The end of the year has been very busy for me, so busy indeed that I have failed to share the good news: The Corporation in the Nineteenth-Century American Imagination has been published and can be ordered here. It is my study of the corporate form in nineteenth-century US-American law, literature, and culture. I show how the collective nature of the corporation was increasingly displaced in and yet continued to haunt the American imaginary, how it evoked fears of conscpiracy as well as visions of cooperation, and how it was entangled in the emergence of the US as an empire. For that, I draw on literary texts including Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s The Squatter and the Don, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Bravo, Frank Norris’ The Octopus and Charles W. Chesnutt’s „The Partners“. Take a look and let me know what you think!
What a year this has been: I have had the good fortune to teach and discuss my research at Augsburg University this summer, Simone Knewitz and I succesfully hosted our conference „Corporations, Communities, Crowds: The Aesthetics of Collective Agency in Twenty-First Century Culture“ (sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation), and now, Edinburgh University Press is about to publish my book The Corporation in the Nineteenth-Century American Imagination. In fact, you can already preorder it here.
Our latest network meeting took place over the course of two weeks: with an in-person workshop with Joshua Clover at the University of Bonn and an online workshop with Caroline Levine. Surprisingly (or perhaps not?), as we talked about how literature creates models and what their properties are, our conversations with both quickly moved into the sphere of activism and the work that forms do in this sphere. In different ways both addressed the issue of forms‘ temporality: how to make organizations (in the BROADEST sense) sustaining and sustaining. For more information on what we do in our network, see here.
The essay collection Reading the Social in American Studies, which I co-edited with Astrid Franke (Tuebingen) and Katja Sarkowsky (Augsburg), has just been published. The authors discuss the ways in which literature and other media explore, capture, and critically engage with what we broadly call ‚the social.‘ The volume speaks to my research in the field of relational sociology as well as what was once called literary sociology: interdisciplinary approaches that focus on combining the theoretical models and concepts of relational sociology with narratology and literary theory.
During the 2022 summer semester, I will be a visiting professor at the Jakob-Fugger-Zentrum (JFZ), the Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Cultural Studies and Social Sciences at the University of Augsburg. I will be collaborating with Prof. Katja Sarkowsky on a project on citizenship in law and literature, and I will be teaching classes at the Dpt. for English and American Studies at the University of Augsburg. I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity!
A conference workshop at the crack of dawn: at the end of November, I will be participating at this year’s Conference of the Law, Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia, and because it is a hybrid conference – part offline, part online – my presentation takes place in the early morning hours. Luckily, the conference organizers have chosen an inspiring theme and have been nothing but cheerful in all their correspondences so far. Exploring the Theme of „Law and Love (in and beyond Pandemic Times)“, my talk will focus on a much neglected issue in corporate culture and storytelling: the representation of women and the frequent absence of love and self-care from their narratives.
The new DFG funded network Model Aesthetics: Between Literary and Economic Knowledge has launched! It is dedicated to explore „the intersections of literary aesthetics and economic knowledge through the lens of modeling,“ and I have the privilege to be a member. My research focuses on „Sustainable Aesthetics“ and explores literary models of sustainability.
Recently, part of our group presented their work at the Literary Modelling and Energy Transition conference at WWU Münster, which was an event organized by the local LMET network. You can find information on their research on models and modelling here.
The Journal for English and American Studies (Zeitschrift für Anglistik and Amerikanistik) just published my article „“No more little boxes” – Poetic Positionings in the Literary Field“ as part of the special issue „How to Read the Literary Market,“ edited by Dustin Breitenwischer and Johannes Voelz. You can find it here.
The collection Laboring Bodies and the Quantified Self, edited by Ulfried Reichardt (Mannheim) and Regina Schober (Duesseldorf) is out! It contains my article „‚To Be Reckoned in the Gross‘: Corporate Storytelling and Quantified Selves in Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End,“ and a preview is available here.
This week my article „The Silence of the Soulless Corporation: Corporate Agency in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Bravo“ was published online. It is among the latest articles of the journal Law & Literature, and it presents some of the research that is the subject of my monograph project on the corporation in nineteenth-century law, literature, and culture.
You can find the article here.