Professor Vanchena joined the department in 2008 as Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures. Her monograph, Political Poetry in Periodicals and the Shaping of German National Consciousness in the Nineteenth Century (2000), demonstrates that between 1840 and 1871 German periodicals regularly featured poems as part of the public debate over contemporary political developments. In 2006 she published Anton in America: A Novel from German-American Life, the first English translation and scholarly edition of a work written in 1862 by the witty intellectual revolutionary, historian, and journalist Reinhold Solger. She has also published articles on nineteenth-century German and German-American literature.
She is currently working on a book-length study of Solger as an agent of German-American cultural transfer in the 1850s and 1860s. Her research interests include the reception and transformation in nineteenth-century America of German cultural materials, immigrant identity formation, German nationalism and national identity, and nineteenth-century political drama and poetry. Her teaching interests include nineteenth-century German and German-American literature and culture. Professor Vanchena has received grants from the American Philosophical Society, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation (Berlin). In addition to participating regularly in national and international conferences, she serves as an Editor of the H-Net list for Transnational German Studies (H-TGS).