Tag Archives: Featured

Professor Sally Poor wins the prize for the best article in German Studies Review for 2017-2018

Please congratulate Prof. Poor on her award for “The Curious Multilingual Prehistory of French and German Monolingualism,” voted the best article in the journal German Studies Review in 2017-2018!
The laudation for the award, which was presented at the conference of the German Studies Association this weekend, reads as follows:

“Sara Poor’s article reinterprets the significance of the 842 Strasbourg oaths sworn by Louis the German and Charles the Bald. These oaths have commonly been understood as a foundational event that signaled the dawn of monolingual German and French nations. Poor’s article argues instead that this narrative of historical origin is a myth produced following the rise of print and reinforced by nineteenth-century nationalist interests. Poor shows that all parties to the oath, the leaders and their followers alike, operated in a multilingual environment where “mother tongue” and “native language” were not necessarily one and the same. Poor suggests that the concept of “customary language” can help overcome this difficulty and restore our understanding of the Strasbourg oaths to its multilingual context.

Our committee finds Sara Poor’s article to be outstanding in terms of content, scope, innovation, and style. Poor’s complex argument, based as it is on close readings of historical and linguistic records, scrutiny of sources and secondary materials, and examinations of terminologies associated with discourses on monolingualism and nationhood, is conveyed with exceptional clarity. What is more, Poor manages to draw out very clearly what is at stake in her reading, namely the question of how we position ourselves vis-a-vis narratives about native languages and cultural identities, monolingualism and nations, national literatures, and the practice of the discipline of Germanistik. Such questions of course become all the more urgent because of the need to interrogate our disciplinary assumptions and practices at a time when academia in general and the humanities in particular are experiencing a crisis; and especially because of the fraught political moment in which we live. Poor urges us to work against a kind of Geschichtsvergessenheit, and to replace whatever mythical assumptions we––and the discipline of Germanistik––may make about monolingualism, nation, and language with a renewed dedication to the study of political, linguistic, and literary history. As Sara Poor so elegantly shows us, in the current historical moment, which is marked not least by mass migrations caused by wars, poverty, and climate change, and which therefore forces us to rethink notions of nation, belonging, and language, it behooves us to examine once more our multilingual origins.”

T’ai Smith University of British Columbia -The Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory

Workshop Speaker: T’ai Smith, University of British Columbia
Date: October 22, 2019
Time: 12:00 – 1:20pm
Location: 399 Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building

Lunch will be provided
RSVP to blleavey@princeton.edu

A Historiography of the Trend
This talk seeks to examine the Trend as a model of history. The shape of trends can be seen in statistical graphs as “time series”— a set of points that index and calculate the transient movement of prices or populations. In fashion, trends articulate the changing cut of clothes but also the roving desires of the masses. If the Trend describes a fleeting pattern of collective wills, social movements, and psychic formations, it has also provided philosophers and economists with a model of history. Trend forecasting purports to be of the future, yet it is rooted in a method of calculating time that dates to the eighteenth century. How, then, does a historiography of the Trend reshape (art) history?

T’ai Smith is Associate Professor of Art History at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Her research focuses on textiles, fashion, media, and design through philosophical and economic discourses. Author of Bauhaus Weaving Theory: From Feminine Craft to Mode of Design (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), she has published in various journals, including Art Journal, Grey Room, Texte zur Kunst, and ZMK (Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung). Her essays have appeared in catalogues for MoMA NY, Tate Modern, and the ICA Boston. She is currently completing two book manuscripts: “Fashion After Capital,” and “Textile Media: Tangents in Contemporary Art and Thought.”

Co-sponsored with the German Department

Robert Pippin University of Chicago -Adorno, Aesthetic Negativity, and the Problem of Idealism

Date: November 6th, 2019
Time: 4:30pm – 6:00pm
Location: East Pyne 205
Speaker: Professor Robert B. Pippin, The Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

One of Adorno’s most sweeping and frequent characterizations of his project in Aesthetic Theory has it that the “task that confronts aesthetics today” is an “emancipation from absolute idealism” (165). The context and the phrase itself make explicit that he means Hegel, but only in so far as Hegel represents the culmination and essence of modern philosophy itself, or what he calls “identity thinking.” He means by this that reflection on art should be freed from any aspiration for any reconciliationist relation with contemporary society, or any sort of role in the rationalization of any basic aspect of late modernity; that is in capitalist, bourgeois society. Hegel and his absolute idealism represent the epitome of what must be rejected. Does it matter, beyond the issue of scholarly accuracy, if Adorno’s version of Hegelian idealism is incorrect, more in the way of a very broad-stroke textbook summary than a confrontation with the thing itself? It would matter if Adorno’s position is framed in terms that are incomplete and unclear from the start, and if that problematic framing derives from how he understands his opposition to Hegel and to idealism. I want to suggest something like this in this lecture, more in the way of trying to show how Hegel’s aesthetics could be of help in the completion and clarification of Adorno’s chief cluster of terms in his account of art in the present age – the negative, or negativity, or the non-identical.

