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Roundtable Speakers

Paul Babinski is a Doctoral Candidate in the German Department at Princeton University, where his work relates to literary and media history in the early modern period through the early 19th century. His interests include reading practices, the history of philology, methods of image reproduction, book illustration, practices of collecting, categorization and compiling, and the history of pedagogical practices and publications. He is especially interested in the material circumstances of the transmission of information about the world into Germany, particularly collections of texts and art objects from the Ottoman Empire and India. Prior to Princeton, Babinski studied at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Matthew Birkhold is an Assistant Professor of German and Law at Ohio State University. His research and teaching interests span law and literature; environmental humanities; fan fiction, remixes and adaptations; indigenous peoples, cultural property and art law; German opera; and Goethezeit. He recently completed a book manuscript, Characters in the Commons: The Rise and Regulation of Fan Fiction in Eighteenth-Century Germany, on fan fiction, the history of the book, and intellectual property. He is currently at work on a cultural history of icebergs, among other projects. Birkhold holds a JD from Columbia University and a Ph.D from Princeton.

Vance Byrd is an Associate Professor of German at Grinnell College. He writes and teaches on topics related to media studies, history of the book and periodicals, museum studies, and environmental studies. His current projects range from a book-length investigation, Handmade History, on commemorative practices and panoramas in terms of immigration, capital, and material flows from around the world, to essays on the page format and the production aesthetics of sewing and embroidery patterns in 19th-century illustrated fashion periodicals. Vance Byrd is the author of A Pedagogy of Observation: Nineteenth-Century Panoramas, German Literature, and Reading Culture (Bucknell University Press, November 2017). Byrd received his Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mary Helen Dupree is an Associate Professor in the Department of German at Georgetown University. Her research interests include late- 18th and 19th century German literature and culture, gender, performance studies, and theories of sound and voice. Her recent projects have concentrated on the theory and practice of literary declamation in Germany from the mid- 18th century to present. Mary Helen Dupree is the author of The Mask and the Quill: Actress-Writers in Germany from Enlightenment to Romanticism (Bucknell University Press, 2011). Prior to Georgetown, Dupree completed her Ph.D in German Literature at Columbia and was a Postdoctoral Fellow for two years at Rice University.

Matt Erlin is a Professor of German at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on literary, cultural, and intellectual history of late 18th and early 19th century Germany. He is also a member of the steering committee of the University's Humanities Digital Workshop, where he collaborates with students and staff on several projects that use computational tools to challenge traditional notions of genre and period as they apply to 18th and 19th century German literature. Matt Erlin has published two books: Berlin’s Forgotten Future: City, History, and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century Germany (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), and Necessary Luxuries: Books, Literature, and the Culture of Consumption in Germany, 1770-1815 (Cornell, 2014). Erlin received his Ph.D in German from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000.

Sam Frederick is an Associate Professor of German at Pennsylvania State University, where his research and writing have taken on various topics in 19th and 20th century German literature, with particular focus on the Swiss and Austrian traditions. His interests also include narrative theory, and film history, and his current book project, The Poetics of Collecting: The Redemption of Things in German Realism and Modernism, draws on thing theory, information theory, and ecocriticism as well. He is also the author of Narratives Unsettled: Digression in Robert Walser, Thomas Bernhard, and Adalbert Stifter (Northwestern University Press, 2012). Frederick received his Ph.D in German Studies from Cornell University in 2008.

Alice Goff is an Assistant Professor of German History at the University of Chicago. An historian of German cultural and intellectual life in the modern period, her research and teaching center on the history of art and politics, museums, cultural preservation and the history of the humanities in German states and in the relation between Germany and the world. She is currently at work on a manuscript with the working title: The God Behind the Marble: Transcendence and the Art Object in the German Aesthetic State, 1794-1848. Goff received her Ph.D in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and she holds a masters degree in archives and records management. She maintains an active interest in contemporary archival and curatorial practice.

Jocelyn Holland is an Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests include the many intersections of literature, science and technology in the Enlightenment, the Goethe era, Romanticism, and philosophy of Nature. Her past projects have included a book-length study, Romanticism and Science: the Procreative Poetics of Goethe, Novalis and Ritter (Routledge, 2009), on the discourse on procreation in Romantic poetics, and, together with Susanne Strätling, the publication of a special edition of the journal Configurations titled Aesthetics of the Tool: Technologies, Figures and Instruments of Literature.

Ilinca Iurascu is an Assistant Professor of German at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests lie in 18th-20th century German and comparative literature, media theory, material culture studies, the realist novel, and film studies. Some of her projects have focused on letters and early cinema, the media histories of Christa Winsloe’s Girls in Uniform, and paper objects in 19th century German literature. She is currently preparing a book-length study exploring the transformation of the concept of banality in 19th-century German culture. Iurascu received her Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania and she holds a degree in Gender Studies from the Central European University.

