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Hohendahl Graduate Essay Prize

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Call for Submissions: The Peter Uwe Hohendahl Graduate Essay Prize in Critical Theory

The Institute for German Cultural Studies is pleased to announce its 2018 call for submissions for The Peter Uwe Hohendahl Graduate Essay Prize in Critical Theory. This named prize honors a distinguished scholar of international renown for his many publications on German literatures of modernity, comparative intellectual histories, critical theory writ large and the Frankfurt School especially, and the history and desiderata of university education in Europe and North America. As Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of German Studies and Comparative Literature from 1977 to 2011, Peter Uwe Hohendahl taught and inspired many Cornell students on the importance of critical theory for public life and the collective good.

Essay submissions may be submitted in German or English on any topic pertaining to critical theory, and registered graduate students in any relevant field of study at Cornell University are eligible to apply. Only one submission per person. The author of the winning essay will be awarded a prize of $250.

Essays may be up to 25 double-spaced pages in length. Please submit your essay via email attachment to Olga Petrova ( by noon on October 15. In the body of the email please include your name, the essay title, your department, and your email address. The essay itself should have a title but not include your name anywhere.

The deadline for submission is October 15.

Entries should be submitted to Olga Petrova, Assistant to the Director of the Institute for German Cultural Studies, at

The Peter Uwe Hohendahl Graduate Essay Prize in Critical Theory is made possible by a generous gift from an anonymous donor.

Previous Winners:


1st prize: Conall Cash, Department of Romance Studies: “Structure and Subject in French Marxism: A Confrontation and its Pre‐History”

  Honorable Mention: Mariaenrica Giannuzzi, Department of German Studies: “Writing the Landscape: Paul Celan and Racial Uses of Natural History”


1st prize: Matthias Müller, Department of German Studies: “Space of Expectation: Franz Carl Weisskopf in the Soviet Union”


1st prize: Christina Soto van der Plas, Department of Romance Studies: “The Aesthetic Process as Reversal”


1st prize: Stephen Klemm, Department of German Studies: “Conscious, Consciousness, and Guilt in the Works of Fichte and Tieck”


1st prize: Kevin Duong, Government Department: “Georges Sorel and the Reactionary Politics of Intuition in Fin de Siecle France”


2nd prize: Johannes Wankhammer, Department of German Studies: “After Cosmos and Chaos: Reason in an Age of Contingency”


1st prize: Avery Slater, English Department: “Weltverlorenheit: Lyrical Ontology, Poetic Translation, and the Passive Voice of Extinction”


Honorable Mention: Daniel Bret Leraul, Department of Comparative Literature: “Life Formed: On the Early Lukács”


1st prize: Paul Flaig, Department of Comparative Literature: “Brecht, Chaplin and Marxism’s Comic Inheritance”


Honorable mention: Matteo Calla, Department of German Studies: “Adorno’s Critique of Benjamin’s Montage Aesthetics”


Honorable mention: Nathan Taylor, Department of German Studies: “Towards a Theory of Negative Realism in Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory”