Prof. Dr. Johannes Völz

Prof. Dr. Johannes Völz

Prof. Dr. Johannes Völz

                                                                                               

office: IG 4.215
office hours: Di 16:30-17:30 hrs
Terminvergabe durch das Sekretariat

(in der vorlesungsfreien Zeit nach Vereinbarung per e-mail)

tel: 069/798-32364
e-mail: voelz@em.uni-frankfurt.de


SPRECHSTUNDENÄNDERUNG:
ab der 47.KW findet die Sprechstunde an folgenden Donnerstagen statt:

23.11., 30.11. und 7.12. - jeweils von 16-18 Uhr


Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

   

Johannes Voelz is Heisenberg-Professor of American Studies, Democracy, and Aesthetics, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). He joined the Institute for English and American Studies in December 2008 as Akademischer Rat auf Zeit and has been appointed to full professor in September 2016 (see press release).

The Heisenberg-Professorship comprises research in three main areas:

 1) Democracy and Aesthetics: Theoretical Perspectives

 2) American Literature and the Transformation of Privacy (additional Research Grant funded by the DFG)

3) The Aesthetics of Market Society

Johannes Voelz is the author of two monographs, The Poetics of Insecurity: American Fiction and the Uses of Threat (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press) and Transcendental Resistance: The New Americanists and Emerson’s Challenge (University Press of New England, 2010). Moreover he is the editor of a special issue of the journal Telos on Security and Liberalism (published in March 2015) and of a special issue of Amerikastudien/American Studies on Chance, Risk, Security: Approaches to Uncertainty in American Literature (published in October 2016). In addition, he has co-edited several volumes of essays, among them a collection of articles by Winfried Fluck, titled Romance with America? Essays on Culture, Literature, and American Studies (with Laura Bieger; Winter 2009), Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Culture (with Christa Buschendorf and Astrid Franke; Cambridge Scholars, 2011), and The Imaginary and Its Worlds: American Studies after the Transnational Turn (with Laura Bieger and Ramón Saldívar; University Press of New England, 2013).

He is Fulbright-Vertrauensdozent / Liaison Officer of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt.

Please take note of the Fulbright Commission’s funding programs.

https://www.fulbright.de

 

Education

Habilitation
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 2015

Dr. phil. 
Freie Universität Berlin, North American Studies, 2008 (summa cum laude)

Magister Artium
Freie Universität Berlin, North American Studies / Philosophy / Political Science, 2003


Academic Positions

Heisenberg-Professor für Amerikanistik mit Schwerpunkt “Demokratie und Ästhetik”, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 2016–

Akademischer Rat a. Z., Institute for English and American Studies, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 2008–2016

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter, John F. Kennedy-Institute for North American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, 2003–2008

 

Fellowships and Grants

DFG-Heisenberg-Professorship for American Studies, Democracy, and Aesthetics, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (start date: October 2016)

DFG research grant (“Sachbehilfe”) “American Literature and the Transformation of Privacy” (start date: October 2016)

Vereinigung von Freunden und Förderern der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (Friends and Supporters of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Travel Grant, Berkeley, 2016

Nominee for 2016 Heinz-Maier-Leibnitz-Award, awarded by the DFG

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Faculty of Modern Languages, Postdoc Development Grant (partial teaching buyout), Spring 2015

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt Research Project Development Grant “Nachwuchswissenschaftler/innen im Fokus,” 2014

Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, Feodor-Lynen Postdoc Fellowship (24 months), Stanford University, 2012–14

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), Postdoc Fellowship (24 months), Stanford University, 2012–14 (declined)

Vereinigung von Freunden und Förderern der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (Friends and Supporters of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Travel Grant, 2012

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), Travel Grant, 2010

Vereinigung von Freunden und Förderern der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt (Friends and Supporters of Goethe-Universität Frankfurt), Travel Grant, 2010

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), Dissertation Research Fellowship (12 months), Harvard University, 2006–07

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Fellowship for Study Abroad (10 months), University of California, Berkeley, 1999–2000

 
International Research and Teaching

Visiting Scholar, Pacific School of Religion, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, March 1–April 7, 2016

