Karen Feldman

Karen Feldman

Dept of German
(510) 642-2973
Research Expertise and Interest
critical theory, aesthetics, literary theory, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Arendt, Benjamin, 18th-20th century German thought, Hegel, Adorno
Research Description

Karen Feldman is a professor in the Department of German.  Her research occupies the intersection of philosophy and literary theory, reflecting a philosophical and literary-critical approach to classic texts of the German literary and philosophical canon, with a strong emphasis in Critical Theory. She has since 2011 produced publications on a wide range of topics and covering 300 years, including Gottsched, G.F. Meier, Kant, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Adorno, Heidegger, Arendt, and Cold War effects on U.S. philosophy.

Professor Feldman's current research explores the representation of connections between events in literary, historical and philosophical narratives. Events in a story can be seen as ordered according to proximate causation, which leads diachronically from one event to the next; and they can also be understood in view of the structure of the narrative as a whole – for instance in terms of the unity of plot. Her book Arts of Connection: Poetry, History, Epochality, published by De Gruyter, argues that there exists an essential narrative tension between these two kinds of connection, by means of exemplary moments in Aristotle and classical German poetics, eighteenth-century philosophy of history, and twentieth-century phenomenology.

She is author of Binding Words: Conscience and Rhetoric in Hobbes, Hegel and Heidegger (Northwestern University Press, 2008); co-editor (with Gilad Sharvit) of Freud and Monotheism: Moses and the Violent Origins of Religion (Fordham University Press, 2018); and co-editor (with Will McNeill) of Continental Philosophy: An Anthology (Blackwell, 1998).

Professor Feldman received her B.A. at the University of Chicago in “General Studies in the Humanities,” and her Ph.D. at DePaul University in philosophy. In 2000, she came to UC Berkeley’s Department of Rhetoric as a visiting assistant professor and joined the Department of German in 2007.  Feldman was a Fulbright Scholar (1997-1998), an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow (2010-2011), and a Hellman Family Faculty Award recipient (2009). She was an invited researcher at the research cluster “Cultural Foundations of Europe” at the University of Konstanz, Germany (Summer 2012) and at the research program “Enlightenment, Religion, Knowledge” at the University of Halle, Germany (May-June 2013). She has also received conference grants from the Townsend Center for the Humanities and the Center for Jewish Studies, as well as course development grants and course enhancement grants from L&S.



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