Peter McIsaac is an Associate Professor of German at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His scholarship and teaching takes place at three junctures: the intersections of modern German literature, culture, and Museum Studies; the popular and scientific impulses shaping public anatomy exhibition from 1850-present; and digital humanities approaches to nineteenth-century German periodicals. Among his publications are the books Museums of the Mind: German Modernity and the Dynamics of Collecting (Penn State Press, 2007), and Exhibiting the German Past: Museums, Film, and Musealization (co-edited with Gabriele Mueller, University of Toronto Press, 2015). McIsaac received his Ph.D in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard, and before Michigan, he served as the Director of the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at York University.

Catriona MacLeod is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of German at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests include Romanticism, Goethe, 19th century literature, inter-arts and intermediality, narrative theory, and gender studies. She is the author of Embodying Ambiguity: Androgyny and Aesthetics from Wincklemann to Keller (Wayne State UP, 1998), and Fugitive Objects: Literature and Sculpture in the German Nineteenth Century (Northwestern UP, 2014). Her newest book project, Romantic Scraps, explores how Romantic authors and visual artists manipulate paper; generating paper cuts, collages, and inkblot poems to create striking new hybrid forms. Much of her recent work has been devoted to word and image studies and material culture in the context of German Classicism and Romanticism. MacLeod holds a Ph.D from Harvard University.

Birgit Tautz, the George Taylor Files Professor of Modern Languages at Bowdoin College, specializes in literature, philosophy, and culture around 1800, the legacy of the 18th century today, and visual and cinema studies. Her recent projects have included her book, Translating the World: Remaking Late Eighteenth-Century Literature between Hamburg and Weimar (Penn State University Press, 2017) and collaborative work on the Network@1800 symposium. Tautz completed her Ph.D in German and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and she has held positions as an assistant professor at St. Olaf College and Lawrence University prior to Bowdoin.

Nikolaus Wegmann is Professor of German at Princeton University. A Germanist and literary historian, he has a strong interest in media culture, the history of philology, and literary theory. Among his recent publications are the books Figuren der Konversion. Friedrich Schlegels Übertritt zum Katholizismus im Kontext (co-edited with Winfried Eckel, Schöningh, 2014) and Historisches Wörterbuch des Mediengebrauchs (co-edited with Heiko Christians and Matthias Bickenbach, Böhlau, 2014). Wegmann received his intellectual training at Bielefeld (Promotion 1984), Cornell University, and Köln (Habilitation 1998). He has taught courses at Bielefeld, Köln, Potsdam, the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen München, and at the Institut für Theater, Film und Fernsehwissenschaft Köln.

Tyler Whitney is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where his teaching and research focus on sound studies, media theory, and 19th and 20th century German literature. His recently completed book manuscript, Eardrums: Literary Modernism & Sonic Warfare from German Unification to the Rise of National Socialism, explores the discursive and material histories of sound’s weaponization in German literature and culture from 1870 to 1930. Whitney received his Ph.D in Germanic Languages and Literatures at Columbia in 2013, where his work was supported by the University’s Whiting Fellowship.

Grant Wythoff is a Visiting Fellow with the Center for Humanities and Information at Pennsylvania State University. He studies history and philosophy of media technologies, 20th century American literature, and digital approaches to humanities. His recent book, The Perversity of Things: Hugo Gernsback on Media, Tinkering and Scientification (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), explores how science fiction began in the 1910s among a community of tinkerers trying to imagine the future of media technologies through making. Before Penn State, Wythoff was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia. He received his Ph.D in English Literature from Princeton University.


Petra McGillen, Assistant Professor of German at Dartmouth College, works on German literature, media and culture, ca. 1750 to 1900. Her research focuses on the material history of creativity. In particular, she explores the impact of different forms and media of notation on creative writing practices and processes of knowledge production. Her book manuscript, The Compiler’s Moment: Fontane and the Manufacture of Literature in the Industrial Age of Print, is the first in-depth study of the notebooks and other paper tools of the great German novelist Theodore Fontane. McGillen holds a Ph.D in Germanic Languages and Literature from Princeton.

Sean Franzel is an Associate Professor of German at the University of Missouri. His research interests span the culture, philosophy, and intellectual history of 18th to 20th century Germany. His first book, Connected by the Ear: The Media, Pedagogy and Politics of the Romantic Lecture (Northwestern University Press, 2014), is an interdisciplinary study of the Romantic and Idealist lecture that draws on media theory, history of scholarly culture, theories of publicity, and Romantic legacies in aesthetic and political discourse. One of his current projects is a book-length study on the aesthetics of ephemerality in 19th-century periodical literature. Franzel received his Ph.D from Cornell University.

The participants' biographies were edited by Braelyn Riner ('18).