Jill Suzanne Smith

Osterweis Associate Professor of German, Chair of German Department

Teaching this semester

GSWS 1027/GER 1027. From Flowers of Evil to Pretty Woman: Prostitutes in Modern Western Culture

Explores the myriad ways that prostitutes have been represented in modern Western culture from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present. By analyzing literary texts, visual artworks, and films from Europe and the United States, examines prostitution as a complex urban phenomenon and a vehicle through which artists and writers grapple with issues of labor, morality, sexuality, and gender roles. Introduces students to a variety of literary, artistic, musical, and filmic genres, as well as to different disciplinary approaches to the study of prostitution. Authors, artists, and film directors may include Baudelaire, Toulouse-Lautrec, Kirchner, Wedekind, Pabst, Marshall, Scorsese, Spielmann, and Sting.

GER 1101. Elementary German I, A

German 1101 is the first course in German language and culture and is open to all students without prerequisite. Facilitates an understanding of culture through language. Introduces German history and cultural topics. Three hours per week. Acquisition of four skills: speaking and understanding, reading, and writing. One hour of conversation and practice with teaching assistant. Integrated Language Media Center work.

Jill Suzanne Smith is the John S. Osterweis Associate Professor of German at Bowdoin College in Maine. She is the author of the book Berlin Coquette: Prostitution and the New German Woman, 1890-1933 (Cornell University Press, 2013).

Her research and teaching focus on gender and sexuality, Jewish studies, and the city of Berlin from the Wilhelmine era to the present. She is currently working on two book-length studies: one on German-language courtroom dramas—particularly those representing war-crime tribunals—since World War Two and one on representations of Weimar Berlin in contemporary German and American popular culture

Research & Teaching Interests

  • German literature, intellectual history, and culture, 19th & 20th century
  • Gender & sexuality studies
  • German-Jewish Studies: German Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries, literary and artistic representations of the Holocaust
  • Fin-de-Siècle Berlin & Vienna
  • The Weimar Republic: popular fiction, art, and film
  • Language pedagogy, curriculum development, teaching with technology


  • Ph.D. Germanic Studies, Indiana University; Bloomington
  • Ph.D. Minor in Jewish Studies, Indiana University; Bloomington
  • M.A. , Germanic Studies, Indiana University; Bloomington
  • B.A., German, Amherst College

PDF Curriculum Vitae



Berlin Coquette: Prostitution and the New German Woman, 1890-1933. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.Berlin Coquette: Prostitution and the New German Woman, 1890-1933. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013.


“Sounds of Silence: Rape and Representation in Juli Zeh’s Bosnian Travelogue,” in: German Women’s Writing in the Twenty-First Century, Eds. Hester Baer and Alexandra Merley Hill (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2015) 175-196

“Reviving German-Jewish Comedy: Dani Levy’s Family Farce Go for Zucker! in: Modern Jewish Studies 13.2 (July 2014) 231-248

“Prostitutes in Weimar Berlin: Moving Beyond the Victim-Whore Dichotomy” in: Beyond Glitter and Doom: The Contingency of the Weimar Republic, Eds. Godela Weiss-Sussex, Jochen Hung, and Geoff Wilkes (Munich: iudicium, 2012) 135-147

 “Just How Naughty was Berlin? The Geography of Prostitution and Female Sexuality in Curt Moreck’s Erotic Travel Guide” in: Spatial Turns: Space, Place, and Mobility in German Literary and Visual Culture, Eds. Barbara Mennel & Jaimey Fischer (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2010) 53-77

Spatial Turns. Space, Place, and Mobility in German Literary and Visual Culture.   The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema Rediscovering Germany's Filmic Legacy Edited by Christian Rogowski

"Richard Oswald & the Social Hygiene Film: Promoting Public Health or Promiscuity?" in The Many Faces of Weimar German Cinema, Ed. Christian Rogowski (Rochester: Camden House, 2010) 13-30

“Working Girls: White-Collar Workers and Prostitutes in Late Weimar Fiction” in: The German Quarterly 81.4 (Fall 2008) 449-470

"A Female Old Shatterhand? Colonial Heroes and Heroines in Lydia Höpker's Tales of Southwest Africa" in: Women in German Yearbook 19 (December 2003) 141-158


Fritz Breithaupt, "Culture of Images: Limitation in Goethe's Wahlverwandtschaften" in: Monatshefte 92.3 (Fall 2000) 302-320

Book Reviews

Norman Domeier. The Eulenburg Affair: A Cultural History of Politics in the German Empire. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2015. Solicited by H-Net (in progress)

Lynne Tatlock. German Writing, American Reading: Women and the Import of Fiction, 1866-1917. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2012, Comparative Literature Studies 53.1 (2016) on-line review, e-1-4

Florian Krobb and Elaine Martin, eds. Weimar Colonialism: Discourses and Legacies of Post-Imperialism in Germany after 1918. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2014, Monatshefte 107.4 (Winter 2015) 694-696

Schneider, Daniel. Identität und Ordnung. Entwürfe des “Eigenen” und “Fremden” in deutschen Kolonial- und Afrikaromanen von 1889 bis 1952. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2011, in: German Quarterly 85.3 (Summer 2012) 365-366

Jeanette R. Malkin & Freddie Rokem, eds. Jews and the Making of Modern German Theatre. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2010, in: German Studies Review 34.3 (October 2011) 720-722

Stephanie Günther. Weiblichkeitsentwürfe des Fin de Siècle Berliner Autorinnen. Alice Berend, Margarete Böhme, Clara Viebig. Bonn: Bouvier, 2007, in: German Studies Review 33.1 (February 2010) 212

David A. Brenner. German-Jewish Popular Culture before the Holocaust. Kafka’s kitsch. London: Routledge, 2008, in:German Studies Review (October 2009) 661

Walter Frisch. German Modernism: Music and the Arts, Berkeley: U of CA Press, 2005, in: Studies in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature 33.1 (Winter 2009) 187-189

Christiane Schönfeld, Ed. Commodities of Desire: The Prostitute in Modern German Literature, Rochester: Camden House, 2000, in: Women in German Newsletter (Summer 2002) 12-14


Essay, “Die Kunst des Kokettierens,” in Jeanne Mammen: Paris—Bruxelles—Berlin (Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2016) 70-79

Research in Progress


“From the Balkans to Berlin: Migration, War Trauma, and the Gendering of Justice in Hans-Christian Schmid’s Storm”

Book Projects
German courtroom dramas in the aftermath of war & genocide and on representations of Weimar Berlin in contemporary German and American popular culture


Lectures & Conference Presentatons

John S. Osterweis Inaugural Lecture, “Flashbacks to Berlin: Representing Transgender Triumph and Trauma in Contemporary Visual Culture,” Bowdoin College Faculty Seminar Series (Brunswick, ME, March 2016)

Invited lecture, “Beyond the Femme Fatale: New Types of Prostitutes in Turn-of-the-Century and Weimar Berlin,” presented as part of the symposium on the “German Discovery of Sex,” Clark University (Worcester, MA, April 2015)

“The Art of Being Coquette,” presented at the International Symposium “Paris-Brüssel-Berlin: Französische Elemente in Jeanne Mammens Kunst” (Berlin, Germany, October 2014)

“The Tribunal on Trial: Europe and the Arbitration of War Crimes,” presented at the Telos in Europe Conference “The Idea of Europe” (L’Aquila, Italy, September 2014)

Invited Lecture, “Berlin’s Institute of Sexual Science in Exile: Ludwig Levy-Lenz in Cairo,” Dartmouth Humanities Institute, “Towards a Global History of Sexual Science, 1850-1950” (Hanover, NH, July 2013)

Critic, “Author-Meets-Critics” panel on Myra Marx Ferree’s book Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective, presented at the annual conference of the Eastern Sociological Society (ESS) (Boston, MA, March 2013)

“Sounds of Silence: Reading Gender in Juli Zeh’s Balkan Texts,” presented as part of the series “German Encounters with the Balkans” at the annual conference of the German Studies Association (GSA) (Milwaukee, WI, October 2012)

“Confronting the Balkans: Cross-National Romance and Courtroom Drama in Nicol Ljubić’s Novel Meeresstille,” presented at the Leeds-Swansea Colloquium “Constructing the Nation in Literature and Film” (Swansea, Wales, July 2012)

 Invited lecture, “Berlin Coquette: Prostitution, New Womanhood, and Desire in the German Capital, 1890-1933,” Colby College (Waterville, ME, March 2012)

 Crisafulli Family Lecture, “Courtroom Drama, Cross-National Romance, and European Crisis in Contemporary German Literature and Film,” Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C., March 2012)

Silver Girls: Sexuality, Prostitution, and Aging in Contemporary German Film,” presented at the annual conference of Women in German (WiG) (Augusta, MI, October 2011)


Selected Fellowships & Awards

  • Course Development Award for "Making Sex a Science: Sexology and its Culture Representations from Krafft-Ebing to Kinsey," Bowdoin College, February 2016
  • Nominee, 2016 European Studies Book Award, Council for European Studies (for Berlin Coquette)
  • John S. Osterweis Associate Professorship (Endowded Chair, Annual Research Stipend), Jul 2015-2020
  • German Embassy Grant for prroposed "German weeks" projects (2015;2012;2011)
  • Faculty Leave Supplement, Faculty Development Committee, Bowdoin College, November 2013 (for fall 2014)
  • Research Award (for 2 weeks of summer research in Berlin, Germany), Faculty Development Committee, Bowdoin College, May 2013
  • Research Award (for 1 week of summer research in Berlin, Germany), Faculty Development Committee, Bowdoin College, May 2012
  • Fletcher Family Research Award, Bowdoin College, February 2011
  • Sydney B. Karofsky Prize for Junior Faculty, Bowdoin College, May 2010
  • Fulbright Junior Research Grant, Berlin, Germany, 2009-2010
  • Bowdoin Faculty Research Fellowship, 2009-2012
  • Course Development Award for “Berlin: Sin City, Divided City, City of the Future,” Bowdoin College, February 2008
  • Alternate, Dr. Richard M. Hunt Fellowship for the Study of German Politics, Society, and Culture, September 2007
  • Women in German Dissertation Prize 2004, October 2005
  • DAAD Faculty Summer Seminar Fellowship, Seminar topic: “Beyond the National? Interdisciplinary German Studies & the Global,” Cornell University, June-July 2005
  • Grant for Archival Research in Berlin, Germany, Humanities Development Fund, Union College, Summer 2004
  • Graduate Certificate Program in Technology and Language Instruction (funded by a Mellon Grant), National Institute of Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE), Center for Educational Technology, Middlebury College, June 2004
  • IU/Berlin Exchange Fellowship, Indiana University, Bloomington and Freie Universität, Berlin, 2001-2002
  • Elmer O. Wooley Award for Excellence in Graduate Study and Teaching, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2000
  • Chancellor’s Fellowship, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1997
  • Fulbright Teaching Assistantship, Kamenz, Germany, 1994-1995