Living Things, Human Beings: The Entanglements of the Organism
Significant criticism over the past few decades has investigated the emergence of a new discipline around 1800, with a newly-coined name, biology. The research project interrogated the ontological, epistemological, and social-political dimensions of the object this field constructed for itself—the organism. Indeed, the organism became a way to think through the relationship of dynamism and process to a concept of the object which, however, generated complicated notions of the subject. The book Living Things, Human Beings will focus in particular on discourses surrounding life processes that reveal the boundaries of any purported individual to be contested and contingent, for example, sexual reproduction, pregnancy, interspecies interdependencies, and organic-inorganic relations. These fraught interactions in which the human as organism was implicated therefore attracted institutional and ethical-normative buttressing.
Work on this project took place during a year-long sabbatical from Duke University during the 2021/2022 academic year. A second book project, Reflections from Germany on National Identity and Difficult Pasts, explored German engagement with responsibility for the Holocaust and reflects on its relevance for the US, also a country with a difficult past and diverse present (see also: Stefani Engelstein: How to Write as an Outsider About What It Means to Be German, in: ZfL Blog, 17 Dec 2021).
Fig. above: Christian Konrad Sprengel: Das endeckte Geheimniss der Natur im Bau und in der Befruchtung der Blumen. Gedruckt bei Friedrich Vieweg dem Ältern. Berlin 1793, , Taf. XIV.
- The Emergent Organism: Kielmeyer, Röschlaub, Schelling, and Novalis, in: Symphilosophie 3 (2021), 1–32
articles previously published on the contours of the organism in Kant, Fichte, Kleist, and Schelling:
- Sexual Division and the New Mythology: Goethe and Schelling, in: History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 42.39 (2020), special issue: Conceiving Reproduction in German Naturphilosophie, ed. by Susanne Lettow, Gregory Rupik
- Schelling’s Uncanny Organism, in: Christopher Clason, Michael Demson (eds.): Artful Designs: The Automata and Hidden Machinery of Global Romanticism. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press 2020, 167–185
- Love or Knowledge: Sexual Epistemology in Fichte and Kleist, in: Germanic Review 92.4 (Fall 2017), special issue: Writing Polarities: Romanticism and the Dynamic Unity of Poetry and Science, ed. by Leif Weatherby, Antje Pfannkuchen, 368–387
- The Allure of Wholeness: The Organism around 1800 and the Same-Sex Marriage Debate, in: Critical Inquiry 39.4 (2013), ed. by Frances Fergusen, Bill Brown, 754–776
Stefani Engelstein: Death Writes: Kafka’s Body, Tubercular Soundscapes, and the Place of Art
online via Zoom
Stefani Engelstein: Aesthetic Encounters and The Earth’s Transformations as Transmigration in Karoline von Günderrode
Stefani Engelstein: Disorienting Reverberations and Tubercular Soundscapes: Tracing the Place (and Time) of Art through Kafka’s “Der Bau”
Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Brechtbau, Wilhelmstr. 50, 72074 Tübingen, Raum 006
Stefani Engelstein: Race and Civics: Du Bois and Wagner
Universitätsclub Bonn e.V., Konviktstraße 9, 53113 Bonn
Antigone’s Afterlife in Feminist Theory: Bonnie Honigin Conversation with Stefani Engelstein
online via Zoom
Stefani Engelstein: Undomesticated Matters: An Epistemology of Race, Kinship, and Nation
online via Zoom