Workshop (external)
20 Jun 2024 – 21 Jun 2024

Ecological Perspectives on the Nexus Rerum

Venue: ICI Berlin, Christinenstr. 18–19, Haus 8, 10119 Berlin
Organized by Alexandra Heimes (ZfL), Ross Shields (ICI), Johannes Wankhammer (Princeton University)

An event in cooperation with Princeton University and the ICI Berlin.

This workshop will explore an undercurrent of ecological thinking that dates back to rationalist theories of universal connectivity. Introduced in the wake of Leibniz’s theory of monads, the idea of a general connection of things (nexus rerum) became a key philosophical concept in the early- to mid-18th century, earning a 19-page entry in Zedler’s Grosses vollständiges Universal-Lexicon. Although the idea of an interconnected world was eventually eclipsed by the idealist turn of the late 19th century, its traces can still be discerned in the writings of Herder, Goethe, Humboldt, Schelling, Hegel, and even Kant, who displaced connection from the world (in itself) onto the transcendental subject of knowledge. This workshop will excavate this deep history of the nexus rerum, in the conviction that it represents not only a desideratum within the field of German Studies, but has the potential to contribute to contemporary transdisciplinary debates on ecocriticism and the environmental humanities: to theories of intersubjective interdependence, characterizations of the human/nature divide, and ecosocialist discussions of the ‘metabolic rift.’ Participants will address various aspects of this 18th century philological tradition, including its disparate reception by 20th century thinkers like Whitehead, Adorno, Simondon, Deleuze, Latour, Haraway, and Glissant.

Please contact if you would like to register for the workshop. Only a few spaces are available and those who are interested in joining should enclose a brief CV.

If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact the ICI event management.


Fig. above: James Bridle: My delight on a shining night (2018), detail, © James Bridle