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

Follow me on Twitter: Natalie Rauscher

LinkedIn: Natalie Rauscher


Maren Schäfer, M.A.

Maren Schäfer 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

Follow me on Twitter: Maren Schäfer

LinkedIn: Maren Schäfer


Aline Schmidt, M.A.

Aline is a former collegiate of the research training group Authority and Trust (GKAT) at the HCA. A linguist by training, she is interested in the interdisciplinary research of critical and corpus assisted discourse studies. Aline has done research on the the linguistic dimensions of charismatic authority and the role of linguistic authenticity in US presidential discourse. She is interested in the language of affective politics and hate speech, forensic linguistics, and urban linguistics. Aline 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 and teaches as a research associate at the HCA. He joined the editorial team in January 2021.

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

Follow me on Twitter: @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 acultural 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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