My research and teaching centers around three main areas of expertise: (1) cultural and critical theory from Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud to the Frankfurt School and post-structuralist criticism; (2) the history and theory of scientific cultures; and (3) the rise and fall of the medium of literature from the 18th century to the present. I have written two monographs: Epistemologie des Extremen: Lustmord in Kriminologie und Literatur um 1900 (Fink 2012) reconstructs the creation of criminological knowledge in light of modernist poetics and the narrative strategies invoked in the objectification of the criminal; The Case of Literature: Forensic Narratives from Goethe to Kafka (Cornell UP 2020) offers an investigation into the history of the literary case study from its emergence in the 18th century to its peculiar role in the development of Freud's psychoanalysis. In addition, I am the co-editor of various journal issues and thematic volumes on Kafka's institutions, the role of narrative for the production of scientific cognition, practices of citation, and on materiality and literature in the 19th century. Most recently, I have been interested in the history of the psychiatric and cultural concept of paranoia and how it can help us understand the re-emergence and rise of sovereign forms of authority in the 20th and the 21st centuries. I received my MA from the Humboldt-University in Berlin in 2002, and my PhD from Johns Hopkins University in 2008. Before coming to CU, I taught at Wesleyan University and NYU.
I welcome undergraduate and graduate students to discuss your research projects with me and if you believe that my areas of expertise are relevant for your own studies, I will happily consider joining your committee.
I regularly teach "The Frankfurt School," "Tracing the Criminal," and "Inside Nazi Germany".
Next course to be taught in Spring 2021
States of Emergency and the Logic of Crises
The seminar investigates manifestations of power and authority by focusing on the concept of the state of emergency from Carl Schmitt's famous definition of sovereignty, Walter Benjamin's Critique of Violence, and Hannah Arendt's study of totalitarianism, to Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer, and Naomi Klein's "disaster capitalism". We will look into the history of crises and how crises have influenced perceptions of historical progress. From natural catastrophe and war, to terrorism and the global Covid-19 pandemic, we will discuss how crises have driven the demand for sovereign forms of authority.