Anselm Haverkamp

Kade Visiting Professor
Spring 2017


Anselm Haverkamp is Emeritus Professor of English at New York University and University Professor of Philosophy at LMU Munich. He has published books in English, German, and French on aesthetic theory, rhetoric and metaphorology, Shakespeare and Hölderlin, Keats and Joyce, most recently a collection of theoretical essays, Productive Digression: Theorizing Practice (Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter. April 2017).


Spring 2017

Undergraduate: Making of the Modern World

The Making of the Modern World is less a making (as generally believed), but a suffering of what happened when the world became modern. How it came to happen, the modern world, and how this happening acquired the meaning of a ‘making’ has been conceived of in different keys, in new ways of coming to know through art and literature, first of all (1), epistemologically and technologically, most famously (2), legally and socially, no doubt (3). In these three most general respects the class offers first insights into method and structure of study and student research. Thomas Kuhn’s pragmatist approach in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) describes the decisive steps that ‘made’ the world modern according to ‘paradigms’ of learning: in groundbreaking works – texts, pictures, experiments – which were effective in bringing about the new world view. The class shall review some instances of these new ways of ‘coming to know’. In the introductory first part, a greater emphasis is put on aspects of pictorial representation, to be continued in technological and legal respects, and to be concluded by some epistemological consequences, including the status of ‘life’ in a scientific world. Exemplary concepts and key-words produced by, and associated with the making of the modern world are the “Modern” itself (and Progress), “Perspective” (and Space), “Mass” (and Matter), “Landscape” (Nature), “Justice” (Law), but also “Paranoia” (Politics), “Fashion” (Style) and even “Life”. For illustration, exemplary works are discussed: paintings, photographs, scientific texts, legal emblems. Readings include works by Blackbourn, DeLillo, Latour, and Machiavelli.

Graduate seminar: Hegel and Shakespeare

Hegel knew Shakespeare (almost all of Shakespeare) by heart; this is not obvious, since he quotes from memory, without quotation marks, and without mentioning the name. In short: Hegel developed his philosophy of history and his philosophy of right with a lot of Shakespeare in mind. Thus, the combination of Hegel and Shakespeare works in both directions: it is profitable to know Shakespeare, if one wants to understand Hegel's Phenomenoloy of Spirit, as it is profitable to read Hegel in order to understand Shakespeare. The rediscovery of Shakespeare in the 18th century comes along with a philosophical interest in Hegel, whose modern dimension has been most thoroughly investigated by Hegel and, in his wake, by an implicitly Hegelian New Historicism or Cultural Materialism.

The seminar shall discuss both perspectives, but shall first of all read closely the more or less explicit Shakespearian passages in Hegel's philosophy and, consequently, read all the more closely the Shakespearian texts, motifs, and cruxes, identified and problematized by Hegel and dealt with in recent philosophical criticism, notably by Stanley Cavell and Jacques Derrida.