About the Editors


Dr. Natalie Rauscher

Natalie Rauscher completed her PhD at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) in 2020 with her dissertation The Discourse on the Future of Work in the United States under the influence of Automation and the Platform Economy. Her research interests include discourses on the future of work, the platform economy, social movements, social media, U.S. philanthropy and the impact of natural catastrophes in the U.S. She is working and teaching as a research associate at the HCA. She is a founding member of the HCA Graduate Blog.

Get in touch: nrauscher@hca.uni-heidelberg.de

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Maren Mariani, M.A.

Maren Mariani is working and teaching as a research associate at the University of Heidelberg’s Institute of Political Science. She joined the HCA PhD program in 2017 and is associated with the research training group Authority and Trust (GKAT). In her research project, Maren examines populist rhetoric in contemporary American political discourse, focusing on framing strategies and their influence on Americans’ increasing distrust and even dislike of authorities. Her research interests include populism, political communication, in particular political rhetoric and the language of persuasion, and American politics as a whole. Moreover, Maren is interested in the topics entrepreneurship and the future of learning. She is a founding member of the HCA Graduate Blog.

Get in touch: Maren.Schaefer@stud.uni-heidelberg.de

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Aline Schmidt, M.A.

Aline, a former collegiate of the research training group Authority and Trust (GKAT) at the HCA, brings a background in linguistics to her interdisciplinary pursuits. Her research spans critical and corpus-assisted discourse studies, with a keen focus on exploring the linguistic dimensions of charismatic authority and the significance of linguistic authenticity in US presidential discourse. Passionate about affective politics, hate speech, forensic linguistics, and urban linguistics, Aline is interested in understanding the intricate nuances of language in societal contexts. She is a founding member of the HCA Graduate Blog.

Aline’s LinkedIn

Nikolas Mariani, M.A.

Nikolas Mariani joined the HCA’s PhD program in 2019. His research project focuses on the phenomenon of alternative, and often digital-native, news media outlets on the left and right of the political spectrum, and seeks to explore the question of how audiences of such sources come to form a relationship of trust with them. Nikolas’ research interests include political communication, alternative and far-right news media, as well as digital and economic transformations in journalism. Nikolas works at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation. He joined the editorial team in January 2021.

Follow me on X: @Nik__Mariani


Andreas Balz, Staatsexamen (currently off duty)

Andreas Balz graduated from Heidelberg University with a Staatsexamen, the German degree required for teaching in advanced secondary education, in English Studies and Biology. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD at the HCA with a focus on contemporary U.S. autobiographical fiction. His research project aims at providing a new perspective on literary authorship, approaching it as a cultural concept defined through routinized practices that manifest themselves in writing as well as in other activities authors engage in on the literary field. He is a founding member of the HCA Graduate Blog.

Get in touch: balz@stud.uni-heidelberg.de

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