headshot photo of Dr. Karen Gallagher

Dr. Karen Gallagher

Assistant Professor, Instructional Faculty
Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Department of World Languages and Cultures
Office Hours: MW 2:30-4:30
American University, Bachelor of Arts
University of Maryland College Park, Master of Arts
University of California, Irvine, Ph.D.


Dr. Gallagher is a scholar of German and the Humanities with extensive international teaching experience and expertise in organizing cultural events. She received her Ph.D. in German from the University of California, Irvine. Her dissertation was on the life of the Austro-Hungarian writer Marie Herzfeld (1855-1940), based in part on research she carried out in Vienna, Austria, as a Fulbright scholar. Dr. Gallagher received a second Fulbright grant to teach in the Austrian school system, and later worked at the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

In 2014, the Fulbright Commission in Berlin and the German Academic Exchange Service in Bonn selected her to participate in a summer seminar at the InterDaf/Herder Institute at the University of Leipzig. Her most recent experience there gave Dr. Gallagher an up-to-date view of contemporary Germany that she can impart to her German students. Since 2013, she has also frequently co-led a group of students to Munich, Germany, for three weeks. She finds this trip particularly rewarding because it allows her students to experience German language and culture first hand. On the most recent trip in 2018, students documented their travels in a video diary. (link forthcoming)  

Her current academic research interests include 19th and 20th century German literature and postwar Germany as well as Cold War-era films and culture. Her teaching experience includes beginning and intermediate German language classes, Business German, Business Communication, English as a Second Language, and Freshman Foundation courses on European literature, history, philosophy, and film. She has also conducted independent studies as diverse as the life and work of the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler and the author Herman Hesse. A poster project on German fairy tales that her independent study students created in the spring of 2014 was featured in the Orange County Register.

Dr. Gallagher organized Chapman’s component of the nationwide "Freedom Without Walls" campaign commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with the support of the German Embassy and German Consulate General in Los Angeles. She also led an event titled "Berlin 1948: The Candy Bomber, the Baseball Sergeant and the Airlift that Saved a City" with Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen and Sergeant Major Earl E. Albers, sponsored by the German Consulate General in Los Angeles. These events received national and international media attention, including coverage in The Washington Post, Berliner Morgenpost, the Berliner Tagesspiegel, and Orange County Register. In the spring of 2013, Dr. Gallagher played a significant role in the successful nomination of Gail S. Halvorsen for an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters at Chapman.

In the fall of 2016, she invited Sibylle Tiedemann, the German director of various award-winning documentaries, to come to Chapman and the Center for Tolerance Education in Rancho Mirage to present two separate screenings of her film Kinderland ist Abgebrannt (The Land of Children Has Burnt Down). The event at Chapman’s Wallace All Faiths Chapel Fish Interfaith Center drew over 160 attendees. In the spring of 2017, she invited presidential fellow and honorary doctoral recipient in Humane Letters, Pico Iyer, the renowned author, to speak to her German classes about the many benefits of cultural exchange. Prof. Gallagher’s events are consistently designed to put the global citizenship component of our school’s mission statement in the forefront of her classroom.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications:

Karen Gallagher, "Leipzig Resurrected," News: Our Fulbrighters, Fulbright Kommission, Berlin, 11 June 2017. Read More...

Karen Gallagher, "Marie Herzfeld: Biographie," Ariadne Frauendokumentation, Frauen in Bewegung: 1848-1938, Österreichische     Nationalbibliothek (Austrian National Library), July 2017. Read More...

Karen Gallagher, “Leipzig Resurrected: The Past in the Present,” Wilkinson College Blog, 2 September 2016. Read More...

Karen Gallagher, Douglas Dechow, and Anna Leahy, “Freedom Without Walls: One Model for Interdisciplinarity on Campus,” Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, vol. 44, no. 2, 134-145.

Karen Gallagher, "From a Wall to a Bridge," in the 'Chapman Inbox' section of Chapman Magazine, Spring 2010.

Karen Gallagher and Herbert Lehnert, eds. “Elf Briefe Rilkes an Marie       Herzfeld: Mit einem Brief Stefan Zweigs an Marie Herzfeld” [“Eleven Letters from Rainer Maria Rilke to Marie Herzfeld with a Letter from Stefan Zweig to Marie Herzfeld“] Blätter der Rilke-Gesellschaft, ed. Rudi Schweikert, vol. 26, Insel Verlag, 2005, 203-229.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Karen Gallagher, Douglas Dechow, and Anna Leahy. “Freedom Without Walls: One Model for Interdisciplinarity on Campus,” Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, Volume 44 Number 2, 134-145.
"From a Wall to a Bridge," in the 'Chapman Inbox' section of _Chapman Magazine_, Spring issue, 2010.