Tag Archives: Featured

The Operations of Culture: Ernst Kapp’s Elements of a Philosophy of Technology

Jeffrey West Kirkwood Art History/Cinema, SUNY Binghamton
Leif Weatherby German, NYU
Date: February 19, 2019
Time: 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Location: N107 School of Architecture

The origins of what has come to be called “new German media theory” are traceable to an unlikely location far from Germany-Texas-and by way of an even less evident path: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. A German émigré, Ernst Kapp, reading Hegel in the rural expanses of central Texas in the middle of the nineteenth century, penned what is arguably the first philosophy of technology. Elements of a Philosophy of Technology: On the Evolutionary History of Culture (1877) has shaped and predicted the course of much of contemporary media theory. Drawing on the book’s recent publication for the first time in English, the talk will explore the implications of Kapp’s ideas of “organ projection” the unconscious, and engineering on the contours of theory.

artwork of patented mechanical hand on poster

Organized by Program in Media and Modernity and co-sponsored by the Princeton University German Department.

“Sprachgewalt – Luthers Lust an Paradoxien (Die Heidelberger Disputatio)”

March 11th, 2019
4:30pm – 6:00pm
205 East Pyne
Prof. Jochen Hörisch (Mannheim, German Studies and Media Analysis)

It may be Luther’s greatest theological achievement that he did not conceal but succinctly exposed Christian religion’s love of paradox. All his most famous propositions are plagued by paradox: Man is simul justus et peccator; Christians are subject to no one and everyone; Jesus Christ is the both mortal and immortal Son of both Man and God. One further unmistakable paradox has, however, rarely been considered: Luther uses his favorite word sola/solus in the plural, and thus in a contradictory manner. Whoever says sola fide, sola gratia, sola scriptura and solus Christus makes highly paradoxical use of the word “alone.” A quadruple or multiple “alone” is, after all, not exclusive – but one among many.

The lecture will be held in German.

Painting by G. Baumann: “Brenz and Isenmann at Luther in Heidelberg, 1854”. The picture hangs in the church of St. Katharina in Schwäbisch Hall and shows the reformer Martin Luther with the reformer Johannes Brenz and pastor Johann Isenmann at the disputation Luther on April 26, 1518 in Heidelberg.

Re-Thinking Ideology: A Practice-Theoretical Account – Rahel Jaeggi (HU, Social Philosophy)

February 11th, 2019
4:30pm – 6:00pm
205 East Pyne
Professor Dr. Rahel Jaeggi of Practical Philosophy with Emphasis on Social Philosophy and Political Philosophy at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

“How is it possible for people to uphold, promote, stabilize, or simply not actively challenge social structures that cause them suffering and that can be said to run contrary to their own interests? How is it that our day-to-day behavior, actions, and beliefs sometimes in fact promote oppressive power structures even when we neither intend nor realize it? It is along these lines that we might formulate the problem to which the concept of “ideology” offers a response.”

“This talk is an attempt to revitalize the concept of ideology for social critique while understanding ideology in terms of practices and practice-theory.”
US flag in background with man on stool, light from foreground

Sponsored by the Department of German.
Image credits: Jasper Johns at Pearl Street studio in 1955. Photograph by Robert Rauschenberg


Princeton-in-Munich, the German Department’s summer program in Munich, Germany, offers three courses every June: German 105G, German 107G, and a German 300G level. These courses combine intensive instruction at the Goethe Institut with seminars on literature and culture led by Princeton faculty.

Best of all, the German Department is able to offer these programs at a substantially subsidized rate. The fee is $2,900 and covers all instructional costs, housing in Munich and offers a $1,000 travel subsidy for airfare. Financial aid is also available for students receiving assistance during the year. Students should apply for funding through SAFE.

For more information, visit Princeton in Munich.

Welcome Ann Marie Rasmussen, 2019-20 Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching

The German Department is pleased to announce that Ann Marie Rasmussen, the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies at the University of Waterloo, will spend the 2019-20 academic year in Princeton as the Stanley Kelley Jr. Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Department of German.

A leader in the field of Medieval Studies in North America and Germany, Professor Rasmussen is the author of the path-breaking book Mothers and Daughters in Medieval German Literature (1997), one of the first monographs on canonical medieval German literature to focus on gender. Professor Rasmussen is also the editor of several influential volumes on Medieval gender studies, including Medieval Woman’s Song: Cross-Cultural Approaches (with Anne Klinck) (2002); Ladies, Whores, and Holy Women: A Sourcebook in Courtly, Religious, and Urban Cultures of Late Medieval Germany (with Sarah Westphal-Wihl) (2010); Visuality and Materiality in the Story of Tristan and Isolde (with Jutta Eming and Kathryn Starkey (2012)); and Rivalrous Masculinities (2018). In addition, she has authored numerous articles on these and other topics. Her current research focuses on medieval badges and their cultural meaning in a variety of contexts.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Waterloo, Professor Rasmussen taught at Duke University for twenty-five years, where she received the Graduate School Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring. The PhD students she has mentored over the years are now working at the following institutions: Princeton University, Lewis & Clark College, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, UC Davis, Michigan State University, Dartmouth College, University of Notre Dame, Ohio Wesleyan, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

At Princeton, Professor Rasmussen will be teaching two undergraduate classes, one focused on gender and material culture called “Rivalrous Masculinities,” which will involve student projects connected to objects and works of art in Princeton’s Art Museum, and one on gender and German literature, which will be a survey of female authors in the German literary tradition. In addition, she will be holding graduate workshops on a variety of topics related to professionalization.