Visiting Scholar, Pacific School of Religion, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, February 20–March 31, 2015

Visiting Scholar, Stanford University, Comparative Literature, October 2012–September 2014

Visiting Fellow, Harvard University, English Department, September 2006–August 2007

Erasmus Guest Professor, Università di Torino, Dip. di Scienze del Linguaggio e Letterature Moderne e Comparate, March 2006

Exchange Student, University of California, Berkeley, August 1999–June 2000

 


 

       

 

 

Publications

Publications

Monographs, Edited Books, and Special Issues

The Poetics of Insecurity: American Fiction and the Uses of Threat. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Chance, Risk, Security: Approaches to Uncertainty in American Literature. Special issue of Amerikastudien/American Studies 60.4 (2016), ed. Johannes Voelz.

Security and Liberalism. Special issue of Telos Number 170 (Spring 2015), ed. Johannes Voelz.

The Imaginary and Its Worlds: American Literature after the Transnational Turn. Ed. Laura Bieger, Ramon Saldivar, Johannes Voelz. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2013.
(reviewed in American Literary History 26.3 (2014), Amerikastudien/American Studies 61.2 (2016))

Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Culture. Ed. Christa Buschendorf, Astrid Franke, Johannes Voelz. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011.

Transcendental Resistance: The New Americanists and Emerson’s Challenge. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2010.
(reviewed in Postmodern Culture 24.2 (Winter 2015), Studies in Romanticism 51 (2013), European Journal of American Studies (1-2013), American Literary Scholarship (2012), Amerikastudien/American Studies 57.3 (2012), American Nineteenth Century History 13.3 (2012), New England Quarterly 84.3 (2011), Choice (August 2011), Church History 80.2 (2011)) 

Winfried Fluck. Romance with America? Essays on American Culture, Literature, and American Studies. Ed. Laura Bieger and Johannes Voelz. Heidelberg: Winter, 2009.
(reviewed in Amerikastudien/American Studies, European Journal of American Studies)

 

Journal Articles

“Transnationalism and Anti-Globalism.” College Literature 44.4 (Fall 2017): 521–526.

“Aestheticizing Insecurity: Response to Security Studies and American Literary History, ed.
David Watson” (American Literary History 28.4 [Winter 2016]).” American Literary
History 29.3 (Fall 2017): 615–624.

 “Wendungen des Neids: Tocqueville und Emerson zum Paradox einer demokratischen Leidenschaft.” WestEnd: Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung 01–2017. 141–154.

 “Der Wert des Privaten und die Literatur der ‘Neuen Aufrichtigkeit’.” WestEnd: Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung 01–2016: 145–155.

 “In the Future, Toward Death: Finance Capitalism and Security in DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.” Amerikastudien/American Studies 60.4 (2016): 505–526. (special issue: “Chance, Risk, Security: Approaches to Uncertainty in American Literature,” ed. Johannes Voelz.).

 Introduction. Amerikastudien/American Studies 60.4 (2016): 385–402. (special issue: “Chance, Risk, Security: Approaches to Uncertainty in American Literature,” ed. Johannes Voelz.)

 “The Aspiration for Impossible Security: Revisiting Liberal Political Thought.” Telos 170 (Spring 2015): 23–45. (special issue: “Security and Liberalism,” ed. Johannes Voelz.)

 (with Russell Berman) “Introduction.” Telos 170 (Spring 2015): 3–6. (special issue: “Security and Liberalism,” ed. Johannes Voelz.)

 “Cold War Liberalism and the Problem of Security.” Post-Exceptionalist American Studies. Ed. Winfried Fluck and Donald Pease. REAL: Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature 30 (2014). 255–281. 

 “Emerson’s Dual Economy of Recognition.” Amerikastudien / American Studies 57.4 (2012): 453–480.

 “The Future’s Epic Now: The Time of Security and Risk in Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis.” Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture (special issue: “(In) Securities”) 12.3 (December 2012). http://reconstruction.eserver.org/123/Voelz_Johannes.shtml

  “Alienation Revisited.” American Literary History 24.3 (Fall 2012): 618–630.

