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Visiting Max Kade Professor Elisa Ronzheimer Joins VU Spring 2024

Posted by on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 in Faculty News.


Universitaet Bielefeld
Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 1288: Praktiken des Vergleichens.
Die Welt ordnen und veraendern.

Elisa Ronzheimer is a scholar of German and comparative literature at Bielefeld University. In her research, she is interested in contemporary poetry and theories of the lyric, historical, and contemporary cultures of sensibility and practices of comparison in literature and literary theory. Currently, Elisa works on a book about the concept of style in twentieth-century literary studies.

She completed her Ph.D. in German literature at Yale University in 2018, with a dissertation on theories of poetic rhythm in the late eighteenth century (Poetologien des Rhythmus um 1800: Metrum und Versform bei Klopstock, Hölderlin, Novalis, Tieck und Goethe, Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter 2020). Before coming to Yale, she studied German and French literature at Bonn University and the Sorbonne Paris.

Elisa will teach two courses at Vanderbilt University this Spring 2024:

EUS 2240: The Age of Sensibility | TR 1:15-2:30

European Novels of the Eighteenth Century Many cultural conflicts center around questions of sensibility: Employing gender sensitive language has become a matter of public debate, and the use of trigger warnings in media and education has been widely discussed. There have been disputes over how to handle microaggressions, and words like crybaby or snowflakes are used to offend people that are considered too sensitive. These conflicts over how much sensibility is good for society are actually not a new phenomenon they originated in the eighteenth-century culture of sensibility. In this course, we will explore the origins of modern sensibility by reading European novels of the eighteenth century (authors will include Samuel Richardson, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Wolfgang Goethe). We will discuss how the historical culture of sensibility promoted modern binary and non-binary ideas of gender, how it related to the formation of a new social class (the bourgeoisie), and what it had to do with historical media changes like the shift from an oral to a written culture.


GER 4555: Contemporary German Poetry | TR 9:30-10:45

For a long time, poetry has been considered a serious and difficult art form, accessible only to the few. But its image has changed in recent times today, poetry can be found everywhere, and it apparently can be written by anyone. Poems are shared on social media, recited at presidential inaugurations, and they decorate public spaces such as building facades or subway trains. We will explore the current revival of poetry as a popular art form by reading contemporary poetry by German-speaking poets. We will look at how contemporary poetry moves between different languages and different media (online and print, image and video, music and performance) and we will discuss how our ideas of who can be a poet are currently changing (authors will include not only humans but also algorithms and AI). You will be invited to pursue these topics by interactively engaging with poetry not just through silent readings but also through writing experiments and recitals.

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