Tag Archives: Featured

Hanne Darboven’s Address – Place and Time

The opening of the exhibition Hanne Darboven’s Address — Place and Time on April 27, 2018, will be accompanied by a series of readings, lectures, and performances featuring presentations by composer and artist Seth Cluett and artists Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi, as well as readings by students from Art & Archaeology, Comparative Literature, European Cultural Studies, German, and Classics.

Sponsored by the Department of Art & Archaeology, the Princeton University Art Museum, the Department of German, and the Program in European Cultural Studies.

Event Poster and Schedule:

Exhibition Information:

The works in the Department of German (207 East Pyne Building) can be viewed 9 AM – 12 PM and 2 PM – 4 PM, Monday through Friday, Through June 12th.
More information at European Cultural Studies

Superstition and Magic in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

“The Magical and Superstitious Past as a Foreign Country”
Michael Bailey, Keynote Speaker, Iowa State University
Date: Friday, April 20th
Time: 9:00 am — 10:30 am · Jones Hall 202

Co-organized by:
Jonathan Martin, PhD, Department of German 2018
Sonja Andersen, Graduate Student, Department of German

In an age when authorities attempt to assault our modern modes of critical thinking, the term “superstition” and its premodern associations take on rearranged values. Current political discourse denounces fake news and climate change as humbug with a zeal not unlike that of medieval and early modern establishments censuring false prophets and fallacious astrologers. Given these similarities, the classic narrative of a medieval society emerging into a modern one, “the disenchantment of the world” (Max Weber), urgently needs reappraisal. This conference proposes the examination of a wide range of evidence in various genres over time in order to foster this dialogue. In returning to the original meaning of “superstition” as an excessive fearfulness or belief, or a misapprehended and abused knowledge of a supernatural subject, how can we refine our understanding of superstition and magic in the premodern world? How can we make the overlaps between science, superstition, and magic productive?

Co-organized with Princeton Medieval Studies

Download Medieval Studies Graduate Conference

How Literatures Begin: A Comparative Approach to Problems and Methods

Prof. Joel Lande (Department of German)
Prof. Denis Feeney (Department of Classics)

Symposium for Friday, April 13, 2018

(Event is organized by Denis Feeney and Joel Lande. Sponsored by the Department of German, Department of Classics, East Asian Studies, The Humanities Council, Comparative Literature, and Slavic)

2018 Graduate Student Symposium

Princeton University

Department of German
Graduate Student Symposium

Friday, April 6th, 2018
2:00 – 5:00PM

Rocky-Mathey Theater
Rockefeller College


Andreas Strasser
“Heimat ist das Entronnensein”: Heimat in the Writings of Theodor W. Adorno

In light of the ongoing debates around the term Heimat, Theodor W. Adorno’s dispersed comments on Heimatcan help us understand the presuppositions and contexts the term comes with. First, this talk looks at how the Dialectic of Enlightenment presents a general dialectical account of Heimatas standing opposed to myth. Then, I turn to Adorno’s comments on why he returned to Germany to specify this dialectic in relation to language and individual experience. Finally, a close reading of Adorno’s short text “Amorbach” presents a model of individualized historical experience of Heimat, which needs to be understood in its historical context.


Mary Grayson Brook
Mutterherz: Maternal Inheritance in Adalbert Stifter’s Brigitta and Theodor Storm’s Der Schimmelreiter

Adalbert Stifter wrote, “The mother’s heart is the most beautiful and most lasting place for the son, even when his hair has turned gray. And everyone has only one such heart in the whole universe.” Read closely, this tribute to motherhood disrupts traditional notions of father-son inheritance, while the positioning of the mother’s heart in spatial terms creates an image of motherhood as landscape. This talk will explore latent maternal affinities in two German realist novellas written four decades apart, following the calls of recent scholarship to explore otherness and eccentricity in the German realist canon. In each, an expansive model of motherhood emerges from the particularity of the landscapes Stifter and Storm describe. In addition to these charged landscapes, both authors use phonemically or anagrammatically similar character names to denote lines of kinship beyond the shared family name. These spatial and textual clues present a latent inheritance that transcends biology and conventional notions of family.


Alexander Draxl
Freud and Schicksal: Reality, Fantasy, and Tragedy

The German word Schicksal is a peculiar term:
Immanuel Kant, for instance, declared the word Schicksal unfit for usage as its vagueness defies determination. By analyzing Sigmund Freud’s use of Schicksal this talk examines how a term as ambiguous as Schicksal demands consideration precisely because there seems to be so much at stake in the ambiguities of its figural and literal implications. Perhaps what has been referred to in terms of ambiguity and indeterminacy should be addressed as ambivalence – and more accurately, in psychoanalytic terms, ambivalence as indicative of conflict. Investigating invocations of Schicksal thus holds the promise of uncovering conflicts that are usually concealed by the seeming precision of the ideas from which that term is derived.

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Prof. Geoff Winthrop-Young (University BC, Vancouver)

“Why a Student is a Willing Termite rather than an Irish Elk: Karl Escherich and the (De)Nazification of Universities and Social Insects”

East Pyne 205
April 4th, 2018,

This is a lecture about a disturbing lecture. In November 1933, Germany’s leading entomologist and pesticide pioneer is appointed President of the University of Munich. In his inaugural address he mobilizes his expertise to discuss possible similarities between the social insect colonies and the new Nazi regime, and how this will impact the role of the university and the relationship between students and instructors.

Geoff Winthrop-Young is Professor of German at the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver). His main research areas are German theories of media, materialities of communication and/or memory and theories of cultural evolution.

