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Devin Fore awarded the MLA’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Germanic Languages and Literatures

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Professor Fore received the prize, which is awarded biennially for outstanding scholarly work in the field of Germanic Studies, for his book Realism after Modernism: The Rehumanization of Art and Literature, published in 2012 with MIT Press. The committee wrote, “Devin Fore’s Realism after Modernism is an innovative study of German artists and writers of the interwar period in the twentieth century. Highly focused yet displaying great intellectual range, it draws on anthropological and economic thought, criticism of literature and art, and comparisons with other cultures, especially Russian, to advance the argument that realism after modernism is not the abandonment of avant-garde practices in favor of a premodern groundedness in reality but rather the emergence of a new ‘prosthetic man’ dependent on technology and on media. Fore’s book thus intervenes decisively in debates about realism and modernism. Its vision of an ‘anthropomorphism found within the technical matrix of the artwork itself’ opens important new avenues in German studies and beyond.”

Prof. Inka Mülder-Bach (LMU-Munich) returns to Princeton for Spring Semester 2015

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Professor Inka Mülder-Bach, one of three Permanent Visiting Professors on the German Department faculty, will be in residence in Princeton for the Spring semester 2015 during which she will teach a graduate seminar (GER 515/COM512) entitled “Studies in 19th-Century Literature and Culture: The Art of the Plot” and an undergraduate class (GER 306) on “Labyrinths of Literature.”

Prof. Mülder-Bach’s graduate seminar will take place on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30-4:20pm and will be conducted in both English and German. She describes the class — which will consider works such as Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris, Shakespeare’s Othello, Schiller’s Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua and Wallenstein, Goethe’s Iphigenie, and Büchner’s Dantons Tod — as follows:

Though plotters and intriguers usually are up to no good, their scheming is closely related to the art of drama and narrative. Storytellers and dramatists create entanglements, set snares and tie knots which then somehow have to be disentangled and untied. The Aristotelian notion of plot (mythos) as “construction of events” thus encompasses the two complementary operations of desis and lysis, “complication” and “denouement.” The seminar will examine plot structures, figures of the intriguer, metaphors of intriguing and their transformation in tragedies and historical dramas from Greek antiquity to German literature of the early 19th century.

Regarding the undergraduate class, which will be taught on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:30-2:50pm, Prof. Mülder-Bach writes:

In literature, art, dance and architecture the labyrinth delineates a path that has been interpreted in various ways, as a figuration of the polarity of chaos and order, for example, or as a trajectory of initiation symbolizing the experience of separation, disorientation and rebirth. On the basis of selected pictorial material as well as selected readings of the myths of Theseus and Dedalus, the seminar will focus on the relation between the structure of the maze and narrative structures in 20th century German literature.

The reading list for this seminar, which will be taught in English, includes Ovid’s Metamorphoses (selections), Joyce’s Ulysses ((selections; 1922) Kafka’s Der Bau (1923/24), Robert Walser’s Der Räuber (1925), Walter Benjamin’s Berliner Kindheit um 1900 (1932ff) and Thomas Bernhard’s Das Kalkwerk (1970).

Prof. Mülder-Bach received her PhD from the University of Tübingen after academic training at Tübingen, Oslo, and Berkeley. Before joining the Institute of German Philology at Ludwig Maximilian Universität (LMU) in Munich in 1998, she held positions at the Freie Universität and the Zentrum für Literaturforschung in Berlin. Mülder-Bach has been a visiting professor at Columbia University (New York), the IFK (International Research Center for Cultural Studies, Vienna), the Heinrich-Heine-Universität (Düsseldorf), and New York University. Her research focuses on German literature from the 18th to the 20th century in a comparative perspective, traditions of aesthetics and poetics, theories of narration, scenes of origins and constructions of the beginning of modernity, and Robert Musil. She is editor of the works of Siegfried Kracauer and co-editor of POETICA.

