Karen Feldman

Research Expertise and Interest

critical theory, aesthetics, literary theory, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Arendt, Benjamin, 18th-20th century German thought, Hegel, Adorno

Research Description

Professor Feldman’s research concerns 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 published on works by Gottsched, G.F. Meier, Kant, Nietzsche, Benjamin, Adorno, Heidegger, Koselleck, and Arendt; and on topics including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the rhetoric of Marxism, Cold War effects on U.S. philosophy, and Heidegger and Critical Theory.

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 most recent book 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  Arts of Connection: Poetry, History, Epochality (De Gruyter, 2019); Binding Words: Conscience and Rhetoric in Hobbes, Hegel and Heidegger (Northwestern University Press, 2008); co-editor of Freud and Monotheism: Moses and the Violent Origins of Religion (Fordham University Press, 2018); and co-editor of Continental Philosophy: An Anthology (Blackwell, 1998).

Feldman has been a Fulbright Scholar, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, a Hellman Family Faculty Award recipient, and a Townsend Center for the Humanities Fellow. She has been an invited researcher at the research cluster “Cultural Foundations of Europe” at the University of Konstanz, Germany; at the research program “Enlightenment, Religion, Knowledge” at the University of Halle, Germany; and with the Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities" at the Free University of Berlin. 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.

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.

Loading Class list ...