Professor Beals' research focuses on experimental movements in 20th-century and contemporary German poetry, including Dada, Concrete poetry, and digital poetry or Netzliteratur.
Beals focuses on the ways that these movements incorporate, respond to, and reflect on contemporaneous developments in media technologies and information theory. He has written articles on authors including George Grosz, Paul Celan, and Regina Ullmann, and on the filmmaker Hans Richter. He is also co-editor of the volume Hans Richters Rhythmus 21: Schlüsselfilm der Moderne. In addition, Beals has translated a wide range of works from German into English, including a volume of poetry by the contemporary German poet Anja Utler, and a collection of stories by the Swiss author Regina Ullmann, which is forthcoming.
Beals earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy from Oberlin College, with a minor in German. He earned his master's degree and doctorate in German from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation research was supported by grants from the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) and the ACLS (American Council of Learned Societies). Beals teaches general courses on German language and culture, as well as courses focused more specifically on experimental literature.