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Bad New Days – Oct 20th

Who: Hal Foster in Conversation with Devin Fore
What: Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency
When: Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 at 6PM
Where: Labyrinth Books, 122 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ

One of the world’s leading art theorists dissects a quarter century of artistic practice – please join us for a presentation and discussion with author Hal Foster and fellow critic and scholar, Devin Fore.

Hal Foster is Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. A co-editor of October magazine and books, he is the editor of The Anti-Aesthetic, and the author of many influential books, including Design and Crime, Recodings, The Return of the Real, Compulsive Beauty, The First Pop Age, and The Art-Architecture Complex. Devin Fore is Associate Professor of German at Princeton. He, too, is an editor at October magazine. Fore is the author of Realism After Modernism: The Rehumanization of Art and Literature. His new book, All the Graphs: Soviet Factography and the Emergence of Avant-Garde Documentary, is forthcoming from Chicago University Press.


Three German Concentrators elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Congratulations to the following for being elected to Phi Beta Kappa:

Philip Daniel Mooney
Cody Lee O’Neil
Margot Byrd Pinkerton

Professor Emeritus Walter Hinderer to Receive Golden Goethe Medal


Walter Hinderer will receive the Golden Goethe Medal, which has been given since 1910 as the highest honor of the Goethe-Gesellschaft, at a public ceremony on May 28th at the National Theater in Weimar. Previous recipients of the Golden Goethe Medal include Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Lew Kopelew, and Victor Lange, who taught at Princeton from 1957 to 1977. Hinderer joined the faculty of the German Department at Princeton in 1978. He is one of the premier scholars of the Goethezeit. One of his areas of expertise is the so-called Weimarer Musenhof, founded by Anna Amalia and frequented by figures such as Goethe, Wieland, Herder, and Schiller.

Besides teaching at Princeton, Hinderer was a fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1976-1977), the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin (also Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin) (1985-1986), and the Rosenzweig Research Center for German-Jewish Literature and Cultural History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem (1995).

Hinderer has been the recipient of a number of other highly distinguished awards, including the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (1995), the Alexander von Humboldt Prize (1998) and the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art (2006).

84. Hauptversammlung der Goethe-Gesellschaft – Programm

German major Cody O’Neil awarded ReachOut Fellowship

Cody O’Neil, along with Princeton University senior Bina Peltz, have been awarded 2015 fellowships from ReachOut 56-81-06, an alumni-funded effort that supports yearlong public service projects after graduation. Each student will receive a stipend of $30,000.

O’Neil, whose home is in British Columbia, is a German major who is focusing on philosophy and intellectual history. He is also pursuing a certificate in planets and life. He has received the 1956 ReachOut International Fellowship, and will be working with the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to explore the effectiveness of reconciliation initiatives of Aboriginal Canadians.

Further reading on the award article here: Two seniors awarded ReachOut fellowships…

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

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.

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).