Wednesday lecture
12 Jan 2022 · 6.30 pm

Friedrich Balke (Ruhr-Universität Bochum): Theatralität, Urteilssucht und Hassrede bei Karl Kraus (mit Blick auf die “Letzten Tage der Menschheit”)

Venue: Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Aufgang B, 3. Et., Trajekte-Tagungsraum

About his almost 800 page-long play The Last Days of Mankind (1926), Karl Kraus once stated: „Theatergoers of this world are not able to bear it.” But for whom, then, is such an unstageable play meant? And who is able to bear with Kraus at all, given that his writing and public readings are characterized by an appropriation of an excessive judicial power that pushes for the immediate execution of its judgements? Elias Canetti spoke of Karl Kraus’ obsession with judgement and also, similarly to Walter Benjamin, referred to the practice of citation as exposure that lies at its core. Starting from current debates on the escalation of ‘hate speech’ in social media and before the backdrop of the Krausian appropriation of judicial power, the lecture explores the critical functions of a literary speech that “exhausts the polemic possibilities to the core” (Benjamin) by quoting to destroy.

Friedrich Balke is a professor for media studies with special focus on the theory, history, and aesthetics of forms of visual documentation at the Institute for Media Studies at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and speaker of the DFG graduate research training group Documentary Practices: Excess and Privation.

Publications (selection):

  • Mimesis zur Einführung. Hamburg 2018
  • Ed.: Räume und Medien des Regierens. Paderborn 2015 (with Maria Muhle)
  • Ed.: Für alle und keinen. Lektüre, Schrift und Leben bei Nietzsche und Kafka. Berlin 2009 (with Joseph Vogl and Benno Wagner)
  • Figuren der Souveränität. Munich 2009
  • Ed.: Ästhetische Regime um 1800. Munich 2008 (with Leander Scholz and Harun Maye)
  • Der Staat nach seinem Ende. Die Versuchung Carl Schmitts. Munich 1996