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World Languages & Cultures | Rectanus, Mark
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Mark W. Rectanus is University Professor of German Studies in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Iowa State University. He received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and and completed his dissertation on paperback series in Germany (Literary Series in the Federal Republic of Germany from 1960 to 1980) as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Munich. Professor Rectanus has been a visiting professor at The Ohio State University and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Munich. Professor Rectanus was Chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures from 2008 to 2013.

His research interests include the German publishing industry, the book and electronic media, contemporary German literature, corporate sponsorships, cultural politics, museums, and contemporary conceptual art. Much of his research addresses the globalization of culture, including his book Culture Incorporated: Museums, Artists, and Corporate Sponsorships (University of Minnesota Press), and the impact of globalization on contemporary museums.  Prof. Rectanus is currently working on several projects dealing with museums, mobility, and visual culture in urban spaces.

In addition to his research Professor Rectanus instructs courses on “German Film and Media Studies”, “German for Business and Professions”, “Germany Today” and “Technology,  Globalization, and Culture” (co-taught with James Oliver). He is the founding Director of the Languages and Cultures for Professions program at Iowa State University and continues to co-direct the program with Professor Chad Gasta.

Some Recent Publications


  • Über Gegenwartsliteratur. Interpretationen und Interventionen (About Contemporary Literature. Interpretations and Interventions). (Ed.) Bielefeld: Aisthesis Verlag, 2008.
  • Culture Incorporated: Museums, Artists, and Corporate Sponsorships. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Sponsorship.” Oxford-Grove Dictionary of Art (Grove-Art Online). (forthcoming 2017).
  • “Artists, Debt, and Global Activism.” Finance and Society (special issue on The Ethics of Debt. Eds. William Carter and Kate Padgett-Walsh) 2.1 (2016). 2-24.
  • “Transactivism, the Translocal, Art and Performance.” Performance Research (special issue On Trans/Performance. Ed. Amelia Jones) 21.5 (2016). 123-126, DOI: 10.1080/13528165.2016.1224343.
  • “Moving Out: Museums, Mobility, and Urban Spaces.” Museum Media. Ed. Michelle Henning. (The International Handbooks of Museum Studies, General Eds. Helen Rees Leahy and Sharon Macdonald). Malden and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. 527-552.
  • “Refracted Memory: Museums, Film, and Visual Culture in Urban Space.” Exhibiting the German Past: Museums, Film, Musealization. Eds. Peter McIsaac and Gabrielle Mueller. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015. 42-62.
  • “Architectures of Memory in Ulf Erdmann Ziegler’s Hamburger Hochbahn.” Die Ethik derLiteratur. Deutsche Autoren der Gegenwart. Eds. Paul Michael Lützeler and Jennifer Kapczynski. Göttingen: Wallstein,  2011.
  • “Performing Knowledge: Cultural Discourses, Knowledge Communities, and Youth Culture.” TELOS. 150 (Spring 2010).
  • “Globalization: Incorporating the Museum.”  Blackwell Companion to Museum Studies. Ed. Sharon J. Macdonald.  London: Blackwell 2006.
  • “Museums by Design,” Cultural Comment, The Center for Arts and Culture, Washington, D.C., June 2004.
  • “Mixing Culture With Commercialism” commentary on The Osgood File (CBS Radio Network) commentary and interview with Charles Osgood, broadcast 2 April 2003; rebroadcast on WCBS 880 News on 1 August 2003.
  • “Culture, Inc: Is it art or product placement?” interview and commentary for the ACFNewsource.
  • Guest Interview on “To The Best of Our Knowledge (TTBOOK)”, a nationally syndicated Public Radio program), “Capitalism Redux” broadcast September 15, 2002. Charles Monroe Kane (Producer).
  • Principal Investigator, U.S. Department of Education Title VI-A Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language (UISFL) Grant, 2010-13, World Languages and Cultures: Global Pathways for Educating Students in Biodiversity (with Chad Gasta and Steven Rodermel).
  • University Professor, Iowa State University, 2017.
  • State of Iowa Board of Regents Award for Faculty Excellence (2014)
  • Award for Distinguished International Service, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University (2007)
  • Master Teacher Award, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Iowa State University (2004-2005)
casual profile picture of Mark Rectanus


Office: 3118C Pearson Hall
Phone: (515) 294-4324
Email: mwr@iastate.edu