Archive | Events

Music From Theresienstadt [Terezín]

Date: November 9th, 2019
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Chancellor Green Rotunda

Student playing violin and reading music

The Department of German and Princeton Chamber Music Society presents an evening of string quartet.
Light reception to follow.
Open to public.

Pizzapause and Kaffeestunde!


Tuesdays 12pm – 1pm
East Pyne 207
There will be Pizzapause with free pizza.

Wednesdays 12pm – 1pm
East Pyne 207
There will be Kaffeestunde, with free coffee and donuts.

Both events are open to everyone, including undergraduate/graduate students of all disciplines, who wants to speak German outside the classroom setting.
Please come by and claim your loot including free pizza, donuts, and coffee, and speak German! And plunder the treasures of the German department.
For more information or to be on the mailing list, e-mail:

Storyworlds: Open-ended Story Universes Across Time, Cultures, and Media

Date: November 16th, 2019
Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Location: Julis Romo Rabinowitz 399

The German Department is pleased to announce that Ann Marie Rasmussen, the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies at the University of Waterloo, will spend the 2019-20 academic year in Princeton as the Stanley Kelley Jr. Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching in the Department of German.

The workshop topic, Storyworlds, has been a focus of Professor Ann Marie Rasmussen’s teaching and research for the past five years. This is a collection of essays on the topic that is structured around interdisciplinary exchange across cultures and time (especially medieval and modern), and disciplines (especially literary studies and social science). The workshop will bring together the contributors to the volume to share chapter drafts.


Laura Beard, Associate Vice-President (Research) and Professor, Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Alberta, Canada.

Ingrid Bennewitz, Professor, University of Bamberg, Germany.

Eileen C. Chow, Visiting Associate Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, North Carolina, USA.

Kate Elliott, Author of Young Adult and Fantasy Literature, Hawaii, USA.

Fritz Mayer, Dean of the Korbel School of International Relations, University of Denver, Colorado, USA.

Adam Oberlin, Senior Lecturer, Department of German, Princeton University.

Ann Marie Rasmussen, Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker Memorial Chair in German Literary Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada.

Carlos Rojas, Professor, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University, North Carolina, USA.

Markus Stock, Associate Professor of German and Principal , University College, University of Toronto, Canada.

Clare Woods, Associate Professor of Classics and Director, Thompson Writing Program, Duke University, North Carolina, USA.


Map of nassau inn to campus with path to EPYNE and Rabinowitz highlighted

Open to interested Princeton students and faculty

Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock: “Places of Remembrance”

Date: Tuesday, November 5th
Time: 4:30pm – 6:00pm
Where: East Pyne 2nd Floor Bridge and Room 205

This event begins on the second floor bridge of the East Pyne Building next to Stih & Schnock’s two light boxes, which depict a decentralized memorial installed in remembrance of Jews living in the Bayerisches Viertel (a neighborhood in Berlin – Schoeneberg) during the Third Reich. It demonstrates how the decrees set by the National Socialists systematically forced Jews out of daily life and gradually robbed them of basic rights. Isolation and discrimination paved the way for deportations and mass murder.

The talk then moves to East Pyne 205, where the artists will discuss their concept of social sculpture, the artistic examination of public space, and the relevance of history and collective memory. The artists will present further projects in Berlin and in Sarajevo.

Street sign post referring to 1942 and no juden on benches

Robert Pippin (University of Chicago): “Adorno, Aesthetic Negativity, and the Problem of Idealism”

Date: November 6th, 2019
Time: 4:30pm – 6:00pm
Location: East Pyne 205
Speaker: Professor Robert B. Pippin, The Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

One of Adorno’s most sweeping and frequent characterizations of his project in Aesthetic Theory has it that the “task that confronts aesthetics today” is an “emancipation from absolute idealism” (165). The context and the phrase itself make explicit that he means Hegel, but only in so far as Hegel represents the culmination and essence of modern philosophy itself, or what he calls “identity thinking.” He means by this that reflection on art should be freed from any aspiration for any reconciliationist relation with contemporary society, or any sort of role in the rationalization of any basic aspect of late modernity; that is in capitalist, bourgeois society. Hegel and his absolute idealism represent the epitome of what must be rejected. Does it matter, beyond the issue of scholarly accuracy, if Adorno’s version of Hegelian idealism is incorrect, more in the way of a very broad-stroke textbook summary than a confrontation with the thing itself? It would matter if Adorno’s position is framed in terms that are incomplete and unclear from the start, and if that problematic framing derives from how he understands his opposition to Hegel and to idealism. I want to suggest something like this in this lecture, more in the way of trying to show how Hegel’s aesthetics could be of help in the completion and clarification of Adorno’s chief cluster of terms in his account of art in the present age – the negative, or negativity, or the non-identical.

