Stefani Engelstein
translated by André Hansen

Genealogisches Denken in der Literatur und den Wissenschaften der Moderne

De Gruyter, Berlin 2024, 325 pages
ISBN 978-3-111-24741-0 (Print); 978-3-111-24807-3 (PDF)

In the 19th century, genealogy became a leading method to organize historically mutable systems such as languages, biological species, religions, and so-called “races.” Genealogical thinking determines terms through their differentiation from others. This process does not generate singularities, only networks of relatedness. In such systems, sibling terms, meaning adjacent terms that are neither identical nor totally different, become active fault lines. They require one another, but have a destabilizing effect at the same time.

Engelstein connects a panoramic intellectual history to detailed analyses from the new disciplines of life and human sciences, thereby referring to other literary works by Goethe, Schiller, Percy Shelley, George Eliot, Richard Wagner, and Thomas Mann, among others. She discusses the consequences this paradigm shift generates for the understanding of subjectivity, political sciences and economics, as well as for the classification of humans, be it biological of philological.

This book offers a new theory on the structure of modern knowledge: a theory that permeates the boundaries between subjectivity and group identities. It thus creates a new basis for more flexible forms of belonging, self-identification, and the generation of knowledge.


Book presentation
17 Jul 2024 · 7.30 pm

Stefani Engelstein (Duke University/ZfL): Geschwister-Logik. Genealogisches Denken in der Literatur und den Wissenschaften der Moderne

Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Eberhard-Lämmert-Saal, entrance Meierottostr. 8, 10719 Berlin

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