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The fate of the human and that of the earth share an unprecedented entanglement on an increasingly imperiled planet. My teaching and research seeks to address this, our current ecological state of affairs, through multiple lines of inquiry. In particular I have found that a remarkable group of 19th and 20th century German thinkers and writers, who through their literary writings sought to open up the imagination to a geological time scale, might help us to better understand our place in life on Earth and our unique human response-ability for the planet.
To this end I have recently completed two book-length projects: The Geological Unconscious: German Literature and the Mineral Imaginary (Fordham UP, 2020), which articulates the shared “minerality” of the human and the earth in literature since 1800, and a translation of Sonja Neef’s Der babylonische Planet. Kultur, Übersetzung, Dekonstruktion unter den Bedingungen der Globalisierung (The Babylonian Planet: Culture and Encounter under Globalization, Bloomsbury, forthcoming), a wide-ranging study of language and globalization in a time of mass migration.
The love of language and literature has played the predominant role in my education, and it continues to do so in my teaching and research. I bring this commitment into my teaching through the cultivation of an affective relationship—a philia—to language, one which is informed by my work translating Werner Hamacher’s For—Philology (in: Minima Philologica, Fordham UP, 2015). My teaching is also informed by a breadth of experience that includes several public and private universities, a two-year college, a Samstagschule, and a camp for asylum-seekers in Berlin.
Through my interest in ecological thought I have also been involved in a number of academic and para-academic institutions, including the Institute for Critical Climate Change (IC3), a collaborative working group in the SUNY system, and Open Humanities Press (OHP), the open-access publishing collective where I co-edit Feedback, a curated blog in critical and cultural theory.