For more information on Professor Rasmussen’s visit, please contact Professor Sara S. Poor.

Topic Announced for the 2019 Summer School for Media Studies

The Technologization of Cultural Techniques.
What Happens When Practices Become Algorithmic Technologies?

Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (Bauhaus-Universität Weimar)
German Department (Princeton University)
Weimar, Germany, June 22–29, 2019

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 2019 for its ninth installment. At an historical moment marked by a shift from mass media to what could be described as the implementation of cultural techniques, the 2019 session will be devoted to the question what happens to concepts derived from cultural techniques – like writing, erasure, image, number, not to mention the concept of culture itself – when implemented by algorithmic routines that run on computers or mobile media and thus effectively become digitized cultural technologies.

The 2019 Princeton-Weimar Summer School for Media Studies – which will be directed by Thomas Y. Levin (Princeton) and Bernhard Siegert (Weimar) – will attempt to map out approaches to media as networks of cultural technologies. We invite applications from outstanding doctoral students throughout the world 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.

All application materials should be sent via email to: ikkm-conference@uni-weimar.de and must be received no later than December 16th, 2018.

Katharina Rein (Weimar), Elias Pitegoff (Princeton)
Please submit all inquiries to: ikkm-conference@uni-weimar.de

Further information regarding this year’s theme

Image credit:
Trevor Paglen
A Prison Without Guards (Corpus: Eye-Machines)
Adversarially Evolved Hallucination, 2017
Dye sublimation metal print
32 x 40 inches

The German Department is happy to announce a new book publication from Emeritus Stanley Corngold

Walter Kaufmann was a charismatic philosopher, critic, translator, and poet who taught with great success at Princeton from 1947 until his untimely death in 1980. He is mainly noted for his first book on Friedrich Nietzsche, whom he put under the head of “Dionysian Enlightenment” and set in motion a continuing, decades-long preoccupation with Nietzsche by American philosophers. Kaufmann declared that he had put his life and soul in the pages of his many books; in this intellectual biography, which Kirkus Reviews calls “luminous,” Stanley Corngold aims to preserve Kaufmann’s legacy.

Jacket Cover Walter Kaufmann Philospoher, Humanist, Heretic by Stanley Corngold

Summer Work Program

Want to spend your summer working and traveling in Germany? SWP places first-, second-, and third-year students in internships with leading German companies and institutions. SWP is your ticket to improve your German language skills, build your resumé and professional network, and discover Europe!
Attend our Fall Information Session for an overview of the program and application process, and to hear from returning SWP alums about their internships in…

Arts & Culture
Banking, Finance & Economics
Energy & Environment
Government & Public Policy
Medicine & Healthcare
STEM Research & Industry …and more.

November 1st, 2018 – Online Application due
December 1st, 2018 – Interview and Supporting Materials due

For details and online application: How to apply
Or contact swp@princeton.edu

SWP Program Cover Artwork

The German Department is happy to announce a new book publication from Professor Joel Lande

Persistence of Folly challenges the accepted account of the origins of German theater by focusing on the misunderstood figure of the fool, whose spontaneous and impish jest captivated audiences, critics, and playwrights from the late sixteenth through the early nineteenth century. Lande expands the usual scope of literary historical inquiry, showing that the fool was not a distraction from attempts to establish a serious dramatic tradition in the German language. Instead, the fool was both a fixture on the stage and a nearly ubiquitous theme in an array of literary critical, governmental, moral-philosophical, and medical discourses, figuring centrally in broad-based efforts to assign laughter a proper time, place, and proportion in society.

Persistence of Folly reveals the fool as a cornerstone of the dynamic process that culminated in the works of Lessing, Goethe, and Kleist. By reorienting the history of German theater, Lande’s work shows that the highpoint of German literature around 1800 did not eliminate irreverent jest in the name of serious drama, but instead developed highly refined techniques for integrating the comic tradition of the stage fool.

The German Department is happy to announce a new book publication from Emeritus Ted Ziolkowski

Because of Romanticism’s vast scope, most treatments have restricted themselves to single countries or to specific forms,
notably literature, art, or music. This book takes a wider view by considering in each of six chapters representative examples of works — from across Europe and across a range of the arts — that were created in a single year. This approach by “stages” makes it possible to determine characteristics of six stages of Romanticism in its historical and intellectual context and to note the conspicuous differences between these stages as European Romanticism developed.

Book cover with spline and back jacket of Stages-of-European-Romanticism_Cover