Kirsten M. Christensen

Professor of German

Kirsten M. Christensen


Office Location:Hauge Administration Building - Room 222-C

  • Professional
  • Biography
  • Video


  • Ph.D., Germanic Studies, emphasis on Medieval and Early Modern Literature and Culture, University of Texas, Austin, 1998
  • M.A., Language Acquisition, German emphasis, Brigham Young University, 1991
  • B.A., German, Minor emphases in French and Business, Arizona State University, 1984

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Research specialties: medieval German literature, esp. mystical literature by women and women's religious communities in Germany and the Low Countries
  • Teaching specialties: all areas of German language, literature and culture, esp. Middle Ages and 16th century; East German and post-unification literature and film; German Women Writers and Directors; refugees and literature; Afro-German literature and film; the Holocaust and modern genocides, esp. Rwanda


  • Faculty Excellence Award in Mentoring 2015-2016, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Karen Hille Phillips Regency Advancement Award Recipient 2015-2016, Pacific Lutheran University


Kirsten M. Christensen earned her Ph.D. in Germanic Studies, with an emphasis on medieval and early modern literature and culture, from the University of Texas at Austin in 1998. Her research has focused on writings by medieval women mystics. In particular, she explores the often fraught relationships between women mystics and their male contemporaries to understand the ways gender relations impacted women’s theologies and religious communities. She has also written on labor issues in higher education.

Professor Christensen’s teaching interests include not only medieval and early modern German literature, but also East German and post-Unification literature and film, German women writers and directors, refugees and literature, and Afro-German literature and film. Before coming to PLU in 2004, she taught at Mount Holyoke College and the University of Notre Dame. She is delighted to be part of PLU’s German program, which allows close collaboration between students and faculty, including opportunities to introduce students to Berlin and other German cities during J-term.

Prof. Christensen also regularly teaches in PLU’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies program, including a study away course in Rwanda that she developed and co-led in 2018 and will lead again in J-term 2022.

Link here (and scroll down) for Resolute magazine article on PLU Faculty Excellence Award in Mentoring.

Language and Culture in the New Germany

PLU Prof Kirsten Christensen talks about the Berlin Wall