Associate Professor of German
Director of Undergraduate Studies (German)
I joined the department of German and Russian Studies at Binghamton in 2014. In my research I explore topics related to the literature, culture, and thought of the Weimar Republic, German modernism, Philosophical Anthropology, photography, science fiction, and critical theory. A common theme of my scholarship is an interest in the ways in which writers grappled with concepts of modernity, modernization, and modernism.
I teach courses ranging from third-semester German to larger courses taught in English, which are frequently cross-listed in the departments of Art History, Cinema, Comparative Literature, English, and Philosophy. These courses cover diverse topics including 18th to 21st-century literature, visual culture and film, literary theory, and critical theory. Recent courses include “Learning to See: Art & Media in Weimar Germany,” “Introduction to Marx & Critical Theory,” “Staging Revolutions,” “Cold War Science Fictions,” "Intermediate German I," and "Texts and Contexts II."
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.
Selected article publications
- "Anthropology, Philosophy, and Politics in Weimar Germany—Helmuth Plessner in Translation" (review essay). The Germanic Review 94 (2019): 363–370.
- "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.
Office: Library Tower 1408A
Fall 2020 office hours:
- Tuesdays 2:30–4:30 (drop-in) https://binghamton.zoom.us/j/92973142426
- Thursdays 10–12 (email me to schedule an appointment)
Profile and publications available at the open access repository of the MLA Commons: https://mla.hcommons.org/members/cgelderloos/