Professor Beicken teaches 19th/20th century Austrian and German literature focusing on Fin de Siècle, Expressionism, the Weimar Republic, Exile, and Post-war literature and culture including GDR-Studies. Best known for his expertise and publications on Walter Benjamin, Ingeborg Bachmann and Franz Kafka, Beicken has placed additional emphasis on authors such as Aichinger, Bernhard, Celan, Fleisser, Fühmann, Kafka, Keun, Seghers and C. Wolf. His books include Kafka. Eine kritische Einführung in die Forschung (1974); 'Die Verwandlung'. A commentary (1983, revised 1998); Franz Kafka. Leben und Werk (1986, revised 1994). In film studies he has presented seminars on Literatur- und Filmanalyse, Verfilmung, Wenders und Handke, Kafka and Film, Gender and Space in Film, Opera in Film. Approaching literature and film from cultural, semiotic, and psychoanalytic perspectives, he pursues intermedial relations including concepts of the body (Körperbilder), gender studies, sexual identities.
Distinguished Scholars-Teacher in 2001-2002, Beicken also was a Center of Teaching Excellence Lilly-Fellow in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. He served as visiting professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (1987), Georgetown University (1989), Universität Giessen (1997), Universität Wuppertal (1997). From 2003-2008 Beicken directed College Park Scholars in the Arts, a living-learning community of undergraduate freshmen and sophomores. In 1984 he was awarded the Eduard-von-der-Heydt-Preis, Wuppertal 1984, for Kindheit in W. Gedichte und Prosa (1983) and in 1998 the Elisabeth Frazer de Bussy Prose-Prize, Editor, TRANS-LIT, Journal of the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German, SCALG (1998-2002) and president of SCALG (2003-2005).