The Frankfurt School on Israel

March 14, 2016

Jack Jacobs

Jack Jacobs

On March 14, 2016, Jack Jacobs (Political Science, John Jay College – CUNY) presented a paper titled “The Frankfurt School on Israel.” The lecture began with Jacobs’s explanation of the fact that the Institute for Social Research at the Goethe University in Frankfurt was never an explicitly Jewish institution. At first it concerned itself primarily with topics related to the labor movement, socialism, and economic history. From 1931 onward – during Max Horkheimer’s tenure as the institute’s director when Critical Theory also began to crystallize – the institute’s desire was to promote interdisciplinary research on major questions. [Read more…]

Schoenberg’s Broken Medium: Rethinking the Rule of Form after Wagner

March 11, 2016

Sarah Pourciau

Sarah Pourciau

On March 11, 2016, Sarah Pourciau (Princeton University) presented her paper “Schoenberg’s Broken Medium: Rethinking the Rule of Form after Wagner” in the IGCS colloquium. Carefully reading theoretical works by Richard Wagner and Arnold Schoenberg, Pourciau considered how both composers overcome teleology in their specific handling of musical form in relation to music as a time-dependent artistic medium. In creating the twelve-tone compositional technique, Pourciau argues, Schoenberg establishes an entirely new way for musical matter to attain a form in its temporal unfolding. [Read more…]

Relationality at the Boundary: Kant’s Other-Freedom

February 25, 2016

Gabriela Basterra

Gabriela Basterra

On February 25, 2016, Gabriela Basterra (NYU) presented a lecture at the A.D. White House titled “Relationality at the Boundary: Kant’s Other-Freedom,” co-sponsored by the department of Africana Studies. In her talk, Basterra examined Kant’s Third Antinomy in the Critique of Pure Reason, arguing that Kant’s notion of freedom ostensibly maintains the integrity of the non-alienated subject over natural necessity. [Read more…]

Spring 2016 Colloquium Series: Brains: Forms of Life in German Modernism

February 19, 2016

Andreas Gailus

Andreas Gailus

In a colloquium on February 19, 2016, Andreas Gailus (University of Michigan) presented a paper titled “Brains: Forms of Life in German Modernism,” which is part of his current book project, titled Forms of Life.  The project analyzes and critically examines the co-emergence of aesthetics and biology at the end of the eighteenth century in the context of a particularly German obsession with organicist and vitalist figures of thought.  [Read more…]

Spring 2016 Colloquium Series: Medientheorien des Buches

February 5, 2016

Carlos Spoerhase

Carlos Spoerhase

In his colloquium presentation “Medientheorien des Buches,” Carlos Spoerhase (Humboldt University, Berlin) examined Paul Valéry, Walter Benjamin, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s respective theorizations of the book as medium. These reflections, Spoerhase noted, were written during the 1920s when aesthetic considerations of print media increasingly turned to the more “ephemeral” forms of the newspaper and the poster. Following Valéry’s essay “Two Virtues of a Book,” Spoerhase suggested that there were “two fundamental modes of perceiving book-formed [buchförmige] literature,” geometrically corresponding to the “line” and the “plane.”  Books are, on the one hand, “perfect machines” for linear, incremental reading. [Read more…]

Walter Benjamin in Voice Land

January 28, 2016

Philippe Baudouin

Philippe Baudouin

Philippe Baudouin, philosopher and broadcast director at France Culture (Radio France/Paris) and author of Au microphone – Dr. Walter Benjamin, presented his current work on critical theorist Walter Benjamin and radio, “Walter Benjamin in Voice Land,” at Cornell on January 28, 2016. Baudouin discussed not only Benjamin’s theorization of the medium of radio, on which Benjamin has comparatively few writings, but also Benjamin’s career on the radio, which spanned from August 1929 to January 1935. [Read more…]

Fall 2015 Colloquium Series: Klopstock’s “Darstellung” and the Cult of Aesthetic Experience

December 4, 2015

Matteo Calla

Matteo Calla

On December 4, 2015, Matteo Calla (Cornell University) concluded the Fall 2015 colloquium Series. Calla presented a paper titled “Klopstock’s Darstellung and the Cult of Aesthetic Experience,” which is based on an eponymous dissertation chapter. Recuperating Klopstock’s communitarian project against readings that have limited Klopstock’s poetics to one of proto-romantic individualism, Calla identifies moments in Klopstock’s ode “Die künftige Geliebte” that serve to signify totality in their thwarting of referential signification, and draws more fundamental connections between Klopstock’s poems and theoretical writings. [Read more…]

Fall 2015 Colloquium Series: Clouded Visions: Particulate Matter in F.W. Murnau’s “Faust”

November 20, 2015

Paul Dobryden

Paul Dobryden

On November 20, Paul Dobryden (Cornell) gave a presentation titled “Clouded Visions: Particulate Matter in F.W. Murnau’s Faust” as part of the Fall 2015 colloquium series. The presentation foreshadows Dobryden’s upcoming book project, tentatively titled Vaporized: Modernity, Materiality, and the Aesthetics of Dispersion, which will investigate the aesthetic utilization of aerosols and other airborne particles in visual media around the turn of the twentieth century. [Read more…]

Wrong Sex and the City: Polish Work Migration and Subaltern Masculinity

November 16, 2015

On November 16, Dirk Uffelmann (University of Passau) gave a presentation titled “Wrong Sex and the City: Polish Work Migration and Subaltern Masculinity.” Uffelmann’s presentation was organized by Jane Juffer (English/ FGSS) and co-sponsored by Cornell’s Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The lecture tackled the paradoxical self-proletarianization and the intersection of gender and class in the prose by Polish migrants to Germany, Ireland, and the UK in the 1980s. [Read more…]

Fall 2015 Colloquium Series: Mosenthal’s “Deborah” and the Politics of Compassion: Anatomy of a Tear-Jerker

November 6, 2015

Jonathan Hess

Jonathan Hess

On November 6, 2015, Jonathan Hess (UNC, Chapel Hill) presented “Mosenthal’s Deborah and the Politics of Compassion: Anatomy of a Tear-Jerker.” Professor Hess’s paper is a draft of the opening chapter of a monograph currently in progress, concerning the transnational performance history of the nineteenth-century stage hit, Salomon Hermann Mosenthal’s Deborah (1849), a play translated into fifteen languages and performed around Europe and North America. [Read more…]