Archive | Events

A Full Measure: Hölderlin and the Poetics of Madness

Princeton University
Department of German

Alexis Briley
Visiting Assistant Professor, Colgate University
“A Full Measure: Hölderlin and
the Poetics of Madness”

Date: January 11, 2017
Location: 205 E. Pyne
Time: 4:30 pm

This Event is Free and Open to the Public
A Reception Will Follow

Obedient Agency: Concept and Narrative

Princeton University
Department of German

Obedient Agency: Concept and Narrative
Professor Martin Wagner – University of Calgary
Date: December 9th, 2017
Loacation: 205 E. Pyne
Time: 4pm

Event Open to the public. Reception to follow.

Challenges of Media Anthropology- Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies 2017

Challenges of Media Anthropology
Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies
Bauhaus-Universität Weimar—Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie
Princeton University—German Department

Weimar, June 11–17, 2017

The Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies—a collaboration between Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie, IKKM) and Princeton University (German Department)—returns to Weimar in 2017 for its seventh installment. This year’s session will be concerned with the dynamics at work between the forms and practices of human being on the one hand and media operations and orderings on the other. Interested in far more than the mere study of media appropriation in different cultures or media usage by various disciplines, the summer school will focus on the co-agency and co-reflexivity of media and human existence, a commonality that renders impossible any division of the latter pair as separate entities.

The summer school will be directed by Lorenz Engell (Weimar) and Thomas Y. Levin (Princeton). The faculty will include Jane Bennett (Baltimore), Elisabeth Bronfen (Zürich), Beatriz Colomina (Princeton), Erin Manning/Brian Massumi (Montreal), Avital Ronell (New York), Christiane Voß (Weimar) and others.

The Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies invites applications internationally from outstanding doctoral candidates working in media studies and related fields such as film studies, literary studies, philosophy, art history, architecture, sociology, politics, the history of science and visual culture.

2017 Topic: Challenges of Media Anthropology

Media anthropology is generally understood, especially in the Anglo-American realm, as the investigation of different forms of media appropriations and media usages across cultures, sub-cultures, or societies, including of course the medial practices of anthropological research itself. However, as relevant as such topics are, they raise a host of much bigger and more complex issues that urgently demand careful theoretical interrogation.

Within the realm of media studies, the position of what used to be called “the human” is both delicate and highly disputed. On the one hand, some theorists challenge the validity of the very category of “the human” and thereby also the conceptual and empirical foundations of the above-mentioned approaches. According to the basic concepts of radical materialist media theory and media archeology—perhaps most paradigmatically in the work of Friedrich Kittler—the “so-called human being” is manifest, if at all, only as an epiphenomenal effect. In this view, time will ultimately expose the fundamental contingency of the construction of “the human,” as Michel Foucault insisted with his famous image of the footprint on the beach that is washed away by the next wave. For media theory, there is no such thing as human exceptionality—no “soul,” no “spirit,” no “ingenuity,” no “inventiveness,” no “intelligence” that could not be described either as the product of discursive, epistemic and laboratory practices, or as technically reproducible by means of implemented mathematics. Nevertheless, there are elements of media theory and philosophy, even in some of its most advanced forms, that remain haunted by the shadow of the—now forbidden—anthropological question. Indeed, somewhat surprisingly, this anti-anthropological move was preceded and paralleled by the rejection of explicitly anthropological positions in works of post-Nietzschean modern philosophy by authors as diverse as Theodor W. Adorno and Martin Heidegger.

On the other hand, certain key positions of early media theory, as exemplified in the work of Marshall McLuhan, are purely anthropological in character, as evidenced in the primordial mutual involution of the human and the technological, in McLuhan’s conception of media as extended perception, and, from a more global perspective, in his gestures towards the different functions of technical media in non-Western cultures and traditions. Anthropological concerns also emerge as a less explicit but underlying concern of 20th-century philosophy, as manifest in the writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the philosopher of media Günter Anders. In philosophical terms, it has even been argued that non-anthropocentric thinking is simply impossible.