  “A Matter of Style: Charlie Parker and Jack Kerouac between Coolness and Ecstasy.” International Journal of Motorcycle Studies (special issue: “Motorcycle – Beschleunigung und Rebellion?”) 6.1 (Spring 2010).

 “Emerson and the Sociality of Inspiration.” Religion & Literature 41.1 (Spring 2009): 83–109.

 “Emerson, Representation, and the New Americanists.” Comparative American Studies 6.1 (Spring 2008): 37–54.

 “The Index and Its Vicissitudes: Hyperrealism from Richard Estes to Andreas Gursky.” Amerikastudien / American Studies 52.1 (Spring 2007): 81–102.

 “Transnationalism and the Realignment of State Power: Two Sides of One Coin.” RIAS: Review of International American Studies 2.3 (September 2007): 21–24.

 “Improvisation, Correlation, and Vibration: An Interview with Steve Coleman.” CSI: Critical Studies in Improvisation 2.1 (December 2006).

 “Ein Buch ist kein Händedruck: Nachbetrachtungen zu Bill Clintons Mein Leben.” Ästhetik und Kommunikation Issue 127 (Winter 2004): 107–117.

 “Meaningful Freedom and the Freedom of Meaning: Free Jazz and the Political.” PhiN: Philologie im Netz Issue 20 (2002): 34–39.

 

Book Chapters

 “Transvaluations of Security.” Projecting American Studies: Essays on Theory, Method, and Practice. Ed. Frank Kelleter and Alexander Starre. Heidelberg: Winter, forthcoming 2017.

  “Transnationalism and Nineteenth Century Literature.” The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature. Ed. Yogita Goyal. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 91–106.

 “The Uses of Emerson: Transcendentalism, Transnationalism, and the New Americanists.” (revised rpt. of chapter 5 of Transcendental Resistance: The New Americanists and Emerson’s Challenge.) Reading the Canon. Ed. Philipp Löffler. Heidelberg: Winter, 2017. 115–150.

  “The New Sincerity as Literary Hospitality.” Security and Hospitality in Literature and Culture: Modern and Contemporary Perspectives. Ed. Jeffrey Clapp and Emily Ridge. New York: Routledge, 2015. 209–226.

 “The Recognition of Emerson’s Impersonal: Reading Alternatives in Sharon Cameron.” American Impersonal: Essays with Sharon Cameron. Ed. Branka Arsić. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. 73–98.

 (with Laura Bieger and Ramón Saldívar) “The Imaginary and Its Worlds: An Introduction.” The Imaginary and Its Worlds: American Studies After the Transnational Turn. Ed. Laura Bieger, Ramón Saldívar, and Johannes Voelz. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2013. vii–xxviii.

 “The Market of Inspiration: Emerson on the Lyceum Stage.” American Economies. Ed. Eva Boesenberg, Reinhard Isensee, Martin Klepper. Heidelberg: Winter, 2012. 327–348.

 “Utopias of Transnationalism and the Neoliberal State.” Reframing the Transnational Turn in American Studies. Ed. Winfried Fluck, Donald E. Pease, and John Carlos Rowe. Hanover: University Press of New England, 2011. 356–373.

 “Regeneration and Barbarity: Dred and the Violence of the Civilizing Process.” Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Culture. Ed. Christa Buschendorf, Astrid Franke, Johannes Voelz. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. 123–148.

 (with Christa Buschendorf  and Astrid Franke) Introduction. Civilizing and Decivilizing Processes: Figurational Approaches to American Culture. Ed. Christa Buschendorf, Astrid Franke, Johannes Voelz. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011. 1–16.

 “‘Blues and the Abstract Truth’ or, Did Romare Bearden Really Paint Jazz?” The Hearing Eye: Jazz and Blues Influences in African-American Visual Art. Ed. Graham Lock and David Murray. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. 194–215.

 “‘The Most Indebted Man’: The Reconfiguration of Conformity and Non-Conformity in Emerson’s Representative Men.” Conformism, Non-Conformism and Anti-Conformism in American Culture. Ed. Antonis Balasopoulos, Gesa Mackenthun, Dora Tsimpouki. Heidelberg: Winter, 2008. 101–117.

