Philology, master science of the nineteenth century, has changed so radically over the course of the twentieth century that it is hardly recognizable in the twenty-first. Its scope has been transformed, its methodology contested, and its legitimacy called into doubt. Does it, then, still make sense to speak institutionally and epistemologically of 'philology'? Does this venerable title continue to signify a truly coherent field, and not, rather, a multitude of scattered currents and competing genealogies, differing national characteristics, and inconsistent methodologies? This volume collects answers by a range of young philologists, given at the 11th Annual Columbia University German Graduate Student Conference. They show that philology, in its practices and its theories, not only continues to be the fundament of the ever-expanding field of literature and language studies; they also demonstrate that a discipline whose very core is the care for the text wields competencies that are indispensable for neighboring fields. In conversation with Brecht and George, Hamann and Rilke, Nietzsche and Heidegger, these essays confront questions of materiality, epistemology, and ontology that define, as Sheldon Pollock put it, the "fate of a soft science in a hard world."
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Hannes Bajohr received his MA in Philosophy, History, and German Literature from Humboldt University, Berlin, and works on political philosophy, philosophical anthropology, and digital literature. He has written on Hannah Arendt, Peter Weiss, and Judith Shklar, whose Liberalism of Fear and Ordinary Vices he has translated into German, and is writing a dissertation on Hans Blumenberg's theory of language Vincent Hessling studied philosophy, German, and classical philology in Berlin and Heidelberg. His theoretical preoccupations include the idea of progress, history of technology, narratology, and systems theory. In engaging with works by Paul Scheerbart, Joseph Roth, Robert Walser, and Ilya Ehrenburg, among others, he is writing his dissertation on narratives of technological progress in modernist prose. Benjamin Dorvel received his MA in German Literature from Columbia University. He has worked as an editor and lexicographer for Langenscheidt and recently translated Odon von Horvath's The Eternal Philistine for Melville House. Tabea Weitz studied German literature, art history, political economics and business economics in Berlin, Lausanne, Granada, and in the US. She completed research stays at Yale University and Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Her research focuses on Hermann Broch, Franz Kafka, and the intersection of literature and art history. All editors are PhD candidates at Columbia University's German Department.
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