Sponsored by the Department Of German

Summer Work Program 2020 Information Session

Date: October 10th, 2019
Time: 6:00pm
Place: East Pyne 011

Spend the summer in Germany!
Session will discuss application, deadlines, and help answer your questions in preparation for the 2020 Summer Work Program

Writing Prose: Narrative Forms and Social Communication in Goethe’s Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten

Lecture by Professor em. Inka Mülder-Bach of German and Comparative Literature at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich and visiting professor at the Department of German in Princeton.

Date: October 10, 2019
Time: 4:30pm
Location: East Pyne 205

The concept of prose is unique in that it is the only rhetorical term that has gained prominence as a central metaphor of modernity. Since the 18th century this concept has been marked by an irreducible ambiguity. On the one hand, it refers to a written idiom not constrained by metrical regulations. On the other hand, it designates a modern “sphere of thought” and a modern “state of the world” (Hegel) that find their adequate expression in this idiom. To write prose not only means to write in a language of prose. It means to write a language of prose and thus, mediated through language, to write a certain condition of the world.

The lecture will discuss how this correlation informs Goethe’s 1795 collection of novellas Unterhaltungen deutscher Ausgewanderten (Conversations of German Refugees). Not only at the level of content but in the very forms and structures that bind its narrative prose this collection addresses the question of the social bonds and the fabric of society in an age of prose.


Sponsored by the Princeton German Department. Lecture open to the public.

T’ai Smith (University of British Columbia): “Historiography of the Trend”

Workshop Speaker: T’ai Smith, University of British Columbia
Date: October 22, 2019
Time: 12:00 – 1:20pm
Location: 399 Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building

Lunch will be provided

A Historiography of the Trend
This talk seeks to examine the Trend as a model of history. The shape of trends can be seen in statistical graphs as “time series”— a set of points that index and calculate the transient movement of prices or populations. In fashion, trends articulate the changing cut of clothes but also the roving desires of the masses. If the Trend describes a fleeting pattern of collective wills, social movements, and psychic formations, it has also provided philosophers and economists with a model of history. Trend forecasting purports to be of the future, yet it is rooted in a method of calculating time that dates to the eighteenth century. How, then, does a historiography of the Trend reshape (art) history?

T’ai Smith is Associate Professor of Art History at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Her research focuses on textiles, fashion, media, and design through philosophical and economic discourses. Author of Bauhaus Weaving Theory: From Feminine Craft to Mode of Design (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), she has published in various journals, including Art Journal, Grey Room, Texte zur Kunst, and ZMK (Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung). Her essays have appeared in catalogues for MoMA NY, Tate Modern, and the ICA Boston. She is currently completing two book manuscripts: “Fashion After Capital,” and “Textile Media: Tangents in Contemporary Art and Thought.”

Co-sponsored with the German Department

“A monster in its breadth and length”: Schiller’s Wallenstein and the Poetics of Scale, 1798–2007

Date: September 26, 2019
Time: 4:30pm
Place: East Pyne 205

Lecture speaker: Carlos Spoerhase, Professor of German Literature, Bielefeld University

What happens when works are expanded or shortened? How does scale relate to literary form, and how do changes in size qualitatively impact a work of literature? This talk will explore the German play most famous for its gigantic length – Friedrich Schiller’s „Wallenstein“ – and its reception up to the present day, using Schiller’s work as an opportunity to theorize general aspects of scale and scaling in literature.

Carlos Spoerhase is Professor of Modern German Literature at Bielefeld University and has written on contemporary literature and the humanities for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Merkur, and New Left Review. His most recent book is Das Format der Literatur: Praktiken materieller Textualität zwischen 1740 und 1830 (Göttingen, 2018).

Hannah Arendt, Karl Jaspers, and the Nobel Prize: Examining the Archival Record

Graduate Student Workshop
Date: September 27, 2019
Time: 12:00 Noon
Location: East Pyne 205

To reconstruct the history of the Nobel Prize and its impact would be a task of staggering dimensions. Nevertheless, letters and archival documents offer a glimpse into its workings. Taking recent scholarship in the sociology of literature as a starting point, the workshop will examine Hannah Arendt’s efforts to secure a Nobel Prize for Karl Jaspers as a case study in the globalization of literary life following the Second World War.

Carlos Spoerhase is Professor of Modern German Literature at Bielefeld University and has written on contemporary literature and the humanities for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Merkur, and New Left Review. His most recent book is Das Format der Literatur: Praktiken materieller Textualität zwischen 1740 und 1830 (Göttingen, 2018).

205 classroom workshop with Carlos Spoerhase at front

Carlos Spoerhase leading today’s graduate workshop