Archive by Author

May Day Lecture by Jürgen Habermas

HabermasThe theorist of communicative rationality and the public sphere, and heir to the project of the Frankfurt School Critical Theory, Jürgen Habermas (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University, Frankfurt/M.) will give a lecture on International Worker’s Day entitled “The Transnationalization of Democracy: A European Experiment.” The lecture, which will take place on Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. in McCosh 50 is sponsored by the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society and co-sponsored by the European Union Program; the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and the University Center for Human Values. It will be streamed live at

Paul Fleming (Cornell) to lecture on Exemplum & Anecdote

The final lecture in the Spring Term 2014 Departmental Lecture Series will be given by Prof. Paul Fleming Prof. of German and Comparative Literature, and the Director of the Institute for German Cultural Studies at Cornell University. The lecture is part of Prof. Fleming’s current research project, tentatively titled “The Perfect Story,” which examines the philosophical use of the anecdote with respect to questions of exemplarity, evidence, and contingency. Fleming describes the stakes of his talk as follows: “In Futures Past, Reinhart Koselleck famously argues that only in the eighteenth century does the collective singular, die Geschichte, emerge to replace the older plural form, Geschichten, the reservoir of exempla by which history served as a ‘teacher of life.’ The demise of exempla, however, also gave rise to the anecdote as a genre uniquely poised at the nexus of the historical and the literary. While equally no longer a ‘teacher of life,’ the anecdote repeatedly challenges the integration of event into a larger context that makes modern universal history possible. This paper investigates the tense relation between the exemplum’s successors, history and anecdote, around 1800, particularly in the work of Heinrich von Kleist.”


Spring Open House on April 2nd for Potential Undergrad German Majors

Are you a Princeton freshman or sophomore who might be interested in becoming part of the German Department community? Would you like to learn more about the various paths to the German major and/or certificate? Perhaps you were wondering what people who major in German do after graduating (hint: everything from law, medical and graduate school to jobs in finance, journalism, and education)? Come meet faculty and current undergraduate majors for lively discussion and tasty snacks at our annual Spring Open House! We will gather on Wednesday, April 2nd, at 4:30, in East Pyne 207, to talk informally about what makes the German Department such a special and fun place–and about why being a German Major might just be the best way to take advantage of everything that Princeton has to offer. Feel free to bring your pals and to just stop by briefly. We look forward to meeting you.

Spring Open House Flyer Spring 2014

Spring 2014 Graduate Student Symposium

The German Department’s Spring 2014 Symposium featuring the work of three graduate students will take place from 2-5:30pm on the afternoon of Friday, March 7th in the Rocky-Mathey Theater, Rockefeller College. This semester’s symposium will feature presentations by Paul Babinski (“Presentations of Gebärdensprache in Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre“), Andrew Dechet (“The Work that Work Does: Arbeit in Rilke’s 1903 Rodin Monograph”) and Anat Benzvi (“Benjamin’s One Hundred Favorite Rascals: The Flâneur, the Hero, and Baudelaire”). There will be a brief response given by a faculty member to each paper, followed by animated discussion.

The biannual event, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception in East Pyne.


Tübingen Medievalist to lecture on Heinrich von Morungen

The Department of German is pleased to co-sponsor the visit of Dr. Christiane Ackermann, currently a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University, who will be delivering a talk on “Self-Reflections in the work of Heinrich von Morungen” as part of the Medieval Studies Lecture Series, “Names, Dates, and Signatures.” Heinrich is one of the most well known authors of medieval German courtly love lyric (Minnesang), poems that typically focused on the poet’s frustrated love for a distant lofty lady. As the attention given this ostensibly external object often masks a narcissistic positioning of the lyric subject, Dr. Ackermann will be exploring different forms of subjective mirroring in Heinrich’s poems as well as the particular signifying function of the gaze in this context. Dr. Ackermann, whose scholarship is informed by a sustained engagement with literary theory (especially psychoanalysis), is the author of Im Spannungsfeld von Ich und Körper: Subjektivität im ‘Parzival’ Wolframs von Eschenbach und im ‘Frauendienst’ Ulrichs von Liechtenstein (Köln/Weimar/Wien: Böhlau, 2009). Dr. Ackermann will also lead a lunchtime seminar/discussion on the often contested relationship between so-called “modern” theory and medieval literature which will take place at noon on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 in 207 East Pyne; lunch will be served. Please contact Yolanda Sullivan to register for the Wednesday seminar.


