Lecture Series: Linguistic Criticism as Historical Reflection in the Early Twentieth Century

Dr. Nicolas Berg
Dr. Elisabeth Gallas​​​​​​​
Research Colloquium
Time: Thursday, 17:15–18:45 (every other week)
Start: 18 October 2018

This colloquium approaches linguistic criticism in a fundamental manner: In the early twentieth century, it formed a downright epistemic-sociological discipline at the intersection of political diagnoses of the times and general philosophical essay writing. As such, it had little to do with linguistic criticism in the narrower sense; rather, the focus was the production of a skeptical conception of history through recourse to language. This colloquium focuses on whether this constitutes an independent sub-genre of philosophy of history that manifested itself in linguistic thought. It moreover relates to the fact that the classical canon of modern linguistic criticism includes a notable amount of Jewish intellectuals, such as Moritz Lazarus, Hermann Steinthal, Fritz Mauthner, Gustav Landauer, Karl Kraus, Alfred Kerr, Walter Benjamin, and Victor Klemperer.

The presentations explore the extent to which linguistic reflections were pertinent for Jewish scholars and intellectuals in the early twentieth century to capture in words the dangerous side of modernity and thereby simultaneously to investigate questions of belonging and self-understanding. This colloquium allows for reflection both on the individual arguments of early linguistic criticism in particular as well as generally on the retrospectively impressive faith in the ability to reform a precarious political present through thinking about the dangers of false language.



18. Oktober 2018
Carolin Kosuch (Göttingen)
Mauthner liest Mendelssohn: Zur Genese der modernen Sprachkritik

22. November 2018
Galili Shahar (Tel Aviv)
Franz Kafka: Jargon and the Critique of Language

13. Dezember 2018
Arno Dusini (Wien)
Karl Kraus und die Sprache

10. Januar 2019
Gerald Hartung (Wuppertal)
Simmel und die Sprachkritik um 1900

31. Januar 2019
Heidrun Kämper (Mannheim)
Die Sprache lügt nicht – Victor Klemperer

14. Februar 2019
Sylvia Asmus (Frankfurt am Main)
Sprache und Sprachverlust im Exil


Dr. Sylvia Asmus, Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933–1945, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Frankfurt am Main | Prof. Dr. Arno Dusini, Universität Wien | Prof. Dr. Gerald Hartung, Bergische Universität Wuppertal | Prof. Dr. Heidrun Kämper, Institut für Deutsche Sprache, Mannheim | Dr. Carolin Kosuch, GeorgAugust-Universität Göttingen | Prof. Dr. Galili Shahar, Tel Aviv University/ Minerva Institute for German History, Tel Aviv

18th Oktober 2018 to 14th February 2019, thursdays, 5.15–6.45 p.m. (CEST); 11.15 a.m. to 12.45 p.m. (EST)
Dubnow Institute