Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Lene Annette Karpp

PhD Candidate

Lansstraße 5-9
14195 Berlin

Research Interests

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


since November 2016 Doctoral Candidate, Graduate School of North American Studies, 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
November 2007

Licence III (French equivalent of Bachelor) in History (Histoire), and Licence III in French Literature and Linguistics (Lettres Modernes)

August 2001 - January 2004 Apprenticeship Bank Clerk, Kreissparkasse Köln / Savings Bank of Cologne


Professional Experience and Academic Positions

October 2015 - September 2016 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

November 2016 -
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 Saarbrucken / 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)

"Punk (and) Feminist Practices in New York City, 1970s – 2010s” (Dissertation Project)

Dissertation in History

Mentoring team:
First supervisor: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Jobs
Second supervisor: Prof. Dr. Olaf Stieglitz
Third supervisor: Prof. Dr. Martin Butler

My research project “Punk Feminism in New York City, 1970s – 2010s” explores how punk feminist practices – which I will approach under the concept “doing feminism” – let feminist ideas become intelligible, how these practices and ideas changed and how they were spread by different people to different audiences across time and places. In this context, I argue that feminist ideas “traveled” and changed through practices within different “communities” of punk culture in New York City (and beyond) which were often characterized by diverse generational, racial and socio-economic backgrounds, reminding us that the idea of feminism should not be understood as a universal idea, but rather that feminist thoughts were distributed via and translated into doing feminism by a variety of punk actors. Doing punk feminism was (and is) mainly linked to punk’s Do-It-Yourself ethos – the independent, self-produced creation of music, poetry, performance art, zines, workshops, record labels, direct actions and grassroots activism – which was (and is) used to self-empower and self-educate girls, women and other feminist punks with regards to gender equality and feminist thoughts within and beyond punk culture.

The riot grrrl movement created something which could be described as a “myth”1 of punk feminist icons and heroines of the 1970s, a “past” of punk feminism they – along with some of the protagonists of 1970s’ punk culture – remember(ed), document(ed) and discuss(ed) extensively until today. Against this backdrop, I would like to challenge and complicate the predominant scholarly narrative of riot grrrl as the cradle (and demise) of punk feminist practices and claim that punk feminism should not be understood as a temporary sub-category or special case of punk culture which only came into existence through the short-living, but influential riot grrrl movement in the early 1990s. On the contrary, I argue that punk feminism should rather be embedded into a longer, ongoing, but not necessarily progressive history of doing feminism within punk culture which refers to its multiple origins, cross-references and contingent turns over the last four decades. Punk and feminism interplayed with each other since punk’s inception in the 1970s and punk feminist practices are still relevant to punk culture and (youth) feminism today. Women in punk took up a long struggle against both, the discrimination and subordination of women in rock music scenes2 as well as in the society at large. The female participation in punk music, an overt sexuality and aggressive performance style, the self-expression and self-empowerment of women on stage were at the core of 1970s’ punk feminism which – along with a more academic background knowledge – inspired a new generation of punks in the 1990s to develop a more explicitly political feminist approach. Doing feminism within punk culture, moreover, helped to produce an image of feminism not as an academic (or even elite) project but as an intelligible daily-life practice, which, in turn, might have reverberated in other feminist discourses. Furthermore, I argue that in more recent years, the production of cultures of memory and of knowledge, i.e. the documentation, remembrance and historicization of punk feminism via grassroots, public and private academic institutions became itself a feminist practice used by punks and non-punk actors which partially institutionalized and academized punk feminism.

[1] A “myth” can be understood as “a story about the past whose meaning is remembered in the present” because its content is still relevant to the ones who remember and construct it as “the fulfillment of a past” from which they might “wish to have been descended.” Wendy Doniger, Other Peoples’ Myths: The Cave of Echoes, University of Chicago press ed (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 31.
[2] Norma Coates, “(R)Evolution Now? Rock and the Political Potential of Gender,” in Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender (London ; New York: Routledge, 1997), 50–64; Caroline O’Meara, “The Raincoats: Breaking Down Punk Rock’s Masculinities,” Popular Music 22, no. 3 (October 2003): 299–313, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261143003003209.



“Queer (-/and) Feminist DIY Practices in Punk and the ‘Sexual Turn’ in Human Rights,” Forum for Inter-American Research (Fiar), Special Issue: Music and Rights in the Americas, 12, no. 2 (October 2019): 15–36,http://interamerica.de/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/karpp.pdf (peer-reviewed).

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

Review Article

"Negotiating Machismo, ‘Exoticism’ and Feminism on the Dancefloor: Tango Argentino and Transcultural Encounters in the 20th and 21st Century." Pop History, July 20, 2017.


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

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.

Workshops and Conferences

“The Politics of Punk in New York City, 1980s – 2000s.” Annual Conference of Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association (PCA/ACA), San Diego, 12-16 April 2017.

“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.



Summer Semester 2018:

Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Course:

"Fighting for Freedom"

Summer Semester 2016:

Disciplinary Undergraduate Course:

"Revolution Girl Style Now!" Gender and Punk in the US (1970s-2000s)


Winter Semester 2015/2016:

Disciplinary Undergraduate Course:
„Sound(s) of the City. Music in New York City since the 1970s“


Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft