Gerhard Fischer studied German and French Literature at the University of Bochum (Germany); he holds postgraduate degrees (MA and PhD) in Comparative Literature from the State University of New York (Binghamton, NY). He is a literary scholar and an historian, with research interests in 20th century European literature and drama/theatre, World War I, and 19th century Australian migration history and multiculturalism.
Fischer has written four books (on the plays about the Paris Commune of 1871; on the ‘homefront war’ in Australia during World War I, and two volumes on the GRIPS Theatre of Berlin, including GRIPS: Geschichte eines populären Theaters, 1966–2000; Munich 2002), as well as over ninety essays/chapters in peer-refereed journals and scholarly collections. He is the editor and main contributor of The Mudrooroo/Müller Project: A Theatrical Casebook (shortlisted for the 1993 New South Wales State Literary Award for Multicultural Literature). As Convenor of the Sydney German Studies Symposia, he has edited or co-edited nine volumes of scholarly essays (on Walter Benjamin, Erich Kästner, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Heiner Müller, ‘multicultural identities’, ‘the play within the play’, and on German literature since unification (Schreiben nach der Wende. Ein Jahrzehnt deutscher Litewratur, 1989–1999; Tübingen 2001; second edition 2008). The latest book in this series is W.G. Sebald: Schreiben ex patria/Expatriate Writing; Amsterdam/New York 2009); a volume entitled Collective Creativity: Collaborative Work in Literature, the Sciences and the Arts is due to appear in 2010.
Fischer currently supervises three PhD projects by students who happen to work on the most important German language writers/dramatists of the 20th century, i.e. Bertolt Brecht, Ödön von Horvath and Heiner Müller. Supervision of recently completed PhD projects include theses on Hans Magnus Enzensberger, on “Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer and Alexander Kluge”, and on Egon Erwin Kisch.
Fischer is a recipient of the Australian Government’s Federation Medal (2001) and a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.