (graduate)