Literary & Media Theorist Binczek coming to Princeton in April as Visiting Researcher

BinczekNatalie Binczek, Professor of Neugermanistik, insbesondere Theorie und Geschichte literarischer Kommunikation und ihrer Medien at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, will join the Department for a four-month research stay starting in early April, 2014. During her sojourn as a Visiting Professional Research Associate she will be working on her current project about the academic and poetic lecture as an important facet of acoustic literature. Binczek understands the lecture as a text that encompasses not only the script but also its oral performance as well as the transcripts or records made by the audience. This multiplicity of different operations must be analyzed as an interdependent complex combining different media such as writing, observing and speaking. The readings of the Gruppe 47 constitute an important case of this genre: on the one hand they continue the tradition of the poetic or literary reading. On the other hand they are also oriented toward the seminar and its specific forms of discussion. Binczek’s research will focus on the interaction between these two traditions or modes of communication – the literary reading and the seminar – and develop arguments about the academic lecture in relation to the literary lecture/reading through an analysis of the Princeton Gruppe 47 tapes.

Binczek, professor at the Ruhr-University Bochum since 2010, has also taught at the Universities of Siegen, Würzburg and Duisburg-Essen, as well as being a research fellow at the Franckesche Stiftungen in Halle/Saale. Her research interests lie especially in literary- and media-theory as well as in media history. Her current research is focused on the acoustic dimension of literature and the question of how to describe and analyze its specific textuality. Since 2012 she has been the co-editor of the journal Sprache und Literatur. Her books include Im Medium der Schrift. Zum dekonstruktiven Anteil in der Systemtheorie Niklas Luhmanns (München: Fink 2000) and Kontakt: Der Tastsinn in Texten der Aufklärung (Tübingen: Niemeyer 2007). Her most recent publications are: Handbuch Medien der Literatur, co-edited with Till Dembeck and Jörgen Schäfer (Berlin/Boston: de Gruyter 2013); Dank sagen. Politik, Semantik und Poetik der Verbindlichkeit, coedited with Remigius Bunia, Till Dembeck and Alexander Zons (München: Fink 2013); Das Hörbuch. Praktiken audioliteralen Schreibens und Verstehens, co-edited with Cornelia Epping-Jäger (München: Fink 2014).

Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis: A Bug’s Life

On the occasion of the publication of the Modern Library Classics edition of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, translated, edited, and introduced by Stanley Corngold, Professor Corngold will be joined by Michael Jennings to discuss the work and some of its renowned readers, including Philip Roth, W. H Auden, and Walter Benjamin, who are also featured with essays in the new volume.

This Modern Library edition collects Stanley Corngold’s acclaimed English translation—long hailed as the gold standard by scholars and general readers alike—along with seven critical essays by important writers, as well as background and contextual material, and a new introduction from Corngold himself.

Stanley Corngold is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. He has published widely on modern German writers and thinkers but is perhaps best known for his translations of and writings on the work of Franz Kafka. He is the author, together with Benno Wagner, of Franz Kafka: The Ghosts in the Machine, and co-editor of Kafka for the Twenty-First Century. His translation of Goethe’s The Sufferings of the Young Werther was published recently as a Norton Critical Edition.

The discussion, which will take place on Tuesday, March 11 at 6pm at Labyrinth Books (122 Nassau Street in Princeton) is free and open to the public. Full details about the event can be found here.

Media Theorist Daniel Eschkötter Coming in May to Work on Kluge Archive

EschkotterDaniel Eschkötter, Researcher and Lecturer in Media Studies at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, will spend the months of May and June in Princeton as a DAAD-short term research fellow in the German Department’s Alexander Kluge Research Collection. During his sojourn, Eschkötter will be working on a chapter of a book he is completing on cinematic spectrologies of history.

