As an Associate Professor of Modern German Literature at the University of Tokyo, I offer four courses per semester in the Faculty of Letters and Graduate School of Humanities at Hongo Campus. My teaching covers canonical topics from the mid-18th to the mid-20th century and seeks to bring students into a fresh dialogue with historical personalities ranging from Goethe and the romanticists to Thomas Mann and the modernist writers. These classes start out from the desire ‘to speak with the dead’, they take literary texts as a powerful medium to put us in contact with the past and they aim at exploring how literature is a social practice that circulates collective energies. International guest researchers contribute to the classes by giving lectures and providing opportunities for students to widen their perspectives and to make new contacts. The texts examined in class are normally in German but selected in respect to existing translations in English and Japanese.
My research began with examining the conditions of individuality in Goethe’s novels and tales, which was also the topic of my first book. From Goethe and individuality I moved to the work of Alfred Doeblin in regard to masses, media and metropolises. My second book is dedicated to this Jewish-German writer’s time in Berlin, Paris and Los Angeles and his engagement with film and radio. German writing on Hollywood and on the transpacific relations between China, Japan and the US occupies me as well as European self-reflection in terms of the occident or “Abendland.” My third book, a biography, critically deals with the issues of the construction of collective identity in Germany between 1900 und 1950 by means of a less well-known Christian writer, Hans Heinrich Ehrler, who engaged in widespread discourses on “Heimat” and “Abendland.” In my fourth book, I examined the use of Goethe’s life and letters in German-Japanese diplomacy and in Japanese nation building. – For my approach to literary history I am indebted to New Historicism and its perspective on how literature is a social practice and how it circulates social energies. For my research contributions, I have been awarded, inter alia, a Leverhulme Fellowship in 2012, an Einstein Visiting Fellowship in 2015 and a Thomas Mann Fellowship in 2019.
Outgoings: I am glad to support students of the University of Tokyo who seek contact to universities and other research institutions in the humanities in German speaking countries, namely the Freie Universitaet Berlin and the Klassik Stiftung Weimar, both offering excellent opportunities for study and research.
Incomings: On a case-to-case basis I am equally able to support humanities students from German speaking countries in regard to the University of Tokyo. Feel free to contact me. And please make the best use of the links listed on this website. It should help you to find your way through the University of Tokyo and selected German research facilities. As the content of the external websites is not under my control, I cannot assume any liability for such external content. In all cases, the provider of information of the linked websites is liable for the content and accuracy of the information provided.