Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities
2012—2013 Forum on Peripheries
Assistant Professor of German
Peripheral Revision: Reading Radio, Re-Reading Modernity
Today the German word for radio, Rundfunk is as unremarkable, if not quaint, as the century-old technology itself, which is now routinely relegated to the status of the nebenbei or peripheral. When seen from the distanciating perspective of etymology and literal translation, however, this oddly technological-mythical term, Rundfunk, the "spark all around us," illuminates a complex web of spatial, metaphorical, mythical, and ideological associations still to be fully unraveled – both historically and in the present. My project takes up an important strand of this complex of aesthetic and ideological issues by asking to what extent debates about the function, control, and future of radio in Weimar-era Germany give rise to a more dynamic and insightful notion of space in modernity as a highly charged nexus of construction, control, resistance, and contingency.