Unraveling the Depths: Dr. Gesa Mackenthun's Pioneering Work in American Studies (2023)


In the dynamic realm of American Studies, Dr. Gesa Mackenthun stands as a luminary, shaping the discourse with her seminal publications that delve into the intricate tapestry of colonial and transcultural constructions of the American deep past. As we navigate through her extensive body of work, we uncover profound insights into the Black Atlantic, metaphors of dispossession, and the intersections of indigenous knowledge and deep time.

Pioneering Publications

Embattled Excavations: Colonial and Transcultural Constructs (2021)

Dr. Mackenthun's latest publication, Embattled Excavations, takes readers on a compelling journey through the colonial and transcultural dimensions of the American deep past. This magnum opus challenges existing narratives, offering fresh perspectives on historical excavations and their impact on our understanding of America's complex heritage.

Fictions of the Black Atlantic (2004)

In Fictions of the Black Atlantic, Dr. Mackenthun skillfully dissects foundational literature, unraveling narratives that traverse the Black Atlantic. This work remains a cornerstone in understanding the cultural implications and literary representations of this crucial historical juncture.

Metaphors of Dispossession (1997)

Metaphors of Dispossession serves as a pivotal exploration of American beginnings and the translation of empire from 1492 to 1637. Dr. Mackenthun's meticulous analysis traces the nuanced evolution of cultural landscapes, providing invaluable insights into the roots of dispossession.

Collaborative Endeavors

Decolonizing “Prehistory” (2021)

In collaboration with Christen Mucher, Dr. Mackenthun co-edited Decolonizing “Prehistory,” a groundbreaking compilation exploring deep time and indigenous knowledges in North America. This collaborative effort challenges conventional perspectives, fostering a more inclusive understanding of prehistory.

Decolonial Heritage (2018)

Decolonial Heritage (2018) stands as a testament to Dr. Mackenthun's commitment to unveiling asymmetries of memory. Co-edited with Aníbal Arregui and Stephanie Wodianka, this volume scrutinizes the intersections of nature, culture, and the intricate webs of heritage in decolonial contexts.

Navigating Transcultural Spaces

Travel, Agency, and the Circulation of Knowledge (2017)

In Travel, Agency, and the Circulation of Knowledge, Dr. Mackenthun, alongside Andrea Nicolas and Stephanie Wodianka, explores the symbiotic relationship between travel and knowledge circulation. This publication serves as a compass, guiding readers through the intricate web of cultural exchanges.

Fugitive Knowledge (2015)

Fugitive Knowledge (2015) delves into the preservation and loss of knowledge in cultural contact zones. In collaboration with Andreas Beer, Dr. Mackenthun dissects the nuances of knowledge transmission, shedding light on the fragility and resilience of cultural insights.


Dr. Gesa Mackenthun's contributions to American Studies transcend traditional boundaries, offering a nuanced understanding of colonial legacies, indigenous knowledge, and the intricate intersections of cultural encounters. As we embark on a journey through her publications, we are not merely exploring historical landscapes; we are navigating the evolving tapestry of America's cultural consciousness. Dr. Mackenthun's work stands as a beacon, illuminating the path towards a more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of America's multifaceted past.


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