Prof. Mülder-Bach is a Vertrauensdozentin der Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. In 2008-09 and 2010-11 she held an Excellence-in-Research professorship at the LMU Munich, and from 2009-2010, served as Vice-President of the LMU. In 2013 she was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Updated Editions of Departmental Publications Now Available

The updated versions of three key departmental publications — the Undergraduate Handbook, the Graduate Handbook, and the Guide to Independent Work (for Junior Papers and Senior Theses)– are now available as downloadable PDFs on the departmental website. The handbooks, a compendium of departmental information and FAQs, have been fully revised for the 2014-2015 academic year. Suggestions or corrections for future editions are most welcome and can be sent to the Departmental Manager Pat Heslin.

Two Graduate Students get Positions in a Tough Job Market

Continuing the tradition of placing its graduates in top positions throughout the world –which has given the Princeton German Department the best placement record in its field in the United States– two recent graduates have garnered highly attractive jobs in an extremely competitive market.

Timothy J. Attanuci will take up a position as Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter in Modern German Literature at the chair of Prof. Dr. Ulrich Breuer (Deutsche Philologie) at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. A lecturer in the German Dept. in AY 2013-14, Attanucci defended his dissertation “Geo-Poetics: Adalbert Stifter, Earth and Life Sciences in the mid-19th century” (directed by Profs. Joseph Vogl and Nikolas Wegmann) in 2012.

Jeffrey W. Kirkwood joined the faculty in the Department of Art History this Fall in a tenure track position at SUNY Binghamton. Kirkwood spent the academic year 2013-14 on a Harold W. Dodds Fellowship completing his dissertation “Cinema Non Facit Saltus: Early German Cinema and Experimental Psychology” (directed by Prof. Thomas Y. Levin) which he successfully defended in October 2014.

Colleagues from History, Religion and Politics appointed as Associated Faculty Members

Alongside its already highly interdisciplinary full-time faculty, the German Department also has a very active and highly distinguished group of Associated Faculty in departments ranging from Art & Archaeology and Comparative Literature to History, Music and Philosophy. The Department is delighted to announce that this group, which works closely not only with the regular faculty but also with both undergraduate and graduate students, has just been expanded by an additional three members: Profs. Katja Guenther (History), Leora F. Batnitsky (Religion) and Jan-Werner Müller (Politics).

guentherKatja Guenther, an Assistant Professor of History and the Johanna and Alfred Hurley University Preceptor, mobilizes her training as a physician, neuroscientist and historian to study the history of modern medicine and the mind sciences. Trained as an M.D. in Germany before she earned a Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard University, Guenther also holds an M.Sc. in neuroscience from the University of Oxford. She has published articles on the history of psychoanalysis, neurology, and medical therapy. The co-editor and translator of Sigmund Freud’s 1882 manuscript “Critical Introduction to Neuropathology, ” Professor Guenther’s research focuses on the history of subjectivity and the ways in which modern ideas of the self have been constituted through the interplay of cultural and scientific norms. Her book project, Localization and Its Discontents – A Genealogy of Psychoanalysis and the Neuro Disciplines, c. 1850-1950, explores divergent practices and shared theoretical assumptions within the medicine of mind and brain. Re-conceptualizing the reflex as a clinical and hermeneutic principle, she shows a common heritage for such diverse specialties as neurology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and psychoanalysis, and provides new ways for thinking about the relationship between mind and brain in modernity.

batnitzkyLeora F. Batnitzky is the Ronald O. Perelman Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor and Chair in the Department of Religion. Her teaching and research interests include philosophy of religion, modern Jewish thought, hermeneutics, and contemporary legal and political theory. She is the author of Idolatry and Representation: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered (Princeton, 2000), Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of Revelation (Cambridge, 2006), and How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought (Princeton, 2011). Her current book project, tentatively titled “Conversion Before the Law: How Religion and Law Shape Each Other in the Modern World,” focuses on a number of contemporary legal cases concerning religious conversion in the U.S., Great Britain, Israel, and India. She is also currently completing an edited volume for the Brandeis Library of Modern Jewish Thought on modern Judaism and legal theory. The co-editor, with Peter Schäfer, of Jewish Studies Quarterly, Professor Batnitzky is also the Director of Princeton’s Tikvah Project on Jewish Thought.

