Elisabeth Weber

Elisabeth Weber
Professor
Chair

Contact Phone

805.893.4065

Office Location

Phelps 6212

Bio

Elisabeth Weber received her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, 1988. She teaches German and Comparative literature and is an affiliate professor of Religious Studies. She currently serves as department chair and as vice-chair of the Program of Comparative Literature.
 
Her research interests and publications include French philosophy and theory; psychoanalysis and trauma studies; German Judaism of the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries; nineteenth- and twentieth century German literature. Weber's current research and teaching focuses on the ways in which literature and critical theory can contribute to an exploration of trauma, of human rights and their violations, and to a reflection on concepts whose definitions have become, in the contemporary context, more and more uncertain, including the concepts of “the human,” “democracy,” “justice,” “rights.” Her teaching experience includes a visiting associate professorship at The Johns Hopkins University. In 1998, she received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
 
She is the author of Verfolgung und Trauma. Zu Emmanuel Levinas' Autrement qu'être ou au-delà de l'essence (1990), awarded a prize by the Dr. Margrit Egnér Foundation. She is the editor of Jüdisches Denken in Frankreich (1994, published in French as Questions au Judaïsme, 1996, and in English as Questioning Judaism, Stanford 2004), a collection of interviews with Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Emmanuel Levinas, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and others. She is the co-editor of Das Vergessen(e). Anamnesen des Undarstellbaren (1997), the editor of several works by Jacques Derrida, and German translator of texts by Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas and Félix Guattari.
 
Recent book publications:
Speaking about Torture, co-edited with Julie Carlson (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012
);
Living Together. Jacques Derrida’s Communities of Violence and Peace, edited by E.W. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013);
and
Kill Boxes: Facing the legacy of U.S. sponsored torture, indefinite detention and drone warfare (to be published by Punctum in 2017): https://punctumbooks.com/titles/kill-boxes-facing-the-legacy-of-us-spons...
The human rights journalist and activist Rebecca Tinsley reviewed the book for the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/book-review-kill-boxes-facing-the-le....

 

In 2003, Weber organized, together with Thomas Carlson (UCSB, Religious Studies), an international conference with Jacques Derrida on “Irreconcilable Differences? Jacques Derrida and the Question of Religion.”
In 2006-2007, she organized with a group of UCSB colleagues (Lisa Hajjar (Sociology), Julie Carlson (English), Richard Falk (Global and International Studies), among others) a series of twelve public events under the title “Torture and the Future. Perspectives from the Humanities”, a collaborative project which had won the “Critical Issues in America” competition at UCSB in 2006. For more information on the "Torture and the Future" project, please visit: http://www.complit.ucsb.edu/projects/tortureandthefuture/index.html.
In 2015, she organized, together with Julie Carlson (UCSB, English) and Wolf Kittler (UCSB, Germanic and Slavic), an international, interdiscplinary conference at the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Franz Kafka's famous text "The Metamorphosis". The conference brought together a wide array of scholars and artists to discuss Kafka’s text in its literary-historical context, and to read it as an exploration of metamorphoses that problematize borders between species and between living organisms and machines. Kafka’s text opens pressing questions in such fields as human and animal rights, old and new forms of warfare, art and technology: mimicry of animals in developments in drone warfare, bionics (exoskeletons), prostheses, and nano-technology, as well as digitally engineered perception through animal eyes. See: http://www.gss.ucsb.edu/metamorphosis/.
 
Recent article publications include:
- “Dreaded by everything within us that desires a kingdom,” Oxford Literary Review: A decade after Derrida, Michael Naas (ed.), 2014;
- "Jacques Derrida’s Urgency, Today," Los Angeles Review of Books, October 2014, https://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/jacques-derridas-urgency-today;
-- "Penser la paix, peut-être, vielleicht, perhaps, ulai, la’alla," Lignes, Nr. 46: Penser la paix, penser l’impossible: Le conflit Israélo-Palestinien, eds, Henri Cohen-Solal, Lucy Nusseibeh et Aline   Alterman, Paris, 2015;
- "Catastrophes. Afterlives of the Exceptionality Paradigm in Holocaust Studies," : History Unlimited: Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture, Claudio Fogu, Wolf Kansteiner, Todd Presner (eds.), Harvard University Press, 2016.
 
Recent graduate courses include "Deconstructions: Jacques Derrida and the Question of Religion," "Walter Benjamin," "Humanities and Human Rights in Times of Torture," "Productions of Truth: Literature, Theory, Politics, and the Arts," "Contemporary Theory: Activist Papers", "Contemporary Literary and Critical Theory: Thinking Violence, Thinking War."