Carolin Emcke

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Carolin Emcke
Carolin Emcke-2.jpg
Emcke at the Leipzig Book Fair in 2012
Born (1967-08-18) 18 August 1967 (age 55)
  • Journalist
  • Author

Carolin Emcke (born 18 August 1967) is a German author and journalist who worked for Der Spiegel from 1998 to 2006, often writing from areas of conflicts. From 2007 to 2014, she worked as an international reporter for DIE ZEIT. Her book Echoes of Violence – Letters from a War Reporter was published in 2007 at Princeton University Press. In 2008, she published Stumme Gewalt ("Mute force"), in 2013 How We Desire (German: Wie wir begehren), in 2016 Against Hate (German: Gegen den Hass), and in 2019 Yes means yes and... (Ja heißt ja und...). Carolin Emcke was honoured with several awards such as the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels in 2016, and a Verdienstorden der Bundesrepublik Deutschland ("Federal Cross of Merit") in 2017.

Early life and education[edit]

Carolin Emcke was born in Mülheim an der Ruhr, North Rhine-Westphalia, the daughter of an Argentinian mother and a German father. She received her Abitur in 1986.[1] She studied philosophy, political science, and history in Frankfurt am Main, at the London School of Economics, and at Harvard University.


Emcke received her Ph.D. at Frankfurt under the supervision of Axel Honneth with a thesis on collective identities. From 1998 to 2006 she worked for Der Spiegel, often reporting from conflict areas such as Afghanistan, Colombia, Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan.[2] In 2003/04 she was a lecturer in Political Theory at Yale University. From 2007 to 2014 she was a writer and international reporter for DIE ZEIT (incl. in Israel, West Bank, Pakistan, Egypt, Iraq, Haiti, USA).

Flyer for Streitraum, a discussion with Heinz Bude [de], Bernhard Pörksen, and Sonja Zekri on Mistrust and Publicity

Since 2004 Emcke has moderated a monthly discussion series titled Streitraum at the Schaubühne theatre in Berlin.[3][4] In 2006 and 2007 she worked as an advisor to the Hamburg Media School. Since 2014, she has been working as a freelance-writer and columnist for Süddeutsche Zeitung and El Pais. She has served on the jury of the Bavarian Book Prize.[5]

Emcke has held seminars and lectures on topics such as globalisation, theories of violence, and cultural identity. In 2008 she published Stumme Gewalt: Nachdenken über die RAF ("Mute force: reflections on the Red Army Faction"),[6][7][8] a memorial to her godfather, Alfred Herrhausen, who was murdered by the Red Army Faction on 30 November 1989. The work is aimed at encouraging dialogue between groups in societies, without violence, revenge, and disrespect. Emcke received the Theodor Wolff Prize for the book.

In her 2013 book, How We Desire, Emcke writes about a homosexual coming of age in the 1980s.[9] In January 2014, she conducted an interview with German football player Thomas Hitzlsperger about his coming out for Die Zeit.[10]

In her essay Against Hate (2016), Carolin Emcke speaks out on racism, fanaticism, and anti-Democratic forces. The book was published in various languages. In her book Yes means yes, and... (2019) she explores, in the wake of #MeToo, how we should think and talk about desire and power, exploitation and racism.

Emcke gave the opening speech at the 2016 Ruhrtriennale, on the topic of translation.[2] She was awarded the Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels on 23 October 2016 at the Paulskirche, with a laudation by Seyla Benhabib.[11][8]

After International Women's Day in 2019, The Guardian featured her together with three other feminists.[12]

Other activities[edit]


Emcke in 2010

Selected works[edit]

  • Kollektive Identitäten: Sozialphilosophische Grundlagen. Campus, Frankfurt am Main / New York, NY 2000, ISBN 3-593-36484-0 (Dissertation Universität Frankfurt 1998, 360 Seiten); 2nd ed. 2010, ISBN 978-3-593-39222-6.
  • Von den Kriegen: Briefe an Freunde [From the Wars: Letters to Friends] (in German), Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2004, ISBN 3-10-017013-X (The original letters were translated from English by Sebastian Vogel and revised for printing by the author.)
  • Echoes of Violence: Letters from a War Reporter, Princeton / Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-691-12903-7
  • Stumme Gewalt: Nachdenken über die RAF. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-10-017017-0 (with contributions by Winfried Hassemer and Wolfgang Kraushaar).
  • How We Desire. Trans. Imogen Taylor. Text, Melbourne 2018. (Original: Wie wir begehren. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2012, ISBN 978-3-10-017018-7.)
  • Weil es sagbar ist: Über Zeugenschaft und Gerechtigkeit. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2013, ISBN 978-3-10-017019-4.
  • Against Hate. Trans. Tony Crawford. Polity, Cambridge 2019. (Original: Gegen den Hass. Essay. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2016, ISBN 978-3-10-397231-3.[24])
  • Ja heißt ja und ... ein Monolog (in German). Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer. 2019. ISBN 978-3-10-397462-1. OCLC 1078158754.
  • Journal: Tagebuch in Zeiten der Pandemie (in German). Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer. 2021. ISBN 978-3-10-397094-4. OCLC 1202079649.


  1. ^ Carolin Emcke. Internationales Biographisches Archiv (in German). Munzinger-Archiv. 18 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b "On Translation". Ruhrtriennale. Retrieved 5 November 2016.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Streitraum Aktuell" (in German). Schaubühne. Archived from the original on 11 July 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  4. ^ "streitraum's Videos on Vimeo" (in German). Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Carolin Emcke" (in German). Bayerischer Buchpreis 2016. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  6. ^ Emcke, Carolin (6 September 2007). "Stumme Gewalt". Die Zeit (in German). Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Interview: "Ich möchte, dass die Täter sprechen."". Die Zeit (in German). 14 May 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  8. ^ a b "The German writer Carolin Emcke receives the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade for her commitment to social dialogue". 20 October 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  9. ^ ""Wie wir begehren" – Carolin Emcke über homosexuelles Leben in Deutschland". Die Zeit (in German). 28 November 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  10. ^ Ulrich, Bernd (28 November 2013). "Homosexualität im Fußball – Thomas Hitzlsperger: Aus dem Abseits". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  11. ^ a b "Carolin Emcke erhält den Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels 2016" (in German). Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  12. ^ The Guardian (March 10, 2019). What people get wrong about feminism on YouTube.
  13. ^ Board of Trustees Ernst Reuter Foundation for Advanced Study.
  14. ^ Senate, as on 7 February 2019[permanent dead link] Leibniz Association.
  15. ^ Dr. Carolin Emcke wird Mitglied im Kuratorium der Stiftung Gerda Henkel Foundation, press release of 18 April 2018.
  16. ^ General Assembly Heinrich Böll Foundation.
  17. ^ "Preisbücher" (in German). Friedrich Ebert Foundation. 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  18. ^ "Ernst-Bloch-Preis 2006 (pdf)" (in German). Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  19. ^ "Theodor-Wolff-Preis 2008, prämiierter Text, Bewertung der Jury und Vita" (in German). Archived from the original on 19 September 2011.
  20. ^ "Islamgegner: Liberaler Rassismus". Die Zeit (in German). 25 February 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  21. ^ Milz, Annette (21 December 2010). "Die Journalisten des Jahres 2010" (in German). Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  22. ^ "Dokumentation des Merck-Preises für Carolin Emcke" (in German). Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung.
  23. ^ "Lessing-Preis 2015 geht an Reporterin Carolin Emcke" (in German). Deutschlandradio Kultur. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Wenn ihr uns stecht, bluten wir nicht". FAZ (in German). 14 October 2016. p. 10.

External links[edit]