Recent developments such as global migration and ecological catastrophe demand that one rethink human existence as regards its forms, terms, operations, as well as its conditions and situatedness. This in turn makes imperative a reconsideration of the relation between the human and media. Yet the urgent contemporary discussion of “the Anthropocene” largely ignores the function of media and of technologies in general as co-agents in their own right. Important media-anthropoligical questions are also raised by the renewed debates on the relevance and reason of human and animal rights and the recurring concern in popular culture with the human in relation to machines, programs, robot technologies and other humanoid artifacts. In these contexts theoretical models of “symmetrical” (Bruno Latour) or “non-anthropic” anthropology (Robert Welsch) seem deeply appropriate, yet nevertheless fail to address the mediatic grounds on which any relational anthropology would have to take place.

Based on the premise that there is no human without media, the seventh annual Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies will focus on the diverse forms and operations of the coupling, the co-agency and the co-evolution of humans and media instead of their traditional distinction and separation. The conceptual challenges posed by such questions of human-media relatedness will be examined along four loosely defined sets of concerns:

1. Concepts and theories: How does the philosophical tradition conceive of the (non-)human and how is it conceptualized in media theory and related fields? Are there theoretical models that might contribute to an understanding of the reciprocally co-constitutive character of human existence and mediatic operations and orderings?

2. Knowledge production: How did and how does the shaping of the (non-)human work in experimental physiology, recent neurology, paleoanthropology, and other sciences? In their wake, how are specific technologies of observation and inscription involved in the production of what then is called “the human”?

3. Practices: In light of questions posed by “visual/sensory anthropology,” how are we to conceive of media in ethnography or, conversely, the ethnography of media? How do human-media interrelations generate sensorial activity and vice versa?

4. Aesthetics: How do media cooperate in the perception, representation, reproduction and experience of the (non-)human, and with what effects? How are the realms of aesthetics and aesthetic experience linked to the intertwined and mutually generating categories of the human and media?

For application instructions, please click here.

For more information, visit Challenges of Media Anthropology – Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies 2017.

For updates to the program and faculty of the Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies please visit and

All application materials should be sent by email to
and must be received by January 1st, 2017.

Katharina Rein (Weimar), William Stewart (Princeton)
Please submit all inquiries to:

Princeton in Munich

Princeton-in-Munich, the Department’s summer program in Munich, Germany will take place from May 30-June 29, 2017. We offer three courses every June: German 105G (third semester), German 107G (fourth semester), and German 312G – The Absurd, The Grotesque, and the Vulgar Experimental and Political Art in the 1960s-80s. These courses combine intensive instruction at the Goethe Institut with seminars on literature and culture led by Professors Joel Lande and Barbara Nagel.

Visit the Princeton in Munich homepage.

Graduate Colloquium in German and Medieval Studies

Graduate Colloquium in
German and Medieval Studies

“manheit. Impressions of Risk in
Medieval Literature”

Date: Monday, December 12, 2016
Time: 4:30pm
Location: 205 East Pyne

Matthias Standke
wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter
Professur für Ältere deutsche Literatur
Schwerpunkt Literatur des hohen Mittelalters
Institut für deutsche Literatur
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The Great War and the Ancient World – Nov 9th

Suzanne Marchand
Boyd Professor
Louisiana State University, Department of History

“The Great War and the Ancient World”

Date: Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Time: 4:30pm
Location: 106 McCormick (may change to 205 East Pyne)

Click image for event pdf.
This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Classics and Department of History.

Inversion: On Some Poetics and Politics in the Discourse of the Sublime – Oct 25th

18th C./Romantic Studies Colloquium, Theory Colloquium, Department of Comparative Literature,
Department of GermanRenaissance and Early Modern Studies presents:

Ian Balfour
Department of English
York University
Toronto, Canada

Inversion: On Some Poetics and Politics in the Discourse of the Sublime

Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Loation: Room 205, East Pyne

Alexander Kluge: A Narration Oct 20-21, 2016

Alexander Kluge at Princeton

A Narration
Dates: October 20-21, 2016
Oct 20- Whitman College Theater
Oct 21- Betts Auditorium – School of Architecture

Readings, Lectures, Conversations, and New Work in Video and Film by Alexander Kluge

Leslie Adelson, Cornell University
Philipp Ekardt, The University of London / School for Advanced Study
Devin Fore, Princeton University
Michael Jennings, Princeton University
Lutz Koepnick, Vanderbilt University
Richard Langston, University of North Carolina
Ben Lerner, Brooklyn College

A full program guide is available here.


