William Stewart joined the Department of German in 2015 after working for a number of years in the studio of Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. His dissertation traces a cultural and intellectual history within German-speaking contexts in the decades after the Second World War, one marked by a left-political commitment to rationalism and technology. Through case studies including Max Bense, the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm, Oswald Wiener, Hanne Darboven, and Uwe Johnson, it considers how the then-new fields of cybernetics and information theory continued older intellectual and political projects such as Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encylopédie or Leibniz’s mathesis universalis. Since 2018, he has also been a member of Princeton’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM), and for the 2018–2019 academic year, he is a Fulbright scholar in Germany.
The Aesthetic and Political States of Post-War “Encyclopedism”