 

Reviews

 Review of Andrew Gross, The Pound Reaction: Liberalism and Lyricism in Midcentury American Literature (Heidelberg: Winter, 2016). Anglia (forthcoming).

 Review of Karsten Fitz, Bärbel Harju, eds., Cultures of Privacy: Paradigms, Transformations, Contestations (Heidelberg: Winter, 2015). Amerikastudien / American Studies (forthcoming).

 Review of Dieter Schulz, Emerson and Thoreau, or Steps Beyond Ourselves (Heidelberg: Mattes, 2012). Amerikastudien / American Studies 59.4 (2014).

 Review of Thoreauvian Modernities: Transatlantic Conversations of an American Icon. Ed. François Specq, Laura Dassow Walls, and Michel Granger (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013). Amerikastudien / American Studies 59.2 (2014).

 Review of Michael Boyden, Predicting the Past: The Paradoxes of American Literary History (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2009). Comparative American Studies 12.3 (2014): 239–242.

 Review of Sarika Chandra, Dislocalism: The Crisis of Globalization and the Remobilizing of Americanism (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2011). Amerikastudien / American Studies 59.1 (2014).

 

Journalism

 “Die bedrohliche Welt steckt voller Möglichkeiten: Literatur erklärt Politik: Warum sich die Amerikaner so tiefgreifend um die eigene Sicherheit sorgen.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 5. April 2016, p.11.

 2000–2009: more than 250 articles on music, literature, and film in Der Tagesspiegel (Berlin), Münchner Abendzeitung, Jazzthing, Jazz Podium, etc.

 

 

Research

Research

a) American Literature and the Transformation of Privacy

The DFG-funded research project “American Literature and the Transformation of Privacy” is integrated into the Heisenberg-Professorship for American Studies, Democracy, and Aesthetics. The transformations that practices and meanings of privacy are currently undergoing in the United States constitute a central component of contemporary changes in American democratic culture, as they affect the relationship between private and public spheres and the position of the individual vis-à-vis the state. This research project traces these transformations and their historical precursors through the lens of American literature.

Historically, the careers of privacy and literature have been closely intertwined: The modern notion of privacy emerged alongside the genre of the novel and developments in literary techniques, in particular techniques for the representation of feelings and thoughts, shaped conceptions of the private. In view of this interdependence, this project investigates the changing functions of privacy in American democracy and the aesthetic dimension of the private that take shape in American literature from the Romantic period to the contemporary “New Sincerity” movement. 

 
The research project consists of the following two intersecting studies:

 

1) Johannes Völz: “The Poetics of Privacy in Contemporary American Literature”

 

This book project investigates the structural transformation of the private in contemporary culture. How do contemporary writers (roughly of the last two decades) transform the meaning of “the private,” how do they reimagine the relation between public and private, to what degree do they replace the public-private dyad with the conflict between privacy and surveillance, and how do they draw on emergent notions of the private to project new models of subjectivity? The book focuses on three contemporary scenes of writings, each of which highlights particular concerns with the private. The first part zooms in on the complex of (self-)surveillance, technology, and the transparent self in novels by authors such as Dave Eggers, Dana Spiotta, Joshua Cohen, and Gary Shteyngart. Part two focuses on writers often associated with “the New Sincerity movement.” They include Miranda July, Ben Lerner, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Tao Lin, Sheila Heti, and David Foster Wallace. Part three investigates the genre of the memoir as a production of the private under the aegis of the therapeutic.

 

2) Stephan Kuhl: “American Fiction and the Aesthetics of Privacy, 1850–1960”

 

This postdoctoral project provides historical depth to contemporary debates about the state of privacy through a sustained literary analysis of its transformations from the period of Romanticism to the dawn of Postmodernism. The project traces the interdependence between literature and privacy by investigating how literary representation shaped social conceptions and functions of the private and how, in turn, structural transformations of the private sphere generated specific literary practices.

