Arnd Wedemeyer is Senior Researcher and Coordinator of the Core Project ERRANS at the ICI Berlin. He studied philosophy and comparative literature at Cologne, Munich and the Humanities Center at Johns Hopkins University. His doctoral thesis, ‘Expanses of Thought: Space Among Kant Husserl Heidegger’, shows how Kant’s discovery of the problem of incongruent counterparts became the driving force for a progressively radicalized exteriorization of thought. He taught German literature and philosophy at Princeton University from 2002 to 2010 and held a visiting position at Duke University. He joined the ICI Berlin first as a postdoctoral fellow, then, in 2014, as a staff member.
His research focuses on continental philosophy, literary and cultural studies, political and legal studies, and Jewish thought. Recent publications and lectures deal with the curse of political theology, the crippled absolutism of the Enlightenment, Joseph Beuys as a pioneer of plasticity, the heterological routines of Jacob Taubes, Walter Benjamin’s dialectics of concealment, and Max Brod’s war games. He is currently writing a cultural history of the year 1977 in the two German states.
- ‘”Finally Learning to Walk by Falling a Few Times”: Kant’s Gait and the King’s Gout’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, forthcoming
- ‘Pumping Honey: Joseph Beuys at the documenta 6’, in De/Constituting Wholes: Towards Partiality Without Parts, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey and Manuele Gragnolati (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2017), 177-214
- ‘The Mighty Quinn’, Replik auf Philipp Felsch, “Für eine Gattungsgeschichte der Theorie,” Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 1.2016, 137-41
- ‘Nigún libro es también una escalera. 3 x Kant zu Babel’, in Babel: Festschrift für Werner Hamacher, ed. by Aris Fioretos (Basel: Urs Engeler, 2008), pp. 378-88
- ‘Herrschaftszeiten! Theopolitical Profanities in the Face of Secularization’, New German Critique, 35.3 (2008), 121-41
- ‘Diesseitswunder: Franz Kafka as Political Saint’, Journal of the Kafka Society of America, 30.1-2 (2006), 63-75
- ‘Kant Spacing Out’, MLN (Modern Language Notes), 109.3 (April 1994), 372-98
1977 in Two Germanies: A Counter-History of the Non-Event
ICI Project 2012-14
The year 1977 was marked by the struggle between the RAF and the state in the Federal Republic and by the expulsion of Wolf Biermann and subsequently many others from the GDR. These disparate events, however, were immediately understood as mere instantiations of state repression, a phenomenon that can only be understood if the cultural production that seems to react to these crises is simultaneously interpreted as part of their configuration. The project stipulates that the synchronizing effect this constellation had on the intellectual life of the two German states has to be related to an experience of a non-event.
Its ultimate ambition is a recuperation of history as exceeding mere narrative, patchwork, or assemblage, that is, of history as a whole that is not one. The one-year study is uniquely positioned to reflect on the possibility of a historicizing universalism as the foundation of radical cultural practices and non-traditional revolutionary politics. In particular, I would like to show that such a historiography has to reckon with the irresolvable complementarity of fact and event, structure and process, without which history would revert to familiar modes of totalization.