Archive | News

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


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.”

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.

Three Graduate Students get Positions in a Tough Job Market

In 2013-14, three recent German Department PhDs attained academic positions in an extremely competitive job market, continuing the tradition that has secured for the Department the best placement record in its field in the United States.

Timothy J. Attanuci took up a position as Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter affiliated with the Lehrstuhl of Professor Ulirch Breuer in Neuere deutsche Literaturgeschichte at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz in Wintersemester 2014/15. A Lecturer in Princeton’s German Department in AY 2013-14, Attanucci defended his dissertation “Geo-Poetics: Adalbert Stifter, Earth and Life Sciences in the mid-nineteenth century” (co-advised by Joseph Vogl and Nikolaus Wegmann) in 2012.

Christian Jany will take up a position in March 2015 as Postdoktorand affiliated with the Lehrstuhl of Professor Andreas Kilcher in Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft at the ETH Zurich. He defended his dissertation, “Scenographies of Perception: Recasting the Sensuous in Hegel, Novalis, Rilke, Proust” (co-advised by Claudia Brodsky and Brigid Doherty) in January 2015.

Jeffrey W. Kirkwood joined the faculty in the Department of Art History at Binghamton University (SUNY) in a tenure-track position in Fall 2014. 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” (advised by 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

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.

Renowned Performance Studies Scholar to spend Spring 2014 as Visiting Professor

GBrandstetterProf. Gabriele Brandstetter is one of the leading figures in the fields of Kulturwissenschaften and Performance Studies. Trained as a philologist and Germanist, she is known and internationally recognized as a pioneer in dance studies and was centrally involved in establishing this field as an academic discipline. Her research focuses on the history and aesthetics of dance from the 18th century until today, theatre and dance of the avant-garde; performance, theatricality and gender differences; concepts of body, movement and image. The thoroughly interdisciplinary character of her scholarship is evident in the numerous books and more than 100 articles she has published –and the wide range of large-scale research projects, exhibitions, international conferences and dance festivals which she has organized– in which she weaves together issues from the worlds of theatre, music, art and literature.

In the Spring term Prof. Brandstetter will offer an undergraduate seminar in German GER 324 “1914: Masks, Violence, and Spectatorship in the Shadow of WWI” which will investigate texts written within the context of the massive rupture occasioned by the First World War. The course, which will take place Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11-12:20, will encompass issues of language and mediality, techniques and dramaturgies of spectatorship, metaphors of acting, masks, and masquerade, and the exceedingly important role of the body in the propagation and experience of physical violence. Prof. Brandstetter will also teach a graduate seminar GER 522 “Dramatic Art and Theory: Figurations of the Virtuoso” which will look at the discourse on the virtuoso between the 19th century and contemporary discussions around skills, discipline and work in neoliberal economies. The seminar which will take place Tuesday afternoons from 1:30-4:20, will examine figurations of the virtuosic in relation to images of the artist as genius, technician and “charlatan”; it will also discuss notions of excellence and mastery as well as the traits of failure–aspects of the virtuoso, understood not as an exception, but rather as a necessity (Paolo Virno).

After her studies in German, history, politics and theatre studies at Erlangen, Regensburg, Vienna and Munich, Brandstetter completed her studies at the University of Munich in 1983 with a thesis on the lyric poetry of Clemens Brentano. She subsequently taught and researched at the University of Bayreuth until 1993 when, following her habilitation, she took a position at the University of Giessen, then four years later a prestigious professorship at the University of Basel until 2003 when she was given a major chair in Theatre and Dance Studies at the Free University of Berlin, where she is also co-director of the International Research Centre “Interweaving Performance Cultures.”

Among her many titles, Brandstetter is vice-president of „Heinrich-von-Kleist-Society“, a member of „German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina“ and a jury member for „art history, musicology, theatre-, film- and media-studies“ of the German Research Council (DFG). In 2004 she was awarded the “Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz-Prize” by the DFG (an honor even more prestigious than the MacArthur “Genius” award), and in 2011 the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Her numerous book publications include Tanz-Lektüren. Körperbilder und Raumfiguren der Avantgarde (1995); ReMembering the Body (2000, co-ed. H. Völckers; Bild-Sprung- TanzTheaterBewegung im Wechsel der Medien (2005); Methoden der Tanzwissenschaft. Modellanalysen zu Pina Bauschs ‚Sacre du Printemps‛ (2007, co-ed. G. Klein); Schwarm(E)Motion. Bewegung zwischen Affekt und Masse (2007, co-eds. B. Brandl-Risi, K. van Eikels), Tanz als Anthropologie (2007, co-ed. C. Wulf), Prognosen über Bewegungen (2009, co-eds. S. Peters, K. van Eikels); Improvisieren. Paradoxien des Unvorhersehbaren. Kunst – Medien – Praxis (2010, co-eds. H.-F. Bormann, A. Matzke).