Annette Karpp

Annette Karpp SW


Lansstr. 7-9
Room 213
14195 Berlin

Office hours

Wednesday, 1-2pm; by appointment.

After the end of June, no office hours will take place due to a research trip to the United States during the summer.


Forthcoming: Winter Semester 2016/2017 – September 2019

Doctoral Candidate, Graduate School of North American Studies, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin

December 2011

Magistra Artium (Master of Arts) in Modern and Contemporary History, Romance Studies and Educational Studies, University of Cologne

December 2010

First State Exam in History, French and Educational Studies, University of Cologne

August 2001 – January 2004

Apprenticeship Bank Clerk, Kreissparkasse Köln / Savings Bank of Cologne


Professional Experience and Academic Positions

Since October 2015

Lecturer, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

April – September 2015

Researcher, John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

November 2010 – January 2015

Manager of Sales Administration, Wirtgen France, Paris

March 2008 – December 2010

Student Assistant, Department of History, University of Cologne (Didactics of History, Modern and Contemporary History)


Grants and Awards

Forthcoming: Winter Semester 2016/2017 – September 2019

Doctoral Fellowship, German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)

July – November 2016

Research Grant, German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.

November 2015 – January 2016    

Research Grant, German Historical Institute, London

2004 – 2010

Scholarship for Integrated Franco-German Studies of History, French Literature and Linguistics at University of Cologne and Université Charles de Gaulle Lille III, Université Franco-Allemande de Saarbruck / Deutsch-Französische Hochschule Saarbrücken


German Association for American Studies


German (mother tongue)

English (fluent in speaking, reading, good in writing)

French (fluent in speaking, reading, and writing)

Spanish (good in reading and speaking, and basic in writing)

Latin (A-Level)

Research interests

  • International History in the 19th and 20th Century
  • Human Rights and Humanitarianism
  • Popular Culture
  • Music and Politics
  • Grassroots and Social Movements

Abstract of dissertation project

One of the first associations that comes to one’s mind when talking about punk is the famous slogan of the Sex Pistols: “No future!” With their song “God Save the Queen” as well as their rebellious, nihilistic and anti-establishment attitudes, the English punk rock band inspired a whole generation. For some of its members, punk was over as soon as it was labeled as such, but recent examples show that punk is not dead. On the contrary, since the late 1970s, punk music and lifestyle became a global phenomenon which followed its own political agenda(s).

A famous example for this development is the contemporary Russian (female) punk collective Pussy Riot. On the eve of the 2014 Sochi Olympics in Russia, Madonna welcomed two members of Pussy Riot, Maria "Masha" Alyokhina and Nadezhda "Nadia" Tolokonnikova, on the stage of the “Bringing Human Rights Home!” Concert presented by Amnesty International and CBGB at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Russian feminist punk musicians, jailed in 2012 for criticizing Russian president Vladimir Putin at a performance in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, stated "We are happy to support Amnesty International's work on behalf of human rights and political prisoners. We, more than anyone, understand how important Amnesty's work is in connecting activists to prisoners."[1] At first glance, the collaboration of punk activists with the non-governmental human rights organization Amnesty International regarding political prisoners does not seem surprising. Nevertheless, this interpretation would be oversimplifying the issue at hand, gilding the highly controversial interplay between anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, sometimes nihilistic punk ethics and an institutionalized, public (mostly Western) discourse on human rights.

This tension between certain punk ethics such as anti-establishment, non-conformity, anti-capitalism, the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach and its increasing advocacy for human rights and against human rights violations fascinates me enormously. In my Ph.D. project, I aim at studying when, why and especially how punk scenes participated in/or challenged (the discourse on) human rights. The timeframe of my study encompasses the beginning of punk in the US and the UK in the mid-1970s and its evolution, (dis)continuities and (re)definitions until the mid-2000s. I focus on strategies and practices of political participation by members of London’s and New York City’s punk scenes in order to explore how punk became increasingly politicized during this period. The DIY ethos of punk particularly intensified the self-identification of punks with the scene(s) and facilitated the mobilization of political resources. Since I perceive punk as a lifestyle, I am not only focusing on the music or the role of punk artists. My project addresses the strategies of political participation used by punk rock musicians, fans, show organizers, broadcasters, producers of music and film, journalists, and the practices and techniques they applied to negotiate, challenge, or promote human rights. Accordingly, punk music, the collaboration with NGOs, grassroots and social movements will be at the center of my study.


[1] Web report of Amnesty International on the "Bringing Human Rights Home Concert" of 2 May 2014 at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, see:, accessed 28 January 2016.


Möller, Angelika: Das andere New York. Friedhöfe, Freiräume und Vergnügungen, 1790 - 1860. Bielefeld 2015, in: H-Soz-Kult, 22.04.2016, accessible here.

With Jessica Gienow-Hecht and Annika Estner, „Doppelte Kehrseite.“ Review of Die Ambivalenz des Guten. Menschenrechte in der Internationalen Politik seit den 1940ern, Jan Eckel. Neue Politische Literatur 60, no. 3 (2015), 491-493.


„Auf dem Weg nach Helsinki: Frankreich, die Bundesrepublik Deutschland und die KSZE in den frühen 1970er Jahren.“ Diskurs 6, no. 1 (2010), 25-43. Accessible here.

Workshops and Conferences

“In Defence of Our Earth” (Oi Polloi, 1990) – Punk Activism and the Environmental Dimension of Human Rights in Great Britain in the 1980s. Workshop “Défis internationaux et émergence d’un espace public en Europe depuis les années 1970.“ Atelier de clôture, German Historical Institute Paris. Paris, 9 and 10 June 2016.


“’No More Bad Future!‘ Punk, Political Participation and Human Rights.“ Workshop Nationen, Minoritäten und Menschenrechte im 20. Jahrhundert – Workshop junger WissenschaftlerInnen zur Geschichte des Politischen, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena. Jena, 6 – 9 June 2016.


“Punk and/or Human Rights? From Anti-Establishment Ideology to an Agenda of Political Participation in New York City’s punk scene, 1970s-2000s.” Conference The United States and the Question of Rights, German Association for American Studies (DGfA). Osnabrück, 19 – 22 May 2016.