Sean Franzel

Franzel ad white
Associate Professor of German, Director of Undergraduate Studies in German
428B Strickland Hall
573-882-1915 (Main GRS Office)
Connected By the Ear book cover
Performing Knowledge book cover

Ph.D, Cornell University

B.A., Reed College

Research Interests: 

My research interests span the culture, philosophy, and intellectual history of eighteenth- to twentieth-century Germany. My first book is an interdisciplinary study of the Romantic and Idealist lecture that brings together my interests in media theory, the history of scholarly culture, theories of publicity, and Romantic legacies in aesthetic and political discourse. Recent projects have included a co-edited volume of essays entitled “Performing Knowledge, 1750-1850” and a co-edited volume of essays on ephemerality as a central concept of modernity. Current projects include a book-length study on the aesthetics of ephemerality in nineteenth-century periodical literature, a co-translation of essays by Reinhart Koselleck (forthcoming with Stanford University Press), and a co-edited journal special issue on periodical literature in the nineteenth century.

I am currently the book review editor at the Goethe Yearbook and am on the editorial board at The German Quarterly, and I serve on the MLA Forum Executive Committee for 18th- and Early-19th-Century German Studies.

Frequently Taught Courses: 

I aim to create a challenging, yet inviting classroom environment where students encounter a range of cultural and medial products and learn to work with tools of critical inquiry. I find learning about German culture, thought, and history is so exciting because German thinkers and artists have reflected on modern cultural, political, and social problems that are still quite relevant to us today. Current and recent courses include a graduate-level seminar on the eighteenth-century novel, an undergraduate capstone on travel and migration in contemporary German literature and film, and a course on web-blogging about culture and current events in Europe.

Recent Publications: 


Reinhart Koselleck: Sediments of Time. On the Conditions of Possible Histories, co-edited and co-translated with Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann (Stanford University Press). (Forthcoming Summer 2018)

Flüchtigkeit der Moderne: Eigenzeiten des Ephemeren im langen 19.Jahrhundert, co-edited with Michael Bies and Dirk Oschmann (Wehrhahn 2017).

Performing Knowledge, 1750-1850, co-edited with Mary Helen Dupree (De Gruyter 2015), in the series Interdisciplinary German Cultural Studies.

Connected by the Ear: The Media, Pedagogy, and Politics of the Romantic Lecture (Northwestern University Press, 2013). Finalist, Novalis Preis, 2014.

Edited Journals

Special issue of Journal Colloquia Germanica  on “Periodical Literature in the Nineteenth Century,” co-edited with Vance Byrd. (Forthcoming Winter 2017)

Special issue of Journal Seminar, 49:2 (2013), on “The Eighteenth-Century Novel,” co-edited with Matt Erlin.

Articles (selected)

“Archiving the Ephemeral: Kleist’s Magazines.” German Studies Review 40:3 (2017), forthcoming.

"Review Essay: Ambivalent Media Histories." Configurations 25:1 (2017): 109-119.

"Von Magazinen, Gärbottichen und Bomben: Räumliche Speichermetaphern der medialen Selbstinszenierung von Zeitschriften." In: Archiv/Fiktionen. Verfahren des Archivierens in Literatur und Kultur des langen 19. Jahrhunderts, edited by Daniela Gretz and Nicolas Pethes (Rombach: 2016), 207-230.

“Kittler’s German Media Histories.” In podium section on the Legacies of Friedrich Kittler. German Studies Review 38, no. 1 (2015): 143-15.

“Temporality and Historiography in the Lecture Form.” In: Franzel and Dupree, Performing Knowledge, 1750-1850. 295-321.

“Recycling Bildung: From the Humboldt Forum to Humboldt and back.” In: special issue of Seminar on “The New German Romanticism,” edited by Laurie Johnson 50:3 (Fall 2014): 379-397.

“Romantic Encyclopedics and the Lecture Form: Schelling, A.W. Schlegel, and A. von Humboldt.” European Romantic Review 25, no. 3 (2014): 347-356.

“A ‘Popular,’ ‘Private,’ Lecturer? Kant’s Theory and Practice of University Instruction.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 47:1 (Fall 2013): 1-18.

“The Eighteenth-Century Novel as Media Event.” Co-authored with Matt Erlin. Seminar, 49:2 (2013). 99-111.

“Towards an Anti-Monumental Literary-Critical Style. Notes on Benjamin and Jean Paul.” Telos 159 (Summer 2012). 35-48.

“Time and Narrative in the Mountain Sublime around 1800.” In: Heights of Reflection: Mountains in the German Imagination from the Middle Ages to Present, eds. Sean Ireton and Caroline Schaumann (Camden House, 2012). 98-115.

“‘Hear him! Hört ihn!’ Scholarly Lecturing in Berlin and the Popular Style of Karl Philipp Moritz.” Goethe Yearbook 19 (2012). 93-116.

“Experiencing and Studying Models of Liberal Education: from Portland to Germany and back.”Thinking Reed: Centennial Essays by Graduates of Reed College, eds. Roger Porter and Robert Reynolds (Reed College, 2011). 159-165.

“The Romantic Lecture in an Age of Paper (Money): Jean Paul’s Literary Aesthetics across Print and Orality.” Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net 57-58 (Feb-May 2010). Web.

“Branding Berlin: The Humboldt University Celebrates its Founding.” The Germanic Review 83:3 (2010): 250-256.

"The Politics and Media of Apostrophe in Hölderlin's Hyperion." The German Quarterly 82:2 (2009): 155-173.

“‘Welches Gesetz ist der Mensch in seiner Wirksamkeit?’: Pedagogy and Media in Fichte's Encounter with Mesmerism.” The Germanic Review 84.1 (2009): 3-25.

“Cultures of Performance, Gender, and Political Ideology in Fontane’s Vor dem Sturm.” Colloquia Germanica 41:1 (2008): 11-32.