Graduate Students

 

JUSTIN HARRIS earned his BA in International Studies from the University of Colorado Denver, where his honors thesis examined the history of the Balkan nations since 1800 and its interplay with the construction of international norms. In 2019, he completed his MA in German Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. His thesis, titled Heine der Narr: Towards a Universal Freiheitsliebe, examines the intersections of political society with satire and poetry in the literary tradition of the German Vormärz. His academic interests continue to include historical memory, epistemology and the philosophy of language, and critical theory. Justin's family is dedicated to wildlife and natural resource preservation, operating a horse ranch and land conservation project in the Colorado foothills.
SIMON HORN is studying the overlapping tasks of literature and other media, continental philosophy, and critical theory in Europe and Latin America. He’s especially interested in kinds of negation, literal metaphors, materialities of thought, theories of history, critical style, and answerability. Kafka, Benjamin, Lispector, César Aira, Derrida, Heidegger, and Calderón are currently on his mind. He is a graduate of Yale and Cambridge.

DANIEL LANGE received his degrees in Comparative Literature, International Women's and Gender History (both 2015), and Romance Studies (2013) from the University of Vienna. He has a particular interest in post-war German and Austrian literature (Aichinger, Mayröcker, Kling), translation and etymology, as well as their cultural implications.

ETHAN LUSSKY studied Critical and Political Theory at Macalester College (B.A. 2018). His research interests include difficulties with ethics and impossibility, read primarily within 19th and 20th century German and French prose and poetry, literary theory, Jewish-German philosophy, and psychoanalysis.

JASMIN MEIER studied philosophy, German Studies (BA) and the Ethics of Textual Cultures (MA) in an interdisciplinary degree program that brings together philosophy, German literary studies, linguistics, and religious studies. In her MA thesis, she focused on concepts of hope in Friedrich Nietzsche’s work. Her main current research focus continues to be the work of Nietzsche and its reception—often the subject of misuse or even abuse—in the present and the past. Her perspective derives from an “ethical” point of view and poses questions such as the following: What does it mean to read in an “ethical” manner, and what does this practice exclude? What does the possibility of “unethical” reading tell us about language itself?

CHRISTIAN OBST studied Comparative Literature, Philosophy, and Sociology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, completing his studies with an M.A. thesis exploring the implied theory and politics of metaphor in the writings of Karl Marx. The authors who have informed his research are Hegel, Adorno, Derrida, Blanchot, and Benjamin, along with Musil. Obst, who also spent a year as a visiting scholar at Yale’s German Department, is interested in the ways in which various kinds of texts (literary, philosophical, theological, and essayistic) can be investigated in the medium of their literariness. He is preparing a project that examines the problematic nexus of coinage and characteristic marks in Benjamin and the Book of Esther.

MICHAEL PANINSKI studied Theater, Film and Media Studies, German, and Philosophy at the University of Vienna, where he received his M.A. in 2015 with a thesis entitled Hermeneutics Of Failure – Underway to Bertolt Brecht’s Fatzer-fragment. The text analyzes the possibilities of re-reading, re-discovering and re-interpreting the works of Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht in the aftermath of the theoretical conceptions of fragment, detail and discontinuity. Michael Paninski's research interests range from the legacy of the fragmentary demand of the Romantic via the broad operational areas of Critical Theory to current questions in literary theory and continental philosophy. At Brown University he wishes to explore contemporary discourses and narratives of human rights, justice, and violence in the wake of deconstructive theories of literature and language. His questions circle around the incalculable element within language—a critical residual, remnant, or relic (Rest)—and around the question of what happens when the intervention of this Other is not excluded from the calculus or economy of the political.


MIRJAM PANINSKI Mirjam Paninski holds an MA in German Studies from Brown University and previously studied Comparative Literature, German Studies, Aesthetics, and the Philosophy of Culture at the University of Vienna. Her multimedia dissertation project "Insistences – Voices in Partum, Bodies in Labor," consisting of a written dissertation, a series of art installations, and a podcast, seeks to counter imaginary concepts and stagings of the body during pregnancy and birth as well as the dehumanization of both the pregnant individual and medical staff. The project follows the argument, that the body during pregnancy and childbirth is itself always a site, which subverts the naturalization of a normative system. More broadly, her teaching and research interests include translation and translatability of and within 20th-century poetry, the gaps of language, the manifestation of trauma, and the loss of speech within literature and multilingual literature. Prior to her time at Brown, Mirjam was a founding member of the poetry translation collective Versatorium, Vienna. She has significant professional experience curating and co-curating interdisciplinary and transnational art shows, conferences, and workshops throughout Vienna, Beirut, Istanbul, Tbilisi and Zagreb.

MIRIAM RAINER Miriam Rainer studied American Studies, German and Comparative Literature in Hamburg and Vienna. She received her M.A. for a thesis on hesitation in Walter Benjamin’s translation texts, published in 2015. She is a co-founder of Vienna-based Versatorium, a translation and education project seeking to generate non-hierarchical communal spaces for study. Presently, her research focuses on notions of Rat [counsel, council] as both, linguistic phenomenon and para-individual political body, in the works of Hannah Arendt and Franz Kafka; the intersection of philology, ethics, and legal theory; nonviolence in language.

RAIANY ROMANNI hails from Brazil, where she published a novel on the Greek mythological characters of Eros and Psyche before moving to Poland for her undergraduate. She graduated summa cum laude from the Jagiellonian University, and then headed to Dartmouth for her MA in Comparative Literature, having worked mainly on Nietzsche for both her degrees.

Presently, she’s most interested in an ontology and poetics of death, in the face of biotechnological advancements resulting in unforeseen extensions in human life and health. The Overhuman is coming; in AI, biotechnology, radical life extension and beyond—and the ethical goal must be to democratize Him/Her. In her most recent writings, Raiany asks questions such as: What renders “the art of dying well” (ars moriendi) not just a seemingly noble virtue, present in all human cultures, but a moral obligation? Where does this will not to life—and so not to life-furthering practices—but to death, or to not-being, stem from? How does the architectural paradox of one’s will to survive and the drives of an ever-impending death sway every human act of consciousness? 

More on the rationales behind her current research, and part of the manuscript of her in-progress sci-fi novel, can be found at www.raianyromanni.com.

PASQUAL SOLASS studied German, English and American studies and Ethics of Textual Cultures at the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg  (M.A. 2015). His master’s thesis sets the framework for a new understanding of Friedrich Schiller's concept of "Idealität" by way of a re-evaluation of the chorus as figure of differentiality. Constantly brooding over all sorts of intersections of languages, terminologies and dictions, he mainly works on 18th to 20th century literature and philosophy. His research interests include rhetorics of desire, figurality and corporeality of language, philology as practice of emancipatory suspension, as well as critical theory, political theology and psychoanalysis.

JAN GEORG TABOR studied German and Philosophy (B.A. 2012), as well as Ethics of Textual Cultures (M.A. 2015) at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremburg and the Charles University in Prague.  His often crossdisciplinary research interests include literary theory, philology, literature and religion, and institutional sociology/critique.  He is also interested in ways of (re)thinking and expanding comparativism.  His main fields of investigation are medieval thought (particularly German Mysticism), German Idealism, Goethe, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and literature of the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Graduate Students from Other Departments

There are many other graduate students at Brown working towards Ph.D.s in other field but who are active in our department through their participation in seminars, workshops, and colloquia.