After studying German philology, philosophy and political science in Münster, Hamburg, and at Johns Hopkins University, Eschkötter was a doctoral fellow in the PhD-program “Figure of the Third” in Konstanz and in the Graudiertenkolleg “Mediale Historiographien – History of Media/Media of History” in Weimar, Erfurt, and Jena, where from 2010 until spring 2014 he was also the academic coordinator. From 2009 until 2013 Eschkötter was also a member of the DFG-research network “Art and Work.” He is one of the editors of the German media studies journal Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft and a regular contributor to the German quarterly CARGO Film/Medien/Kultur. His research interests include media history, film theory, theories of the institution, and politics of the procedural. Eschkötter’s recent publications include a small monograph on the television series The Wire (Berlin/Zürich: Diaphanes, 2012) and a volume, co-edited with Bettine Menke and Armin Schäfer, entitled Das Melodram. Ein Medienbastard (Berlin: Theater der Zeit, 2013)

John Hamilton (Harvard) to lecture on “Celan, Gadamer and Dickinson” on March 6th

HamiltonAmong the numerous public presentations by John Hamilton (Comparative Literature & German, Chair, Germanic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University) during his week-long stay at Princeton as the Whitney J. Oates Fellow in the Humanities Council hosted by the Classics Department, the polymath Comparatist, Classicist and renowned guitarist/vocalist of the Hoboken-based band Tiny Lights will also give a lecture in the German Department entitled “Poetic Obscurity and the Philology of the Flesh: Celan, Gadamer, and Dickinson.” Hamilton describes the lecture as follows: “In his Meridian speech (1960), Paul Celan quotes Blaise Pascal out of context in order to encourage an approach to poetic obscurity that would correct any position that reproaches poets for their darkness. The implicit tension between proximity to and distance from obscurity re-engages the primary motif that organizes Celan’s earlier poem, “Tenebrae” (1957), where key elements of Christian doctrine–namely, kenosis, condescension, and incarnation–are cited in the strongest sense: “shaken” (citus) from the theological context. A close reading results in outlining a “philology of the flesh,” which specifies Celan’s approach as one of carnal obscurity, a practice that comes to the fore in his contemporaneous translations of Emily Dickinson’s poems, which also quote theological materials in a manner that interrogates and complicates their salvific, carnivorous grounding.” The lecture, which will take place at 4:30pm on March 6th in 205 East Pyne, is free and open to the public.

John Hamilton Lecture

On March 4th Hamilton will also give another lecture, sponsored by the Department of Classics and Council of the Humanities, entitled “Repetitio Sententiarum, Repetitio Verborum: Kant, Hamann, and the Implications of Citation”; the talk, which will take place at 4:30pm in 010 East Pyne, is free and open to the public.

Barbara Natalie Nagel (LMU München) Appointed to the Faculty

The German Department is delighted to announce that Barbara Natalie Nagel, a wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin in the German Department at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, will join the German Department faculty as an assistant professor starting September 2014. Prof. Nagel’s research and teaching interests include German and Comparative Literature in the Baroque, around 1800, as well as Realist literature, with a theoretical emphasis on rhetoric, theology, law and literature, theories of emotion, psychoanalysis, gender, and sexuality.

After completing her undergraduate studies in comparative literature and history at the Freie Universität Berlin, Nagel went on to do graduate work in German at New York University, where she received her Ph.D. in 2012. Her first book Der Skandal des Literalen: Barocke Literalisierungen in Gryphius, Kleist, Büchner was published the same year by the Wilhelm Fink Verlag. In it, Nagel introduces literalization as an elaborate literary-rhetorical procedure best understood as a profane transformation of motifs and devices from the Judeo-Christian typological tradition. Nagel is currently working on two further book projects: a monograph entitled Ambiguous Aggressions. Flirtation, Passive Aggression, and Domestic Violence in Realism, and an edited collection Flirtations: Rhetoric and Aesthetics This Side of Seduction, under contract with Fordham University Press and slated to appear in 2015. From 2008 to 2011, Barbara Natalie Nagel was a member of the DFG doctoral research group Lebensformen und Lebenswissen at the Europa-Universität Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder) and the Universität Potsdam. She has published articles in Law and Literature, CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, and has forthcoming book chapters and handbook entries on authors including Martin Luther, Jean Paul, and Wilhelm Jensen.