Sophomore Open House

Date: March 29, 2018
Time: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Place: East Pyne 207

 Hanna Schygulla in the lead role in R.W. Fassbinder’s 1974 adaptation of Fontane’s “Effie Briest” 

Thinking about majoring in German but unsure what exactly this might entail? Come to the Sophomore Open House to meet fellow undergraduates who are majoring in German as well as faculty members who can give you first hand insights into departmental life, classes, advising, summer support, etc. The Director of Undergraduate Studies Prof. Thomas Y. Levin will be on hand to answer any technical questions you may have about the different major tracks (where you have the choice to focus on literature, or media and aesthetics, or philosophy and intellectual history, or German Culture and Politics), about our study-abroad program in Berlin, about the much-beloved Summer Program in Munich, and our popular Summer Work Program. Come learn about the amazing range of interesting things that our majors go on to do after graduation —from Law School and Medical School to careers in Finance, from Graduate School and Teach for America to interesting positions in museums and new media companies like BuzzFeed. You’ll meet lots of interesting people, enjoy some tasty snacks, and who knows – you might just figure out what to major in! The students and faculty of the German Department look forward to meeting and speaking with you!

Refreshments will be served.

Image: Hanna Schygulla in the lead role in R.W. Fassbinder’s 1974 adaptation of Fontane’s “Effie Briest”

SWP Workshop Series

Cultural Vistas (Work Permit Waivers, Visas)
Date: March 29th
Time: 7:00PM
Location: East Pyne 011


Open to SWP Applicants for Summer 2018: What exactly is a “Work Permit Waiver”?
Who needs a visa to enter Germany?
What documents are required for SWP internships?
Join Cultural Vistas Senior Program Director Katerina Holubova for an informational session on the work authorization process and more.
RSVP by 3/16!


*Please note: you do not need to have a confirmed SWP internship for Summer 2018 to attend!

Prof. Dr. Insa Härtel (International Psychoanalytic-University Berlin)

“Sexuality as failure: Psychoanalytic concepts, cultural perspectives”

Date: March 13, 2018
Time: 4:30pm
Location: 106 McCormick

This lecture will examine the ways in which the so-called scandal of the sexual (Oberlehner 2005) is negotiated today. In Western societies a removal of the old sexual moral is predicated: there is talk, for example, of negotiating morals accompanied by the “demand for an agreed-upon, ratified sexual behavior” (Schmidt 1998). While there is of course much to be said for communicative consent, something nevertheless seems to escape consideration here. From a psychoanalytic perspective one might ask: what about sexuality in its potential dis-integrating quality? Shown in view of selected cultural productions, this lecture will confront the question as to what is missing in today’s cultural concepts of sexuality.

Organized by the Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society and co-sponsored by the Program in European Cultural Studies and the Department of German.

Prof. Dr. Daniel Weidner (Humboldt-U, Berlin)

“The Spirit, the Letter, and the Life of the Text: Schleiermacher’s Hermeneutics Revisited”

East Pyne 205
March 12 @ 4:30 pm

Schleiermacher’s hermeneutics are usually considered ‘idealist’, ‘romantic’, or essentially ‘Christian’. And indeed, they began as a series of lectures on the hermeneutics of the New Testament, a context that is usually neglected. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that Schleiermacher hardly uses spiritual exegesis or Einfühlung here, but rather deals with specific material problems raised by Biblical Criticism – the (Aramaic-Greek) mixed language of the New Testaments, its insecure textual basis and its composition from fragments. All these features of the New Testament are serious obstacles for grasping the text and transform Schleiermacher’s idealist and logocentric idea of understanding towards a hermeneutics of (written) scripture. The lecture insists on the need for a re-reading of Schleiermacher as a material hermeneutics and argues for a more complex conception of how the religious heritage influences hermeneutic theory.


Daniel Weidner (Institut für Kulturwissenschaft der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Acting Director of the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin)

Reshaping the Humanities and Sciences: The Berlin Lautabteilung in the 1920s

Princeton University German Department
Fall 2017 Lecture Series

Date: Thursday, November 16, 2016
Time: 4:30pm
Location: 205 East Pyne

Viktoria Tkaczyk (Humboldt U., Berlin; Max Plank Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
“Reshaping the Humanities and Sciences: The Berlin Lautabteilung in the 1920s”

This talk’s focus is the Lautabteilung (“sound department”) of the Prussian State Library, directed by the language teacher and phonetician Wilhelm Doegen in the 1920s. In terms of academic infrastructures, I trace how the Lautabteilung emerged from the Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission, led by Doegen with the aim of recording prisoners of war interned near Berlin during 1915 and 1918. Doegen’s later Sound Department continued to serve several state authorities in interwar Germany, and attempted to unite the potentials of a scholarly sound collection and an acoustic laboratory. It aimed to establish the gramophone as a novel research technology that could unite multiple disciplines ranging from linguistics and language studies to musicology, ethnology, anthropology, zoology, criminology, medicine, and psychology. I will look more closely at two projects incorporated by the department, in applied psychology (led by psychologist Fritz Giese) and applied linguistics (led by linguist Theodor Siebs), which reveal regulative and future-oriented projections of German labor policy and language use. These two projects marked an important shift from earlier visions of scientific sound archives, motivated by a historicist desire for exhaustiveness and conceived as serving the purposes of analysis, toward an understanding of sound archiving as applied research.

Viktoria Tkaczyk leads the Research Group “Epistemes of Modern Acoustics” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, and is a professor at the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She is currently working on the emergence of new techniques of “thinking with sound” in a range of disciplines around 1900, and on a long history of architectural acoustics.