Assistant Professor of German
I joined the department of German and Russian Studies at Binghamton University in September 2014 after completing my Ph.D. at Cornell University in May of the same year.
I have published on Alfred Döblin, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and the science fiction of East Germany, among other topics, and in the near future I plan to expand my forays into the New Vision photography of the 1920s, German language science fiction, and Philosophical Anthropology. Speaking broadly, my research is interested in the various ways in which popular genres or visual practices, for example, probe their own historical conditions and aesthetic circumstances in various interdisciplinary ways.
Recent courses include "Introduction to Marx and Critical Theory," "Cyborgs & Maschinenmenschen in German Literature and Culture," "Learning to See: Art & Media in Weimar Germany," "Intermediate German I," "Texts and Contexts II," "Staging Revolutions," and "Transnational Science Fictions."
Biological Modernism: The New Human in Weimar Culture (Northwestern University Press, 2019) identifies an intellectual current in the Weimar Republic that drew on biology, organicism, vitalism, and other discourses associated with living nature in order to redefine the human being for a modern, technological age. Contrary to the assumption that any turn toward the organic indicated a reactionary flight from modernity or a longing for wholeness, Biological Modernism argues that biology and other discourses of living nature offered a nuanced way of theorizing modernity rather than fleeing from it.
Organic life, instead of representing a stabilizing sense of wholeness, by the 1920s had become a scientific, philosophical, and disciplinary problem. In their work, figures such as Alfred Döblin, Ernst Jünger, Helmuth Plessner, and August Sander interrogated the relationships between technology, nature, and the human, and thus also radically reconsidered the relationship between the disciplines as well as the epistemological and political consequences for defining the human being. Biological Modernism will be of interest to scholars of German literature and culture, literary modernism, photography, philosophical anthropology, twentieth-century intellectual history, the politics of culture, and the history of science.
Selected article publications
- "Alien Evolution and Dialectical Materialism in Eastern European Science Fiction." Science Fiction Circuits of the East and South, edited by Anindita Banerjee and Sonja Fritzsche, Peter Lang, 2018. 101–134.
- “Döblins ‘Mutterlauge’ vom Expressionismus bis zur Schicksalsreise. Laufbahn einer interdisziplinären Denkfigur.” Internationales Alfred-Döblin-Kolloquium Zürich 2015. Exil als Schicksalsreise. Alfred Döblin und das Literarische Exil 1933–1950, edited by Sabina Becker and Sabine Schneider, Peter Lang, 2017, pp. 287–297.
- "'Ersticken im Stofflichen' – Characters as Collectives in Alfred Döblin's Wallenstein." The German Historical Novel Since the Nineteenth Century, ed. Daniela Richter. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. 97–125.
"Breaking Open Utopia: Science Fiction as Critique in the GDR." Monatshefte 107.3 (2015): 468–482.
- "'Jetzt kommt das Leben': The Technological Body in Alfred Döblin's Berge Meere und Giganten." The German Quarterly 88.3 (2015): 291–316.
- "Simply Reproducing Reality: Brecht, Benjamin, and Renger-Patzsch on Photography." German Studies Review 37.3 (2014): 549–573.
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