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Book Project

The Politics of Writing


This interdisciplinary intellectual history analyzes the role of written media in theories and representations of politics from the Enlightenment to the present. Drawing on humanistic fields such as media studies, philosophy, history, and comparative literature, I connect modern theories of power—from biopolitics to homo sacer and the politics of friendship—to the emergence of writing as an organizational practice and cultural trope. The project is simultaneously a philosophical history (of writing as a symbolic mode of power), an institutional history (of bureaucratic government, spanning medieval scrolls and codices to the modern written constitution), and a literary history of how these political changes are registered by a diverse, global range of writers, from Lessing to Lu Xun.

Articles & Essays
  • “Unwritten Constitutions: Schmitt, Hegel, and the Meaning of Verfassung,” German Studies Review 43.2 (May 2020): 251-270.

  • "Robert Musil's Encyclopedia of the Sciences," PSA: Journal of the Pirandello Society of America 32 (2020): 63-89.

  • "Free Play in German Idealism and Poststructuralism," in Goethe at Play: Theories, Narratives, and Practices of Play in the Age of Goethe, eds. Edgar Landgraf and Elliott Schreiber, Bucknell University Press: New Studies in the Age of Goethe Series (2020), 48-71.

  • "Strategic Indecision: Gender and Bureaucracy in Schiller's Maria Stuart," Goethe Yearbook 26 (2019): 123-40.

Recent Presentations
  • "Visions of Equality: Rancière contra Badiou," American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC (March 2019)

  • "Kant's Critique of Judgment and Postmodern Philosophy," Tsinghua Salon, Institute for World Literatures and Cultures, Tsinghua University, Beijing (December 2017)


  • "Free Play in Kant, Schiller, and Poststructuralism," German Studies Association Annual Conference, San Diego (October 2016)


  • "Spiel der Geschichte: ästhetische Wechselwirkung in Schillers späten Dramen," Forschungskolloquium Literarische Form, Universität Münster (June 2015)


  • "Book of Geneses: Nietzsche's Gay Science," German Dept., University of Minnesota (April 2015)


  • "Fascist Leftovers: The Case of the Left Heideggerians," Comparative Literature Dept., University of Michigan (March 2015)

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