I received my M.A. from the FU Berlin, my Ph.D. from Columbia University, taught for several years at the University of Chicago and most recently at the University of Minnesota. I also spent a year at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, where I worked on my book, Passions of the Sign: Revolution and Language in Kant, Goethe, and Kleist (Johns Hopkins UP, 2006). I'm a literary scholar with a fondness for theory, so most of my work is concerned with the intersection of literature with philosophy or psychoanalysis and with questions of literary form. But no matter what I write on, I seem to return to one abiding concern: to understand the conceptual underpinnings of Western modernity and their particular articulation in German culture. I have a rather grim view of our contemporary world—of the way we have organized our relations to each other and to nature—and I believe that in order to understand and change what has gone wrong, we have to explore the foundations and presuppositions of our thinking and doing. And for me, literature and philosophy are archives that hold our deepest thoughts and beliefs.
Passions of the Sign: Revolution and Language in Kant, Goethe, and Kleist (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).
"Ein Theater des Infinitesimalen: Musil und die Grenzen der Genauigkeit." InDilettantismus als Wissenschaft, ed. Safia Azzouni and Uwe Wirth (Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2010), 65-83.
"Language Unmoored: On Kleist's ‘The Betrothal in St. Domingo.'" Germanic Review85.1 (2010): 20-43.
"Form and Chance: The German Novella." In The Novel, ed. Franco Moretti (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 1053-1123. [Translated into Italian, German, Korean, Turkish]
"Anton Reiser, Case History, and the Emergence of Empirical Psychology." In New History of German Literature, ed. David Wellbery (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2004), 409-414.
"Über die plötzliche Verwandlung der Geschichte durchs Sprechen: Kleist und das Ereignis der Rede." Kleist-Jahrbuch (2002): 154-164.