Humboldt and Bonpland in the Jungle_painting 1850

Fall 2017 course: German 267: Colonial Theory and German Colonial Literature

June 23, 2017

Please watch for the course site of my Fall semester seminar on Colonial Theory and German Colonial Literature. I aim to get the most important parts of it posted in July and early August, 2017.

For now, I'm posting a list of texts that you can either purchase independently or order from Schoenhof's Foreign Books online (instructions will be posted. This list includes literary texte only. Theoretical and other texts will be posted on the course website.

Robert Musil seminar

July 1, 2015

I will be giving a graduate seminar on Robsrt Musil (German 243) in Fall 1015. Texts will be read in German and discussed in English. Undergraduates with good reading abilities in German are welcome  to apply for acceptance (email me at We will read several of Musil's extraordinary short narratives ("Vereinigungen" and "Drei Frauen," and will then begin to familiarize ourselves with his great unfinished novel Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften. I am working now on innovative ways to cope with this substantial, but...

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"Durs Grünbeins antike Dispositionen"

June 27, 2015

The essay appeared in  DDR: Eine Archivexpedition, ed. Ulrich von Bülow and Sabine Wolf (Berlin: Christian Links Verlag, 2914)

Exploring  Grünbein;s relation to Latin as a language and to literary works in Latin by Catullus and Ausonius, the essay widens the focus to examine Grünbein's ideas about the Roman Empire, especially its depiction in Hermann Broch's novel The Death of Virgil.


Conference at University of Kent, Canterbury UK

June 16, 2014

I'll be presenting a keynote address at a conference at the University of Kent in Canterbury (June 23-24, 2014). Organized by Ian Cooper and Deborah Holmes under the aegis of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the conference explores questions of short narrative in nineteenth-century German realism. I'll be speaking on Stifter, Raabe, and Sebald (yes, Sebald is not a nineteenth-century realist--or is he?)

Models for German Studies for the Millenium

April 25, 2014

With Eric Rentschler, I have convened a small colloquium at which Ph.D.s from the German department who are currently teaching at various types of academic institutions will return to campus to discuss new perspectives on German Studies. Their contributions will be based on their experience in the field as well as on new ideas they would like to see brought to it. There will be six speakers and two panel moderators. We anticipate that discussion will be lively. A reception will end the afternoon.

Time and place: Friday, April 25, 2-6 pm, Thompson Room, Barker Center,...

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The Novel After Theory (click for more information)

November 9, 2011

The book focuses on the relation between French poststructuralist theory and novels from the past few decades. In contrast to other studies that use theory as a framework for understanding texts, The Novel After Theoryargues that many novels "write back" to individual theories, exposing their weaknesses and blind spots. Some of the most fascinating of these novels pose challenging questions about the ethical implications of the theories with which they engage. Marguerite Duras, David Foster Wallace, J.M. Coetzee, and W.G. Sebald are just a few of the writers whose works...

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