All events in English or in German with English Subtitles
A Conference Sponsored by the Department of German and the Alexander Kluge Research Collection, Princeton University

Dr. Bernhard Fischer: October 3rd-4th Presentation and Lecture/Workshop…

Princeton University
Department of German presents:

Dr. Bernhard Fischer, Director, Goethe & Schiller Archive of the Klassick Foundation, Weimar Visiting Scholar
Following his 1985 PhD thesis on Thomas Bernhard, Fischer was head of the Cotta‐Archive at the German Literature
Archive (DLA), Marbach/N. from 1992–2007, and since then the Director of the Goethe & Schiller Archive of the Klassik
Foundation in Weimar. He has published extensively on German literature and the history of ideas in the 18th-20th
century as well as on the history of publishing.

Date: Monday, October 3, 2016
Time: 12:00pm
Location: Room 207 East Pyne (German Dept Lounge)
Brown Bag Presentation (lunch provided)

“Johann Friedrich Cotta: Publisher-Statesman-Entrepreneur”
Dr. Fischer, author of the much-lauded 1000-page biography of Cotta published in 2014 on the occasion of his 250th birthday, will give an introduction to this enormously important (but in the USA all-too-little-known) figure who was the most significant German publisher of all time. At once a remarkable visionary, a major philanthropist and thoroughly political figure, Cotta is also a striking example of how one can take charge of and transform one’s own life.

Date: Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Time: 3:00-5:00pm
Location:Firestone Library, Dept. of Rare Books & Special Collections, C-Floor, Small Classroom

“Goethe’s Autograph Collection/Goethe’s Hands”
A Lecture/Workshop using original Goethe manuscripts from the Benno Elkan Collection of Goetheana in the Manuscripts Division Through a reading of Goethe’s collection of autographs, Dr. Fischer will explore the status of the handwritten manuscript in the age of its high-quality digital reproducibility. This will be complemented by a careful, hands‐on examination of original Goethe manuscripts as a means to grasp what sort of cultural information they convey, the “aura of the authenticity” that envelopes such objects, the “complex culturality” of manuscripts as well as various dimensions of lack that characterize their digital copies.

Both events are free and open to the public. To make appointments to speak with Dr. Fischer during his office hours please call 258-4141.


Synesthesia Of Law – An International and Trans-Disciplinary Conference

Website: Synesthesia Of Law
Date: Sept 29th – Oct 1st 2016
Location: 101 McCormick Hall

What is the role of law in structuring, orienting and perpetuating the multiplicity of conflicts that shape our public and private life? What function does law play in structuring and orienting the ethical dimensions of the multiplicity of conflicts that shape our public and private life? How, if at all, might law serve to relieve and mitigate them? These are the overarching questions addressed by this new collaboration between Princeton University and Sciences Po Law School.
As the first of what we hope will be a series of annual gatherings to be held alternately in Princeton and Paris, this event will draw upon recent innovative work by scholars from various academic fields, and will be organized around a self-consciously provocative reconceptualization of law as a multi-sensual, perceptual process or experience of sense-making. Considered from this perspective, law is conceived not as a textual product of a reasoned “black-letter” decision, a ‘pure’ system of abstract norms, or an ‘unaffected’ institution of justice, but as a material and sensorial phenomenon or process that speaks, touches, sees, smells and tastes, and is simultaneously heard, seen, felt, tasted and smelled.

The shift in focus to these long-ignored but important facets of the juridical is an important political statement about not only the presence of law in the seemingly most intimate moments and areas of life but also of law’s role in shaping and structuring the way we experience, sense, and make ‘sense’ of these.
By challenging the underpinnings and limits of our longstanding notions of the juridical, and by drawing attention to the existence of many unrecognized ‘fora’ of law-making –the street, the classroom, and the rainforest– the conference aims to suggest not only an alternative way of knowing, thinking, and ‘practicing’ law, but also the availability of a multiplicity of undertheorized channels for legal/political action. In so doing, we hope to open new ways to respond to current political, juridical and socio-cultural conflicts – conflicts that, much like law, transcend and transgress social, cultural, institutional, geographical, material and sensorial boundaries.

The conference will bring together the geographically- and disciplinary-dispersed community of established and new voices in critical (legal) studies — scholars, artists and activists– to exchange and collaborate in the development of a new critical discourse, as well as to build stronger links between the study of law and other fields (including political theory, history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, economic theory, literature, linguistics, gender studies, critical race theory, performativity studies, and media theory).

For more information about the event, the program, and the participants, visit the website, follow Synesthesia of Law on Twitter and Facebook or contact us Synesthesia