“American Fiction and the Aesthetics of Privacy, 1850–1960” examines the aesthetic forms through which American literature gave meaning to privacy. While American authors wrote privacy into existence, they could do so only while simultaneously making it legible and, thus, exposing it to the observation of their readers. By investigating the tropes and narrative modes that allowed authors to navigate this apparent contradiction, this project aspires to understand how the methodologies and terminologies of narratology and formal literary analysis can contribute to an understanding of privacy and to the constitution of a general aesthetics of the private. In addition, the project draws on the disciplines of sociology and psychoanalysis, in order to investigate how transformations of the private sphere changed the conditions of the production of literature. It places specific emphasis on the role that the social exclusion from privacy privileges of the poor and of criminalized, gendered, pathologized, and racialized groups played in inhibiting and shaping their literary practices.

 

b) Democracy of Feeling: Nineteenth-Century Constellations of Affect and Aesthetics

This book project traces how American thinkers and literary writers during the 19th-century approached the aestheticization of everyday life—what Emerson called “the near, the low, the common.” Torn between the embrace of the aestheticization of the life-world and a Republican inclination to regard the aesthetic as averse to social order, American writers imagined the aesthetic as both the motor of democracy and its gravest threat. 19th-century American writers articulated tensions and paradoxes that structure and beleaguer democratic life to the present day. The book project pays special attention to how American writers and thinkers conceptualized everyday aesthetics as impinging on the affective life of democracy. Rather than framing affects such as envy, pride, greed, and enthusiasm as timeless, universal character traits (or character flaws), this book aims to show that writers like Emerson, Thoreau, and Melville conceptualized a range of affects as emerging from a democratic social structure that – in the words of Alexis de Tocqueville – is characterized by “the equality of conditions”.

In the News

In the News


Media Appearances

Report on the workshop „Was war demokratische Kultur?“ July 7, 2017, co-hosted by Till van Rahden and Johannes Völz at Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften Bad Homburg.
https://aktuelles.uni-frankfurt.de/gesellschaft/nachbericht-zum-workshop-was-war-demokratische-kultur/
(Quelle: Webmagazin Uni Frankfurt)

“Friede, Freude, LSD? Der Mythos vom Summer of Love.”
Interview on the Beat Generation, public radio station Hessischer Rundfunk, hr2, Der Tag. July 14, 2017.
[mp3]

“Zeitzeichen: Ralph Waldo Emerson.” Interview on the anniversary of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s death, national public radio feature WDR 5, WDR 3, NDR Info, SR, April 27, 2017.
[mp3]

“Jedem Abschied wohnt ein Zauber inne – Obama in Deutschland.” Interview on Obama and American literature, public radio station Hessischer Rundfunk, hr2, Der Tag, Nov. 16, 2016.

“Johannes Völz zu Donald Trump: Ob Horror oder Begeisterung – die Wahl Donald Trumps gilt als politisches Erdbeben. Warum ist diese Wahl tatsächlich epochal? Fragen an den Amerikanisten Johannes Völz.” Interview national public television, 3sat http://www.3sat.de/mediathek/?mode=play&obj=62861
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsXueNWABxo K
ulturzeit
. Nov. 10, 2016.

“Er gibt der Wut ein Ventil: USA-Experte Johannes Völz spricht über Trumps überraschenden Erfolg.”
Interview, Frankfurter Neue Presse, Nov. 10, 2016, p. 3.
http://www.fnp.de/lokales/frankfurt/Trump-hat-den-Menschen-ein-Ventil-fuer-ihre-Wut-gegeben;art675,2312120

“Aufstieg und Krise einer Weltmacht. Amerika erzählt.” Interview on American literature, public radio station Hessischer Rundfunk, hr2, Der Tag. Nov 8, 2016.
[mp3]
Copyright by hr2 kultur
http://www.hr-online.de/website/radio/hr2/index.jsp?rubrik=22844

“Demokratische Kultur am Ende – USA noch zu retten?” Interview on public radio station Hessischer Rundfunk, Hr-Info, Das Thema. Nov 8, 2016.
[mp3]
Copyright by hr-iNFO
http://www.hr-online.de/website/radio/hr-info/

Cited in Sascha Zoske, „Groteske Figuren und lädierte Charaktere: Forscher schauen auf den Präsidentenwahlkampf und den Populismus“. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Oct. 25, 2016. p. 32.