muellerJan-Werner Mueller, Professor of Politics and Acting Director of the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society, works on the history of modern political thought, liberalism and its critics, constitutionalism, religion and politics, and the normative dimensions of European integration. A prolific author and public intellectual (his public affairs commentary has appeared in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Zeit, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and Merkur: Deutsche Zeitschrift für europäisches Denken) he also directs the Project in the History of Political Thought at Princeton’s University Center for Human Values. Mueller is the author of Another Country: German Intellectuals, Unification and National Identity (Yale UP, 2000), A Dangerous Mind: Carl Schmitt in Post-War European Thought (Yale UP, 2003) and the editor of Memory and Power in Post-War Europe: Studies in the Presence of the Past, (Cambridge UP 2002) and German Ideologies since 1945: Studies in the Political Thought and Culture of the Bonn Republic (Palgrave 2003). An expanded and revised German edition of his more recent Constitutional Patriotism (Princeton UP 2007) was published by Suhrkamp in 2010.

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).

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)

Barbara Natalie Nagel (LMU München) Appointed to the Faculty

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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.

Joel B. Lande (Univ. of Chicago) Appointed to the Faculty

Joe Lande (Color)
The German Department is delighted to announce that Joel B. Lande, a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows since 2011, will join the German Department faculty as an assistant professor starting September 2014. In addition to the study of German literature and theater history, Lande’s interests and competencies reach into other areas of European literature, especially classical antiquity and its various receptions. He maintains an active interest in the German philosophical tradition from Kant and Hegel to Wittgenstein as well as its contemporary Anglo-American interpretation. He is also deeply committed to the study of Goethe, whose accomplishments as a scientist, dramatist, novelist, and poet serve as a source of endless fascination.

After completing his B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, Lande spent two years studying philosophy at the Humboldt Universität in Berlin before returning to the United States to pursue a PhD in German literature at the University of Chicago. As a graduate student, Lande focused on German literature from the 17th to the 19th century, with particular emphasis on the efflorescence of literary and philosophical activity around 1800. He is currently completing the revisions of his first book with the working title “The Persistence of Folly: Comedy, The Fool, and the Emergence of German Dramatic Literature.” In this study of the transformation of stage performance and playwriting from the arrival of traveling theatrical players around 1590 to the seminal literary achievements of Goethe and Kleist, Lande unpacks the medial and generic dimensions of the eighteenth-century project to alter the cultural locus of the theater.

During his first two years in the Princeton Society of Fellows, Lande coordinated and co-taught the intensive year-long, double-credit undergraduate introduction to European thought, literature, and art from classical antiquity to the twentieth century. As a faculty member in the German Department starting in Fall 2014 he will teach GER 209, the introduction to German Literature after 1700 (taught in German), and a graduate seminar on Weimar Classicism.

Sigrid Weigel (ZfL Berlin) spending the semester in the Princeton German Department

Weigel_2009_hohe AuflösungSigrid Weigel, Director of the Centre for Literature Research (ZfL) in Berlin and Permanent Visiting Professor in the German Department at Princeton, is once again spending a semester at Princeton. One of the world’s leading Warburg scholars and the co-editor of a recently published massive one-volume German edition of Warburg’s writings, Weigel is teaching an interdisciplinary graduate seminar (GER521) this semester entitled “Aby Warburg and the History of Science around 1900″ in which key texts by this major cultural theorist are situated within the central methodological and intellectual-historical debates of his time. Her undergraduate seminar (GER314) entitled “Reading Faces – Methods of Deciphering in Literature, Sciences and Art,” undertakes a genealogy and archeology of methods of deciphering through the study of textual sources from literature, art theory, psychology, evolutionary and critical theory, and visual images from portraiture, photography, film, and science. Weigel’s 2008 monograph on Walter Benjamin was recently published in an English translation by Chadwick Truscott Smit as Walter Benjamin: Images, the Creaturely, and the Holy (Stanford UP 2013). While in Princeton she is also completing her latest book Grammatologie der Bilder.