Sponsored by the Department Of German

An Evening of String Quartet

Date: November 9th, 2019
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Chancellor Green Rotunda

Student playing violin and reading music

The Department of German and Princeton Chamber Music Society presents an evening of string quartet.
Light reception to follow.
Open to public.

Pizzapause and Kaffeestunde!


Tuesdays 12pm – 1pm
East Pyne 207
There will be Pizzapause with free pizza.

Wednesdays 12pm – 1pm
East Pyne 207
There will be Kaffeestunde, with free coffee and donuts.

Both events are open to everyone, including undergraduate/graduate students of all disciplines, who wants to speak German outside the classroom setting.
Please come by and claim your loot including free pizza, donuts, and coffee, and speak German! And plunder the treasures of the German department.
For more information or to be on the mailing list, e-mail: gkong@princeton.edu

Storyworlds: Open-ended Story Universes Across Time, Cultures, and Media

Date: November 16th, 2019
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Location: TBA

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.

The workshop topic, Storyworlds, has been a focus of Professor Ann Marie Rasmussen’s teaching and research for the past five years. This is a collection of essays on the topic that is structured around interdisciplinary exchange across cultures and time (especially medieval and modern), and disciplines (especially literary studies and social science). The workshop will bring together the contributors to the volume to share chapter drafts.


Laura Beard, Associate Vice-President (Research) and Professor, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta, Canada.

Ingrid Bennewitz, Professor, University of Bamberg, Germany.

Eileen C. Chow, Visiting Associate Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, North Carolina, USA.

Kate Elliott, Author of Young Adult and Fantasy Literature, Hawaii, USA.

Markus Kuhn, Professor, Neuere deutsche Literatur und Medien, University of Kiel, Germany.

Fritz Mayer, Professor of Public Policy, Sanford Institute, Duke University; from 1. July 2019, Dean of the Korbel School of International Relations, University of Denver, Colorado, USA.

Adam Oberlin, Senior Lecturer, Department of German, Princeton University.

Ann Marie Rasmussen, Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada.

Carlos Rojas, Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, North Carolina, USA.

Markus Stock, Associate Professor of German, University of Toronto, Canada.

Clare Woods, Associate Professor of Classics and Director, Thompson Writing Program, Duke University, North Carolina, USA.


Open to interested Princeton students and faculty

Welcome Juliane Rebentisch, our new Permanent Visiting Professor

The German Department is delighted to announce that the philosopher Juliane Rebentisch will join our faculty as a Permanent Visiting Professor starting in the Fall of 2019. A specialist in aesthetics, critical theory, ethics, political philosophy and contemporary art, Prof. Rebentisch is author of three books, Aesthetics of Installation Art (Suhrkamp/Sternberg, 2003), The Art of Freedom (Suhrkamp/Polity, 2012), and Theorien der Gegenwartskunst (Junius, 2013). In addition, she has edited countless volumes on subjects that range from queer subculture and the philosophy of language to negativity and the affects of capitalism. From 2015 to 2018 Rebentisch served as President of the German Society for Aesthetics. For more information on her work and projects…

New info about the Certificate in German Language and Culture

The Department of German offers students an opportunity to do sustained work in German language, literature, philosophy, art, and media while majoring in another department, leading to a Certificate in German Language and Culture. Certificate students can choose from the broad range of course offerings taught in both English and German. Classes extend from the Middle Ages to the contemporary moment, introduce diverse disciplinary perspectives including art history and philosophy, and engage with multiple critical paradigms, such as gender and media studies. Through vibrant classroom discussions and close advising relationships, the certificate program engages students who wish to advance their command of the German language and deepen their understanding of German culture.

The certificate program is open to undergraduates in all departments. Students are encouraged to consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies as early as in their freshmen or sophomore year to plan a program of study, but should not hesitate to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies about joining the certificate program at a later date.

Course Requirements:

1. Four courses at the 200 level or higher, at least two of which must be at the 300 level or higher. All courses must be taken for a grade (not PDF).

2. Evidence of substantial upper-level coursework in German. This requirement will be satisfied if three of the four courses taken for the certificate were conducted in German, or if two were taught in German and one was conducted in English with a substantial German-language component. This option is available for all courses taught in the German Department as well as courses in other departments cross-listed with German. Students should consult with the instructor regarding the German-language component at the beginning of the semester and submit the agreed-upon plan to the German Director of Undergraduate Studies for approval by the end of the second week of classes.

Independent Work Requirement:

There are three ways to fulfill the Independent Work Requirement:

  • (1) A substantial paper (15-20 pages if in English, 10-15 pages if in German; may be a revised version of a paper written for one of the four required courses);
  • (2) a chapter from the senior thesis principally devoted to a German-related topic;
  • (3) an additional 300-level class taught in German.

If you are interested in completing the certificate, you are encouraged to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Prof. Thomas Y. Levin, tylevin@princeton.edu Also see the form page to apply!

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