Carolin studied German Literature and History in Bavaria and Switzerland, and received her Ph.D. from Ruhr-University Bochum in 2011. Her interdisciplinary dissertation Genies im Reichstag (Hannover:Wehrhahn 2011) dealt with the – unforeseen – consequences of the arts in Weimar Germany (1918-1933), their impact on reality and on people’s opinion about politics. She analyzed the images of leadership among the pro-republican German middle class, and inquired into why this societal group succumbed to Hitler despite its longing for democracy and peace. A great deal of Hitler’s fascination can be traced back to aesthetic phenomena, the ,cult of genius’, or the love for the unruly, genuine artist.
From November 2010 to August 2012 she worked as a Postdoc Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, and conducted research into the unbelievable success of Germany’s greatest bestseller since WWII (Thilo Sarrazin’s ominous Deutschland schafft sich ab) and the dense intertwining of politics and aesthetics in today’s political culture.
Her current research project addresses the general influence that art has on its recipients. She is asking the rather normative question of whether or not art should be free – in the sense of being autonomous and free of extra-literary connections. The aesthetics of autonomy have shaped the German reception of literature since 1750 until at least the early 20th century. As Alfred Döblin put it sarcastically: "The artist is an idiot, let him say anything that he wants."
Carolin has received several government grants and scholarships from the Friedrich Ebert-Stiftung, the Max Planck-Society, and the German Academic Exchange Service.