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Barbara Mittler Edit Profile

sinologist , university professor

Barbara Mittler, German language educator. Recipient Heinz-Maier-Leibnitz Preis award, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung & Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, 2000, Heisenberg-Stipendium award, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, 2002-2004, Moe prize, American Philosophical Society, 2009.


Mittler, Barbara was born on February 15, 1968 in Hagen, Westfalen, Germany. Daughter of Elmar Jakob Nikolaus and Uta Maria Mittler.


Mittler studied sinology, musicology and Japanese studies in Oxford , Heidelberg, and Taipei (Taiwan).


She is Co-director of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context". After her dissertation in 1994, Mittler worked as an Assistant Professor at Heidelberg University, where she was habilitated in 1998. She continued as an Associate Professor.

In 2004, she became Full Professor at the Institute of Chinese Studies, which she managed as Director until autumn 2012. At the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, Mittler became speaker of the research area “Public Spheres” in 2007. Since November 2012, she is the Cluster’s Co-Director.

In 2000, Mittler was awarded the Heinz-Maier-Leibnitz-Prize of the German Foundation and the Federal Ministry of Education and for her outstanding research. Between 2002-2004, she held the prestigious Heisenberg Fellowship awarded by the German Foundation. Art and Culture in Revolutionary China.

In this paper, Mittler addresses the question why the items of propaganda of Mao Zedong's time, a tragic period of suffering, are now popular in China, and why Mao has become a mythical figure. Mittler’s former desire to become a practicing musician (she plays the piano and the violin) led her to explore Chinese avant-garde music and fueled her passion for Chinese culture. Her research focuses on a wide range of topics such as Chinese music, Taiwanese literary and cultural history, encyclopedias and comics, Chinese women’s magazines, visuality and historiography, satire and national heroes.


  • In 2009, Mittler received the Henry Allen Moe Prize of the American Philosophical Society for her paper Popular Propaganda?.


Selection committee member Rhodes Fund, Studienstiftung, German Academic Exchange Service, Munich, Bonn, Germany, since 2000. Director United World Colleges Network, Frankfurt, Germany, 1990—1992.


Married Thomas Adam Schmitz, August 25, 1995. Children: Thomas Adrian, Carl Benjamin.

Elmar Jakob Nikolaus

Uta Maria Mittler

Thomas Adam Schmitz

Carl Benjamin Mittler

Thomas Adrian Mittler