Fritz Alwin Breithaupt earned his B.A. in Germanistik, art history, and law from the Universität Hamburg in 1991. He later continued his education at Johns Hopkins University where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D., both in German literature, in 1993 and 1997, respectively. Since joining the Indiana University (IU) faculty in 1996 as an assistant professor of Germanic studies, he has held numerous titles and appointments. He was promoted to associate professor in 2002 and full professor in 2010. In 2018, he was named a Provost Professor.
Prior to joining the IU faculty, Breithaupt held teaching positions at Universität Hamburg, Freie Universität Berlin, and St. Gallen Universität. At IU, he teaches both cognitive science and Germanic studies, and his research focuses on narrative thinking, empathy, and literary fiction since the 18th century. His fields of interest include literature and cognitive science; empathy; narrative; emotions; German and European literature, philosophy, and culture since 1700; aesthetics; intellectual history of money; and Goethe. At IU, Fritz is also the founding director of the Experimental Humanities Laboratory which studies narratives empirically.
Breithaupt’s contributions to academia span far beyond the traditional classroom setting. He is a frequent contributor to the press, including Die Zeit and Philosophie Magazin in Germany. At IU, he has served as chair of the Department of Germanic Studies, was the director of the West European Studies Institute, was a co-founder of an official EU-Center of Excellence, interim dean of the Hutton Honors College, and served as acting director of several other institutes, such as the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies. He frequently teaches for the Intensive Freshman Seminars at Indiana University. He has received many honors and distinctions for his work, including an Alexander-von-Humboldt Fellowship and was the first Distinguished Remak Scholar at Indiana University.