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Richard Langston
Professor of German; Director of Graduate Admissions


2002, Ph.D., Germanic Languages and Literatures, Washington University in St. Louis

Intellectual Biography & Awards

My scholarship focuses primarily on twentieth- and twenty-first century literature and its relationship to visual culture and philosophy. I have published widely on German-language prose, poetry, avant-garde and experimental cinema, as well as the visual arts. While much of my recent scholarship has focused primarily on the work of author and filmmaker Alexander Kluge and social philosopher Oskar Negt, I have recently started a new project about money, value and knowledge in modern and contemporary German literature. In 2011-2012 I was a fellow with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and from 2014-2018 I was appointed the Zachary Smith Distinguished Term Chair in Teaching and Research.

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Dark Matter CoverDark Matter: A Guide to Alexander Kluge and Oskar Negt. London & New York: Verso Books, 2020.


Difference and Orientation: An Alexander Kluge Reader. Ed. Richard Langston. Trans. Emma Woelk et al. Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press, 2019.


“Oskar Negt and Alexander Kluge: From the Underestimated Subject to the Political Constitution of Commonwealth.” The Sage Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. Eds. Beverley Best, Werner Bonefeld, and Chris O’Kane. Vol. 1. London: Sage Publishing, 2018. 317-334.

“Specters of Ambivalence: Notes on Alexander Kluge’s Ambiguous Genre.” Zeitschrift für Ästhetik und Allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft. Sonderheft: Ambiguity in Contemporary German Art and Literature (2018): 135-150.

“Die Lampe.” Alexander Kluge: Pluriversum. Exhibition Catalogue. Sept. 15 2017–Jan. 7 2018. Museum Folkwang Essen. Leipzig: Spector Books, 2017. 117-131.


“Searching for the Young Soul Rebels: On Writing, New Wave, and the Ends of Cultural Studies.” German Politics and Society. 35.2 (2017): 117-137.

“Eyes Wide Open: The Look of Obstinacy, the Gaze of the Camera, and the 24/7 Economy in Antja Ehmann and Harun Farocki’s Labour in a Single Shot (2011-2015).” Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature. 40.2 (Summer 2016): Article 8.

Frequently Taught Courses

  • GERM 60: Avant-Garde Cinema: History, Themes, Textures (FYS)
  • GERM 251: Ideology and Aesthetics: Marxism and Literature (Seminar)
  • GERM 280: Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll: Twentieth-Century German Philosophy and Modern Youth Cultures (Lecture)
  • GERM 281: The German Idea of War (Lecture)
  • GERM 301-302: Advanced German I & II (Seminar)
  • GERM 303: Introduction to German Literature (Seminar)
  • GERM 349: Die Jahrhundertwende (Seminar)
  • GERM 382: Gangsters, Freedom Fighters, and Cold-Blooded Killers: Representations of Violence and Terrorism in Contemporary German Literature and Film (Seminar)

Undergraduate and Graduate Advising and Mentoring

  • Leonie Wilms – “Hate and His Children: Gender and the Performativity of Explosive Emotions in Contemporary German Theater” (In Progress)
  • N.D. Jones – “Revolutionary Communities and the Subversion of Space: Rewriting Marxian Anthropology in Weimar Germany” (In Progress)
  • Christoph Schmitz – “Listening to Novels: Index and Voice in Post-War German Fiction” (In Progress)
  • Richard Lambert, III, Ph.D. ’17 – “In Search of Experience: Viennese Modernism’s Literary Experiments” (Dissertation)
  • Nate Wagner, B.A., ’17. “Cynicism or Revolt: Searching for the Political between Contemporary German Bildungsromane and Post-Wall Popular Music” (Honors Thesis)
  • Amelia Wallace, B.A., ’16 – “Ulrike Meinhof’s Bambule: Performing Politics in the Electronic Public Sphere” (Honors Thesis)
  • Andreas Hill, B.A., ’16 – “The Time and Space of Stimmung: Poetic Negotiations of Modernity in Hölderlin and Rilke” (Honors Thesis)
  • Nicole Johnson, B.A., ’14 – “Deconstructing the Masculine Wall: Exploring Gendered Experiences of German Reunification in Film and Autobiography” (Honors Thesis)
  • Alexander Fulk Kirkland, Ph.D., ’13 – “Literature as Utopia: Spaces of Alterity in West German Postcolonial and Science-Fiction Literature after Sixty-Eight” (Dissertation)
  • Kai-Uwe Werbeck, Ph.D., ’12 – “From Rubble to Revolutions and Raves : Literary Interrogations of German Media Ecologies” (Dissertation)
  • Robert Blankenship, Ph.D., ’11 – “Transforming Suicides: Literary Heritage, Intertextuality, and Self-Annihilation in GDR Fiction of the 1970s and 1980s” (Dissertation)
  • Rebeccah Dawson, Ph.D., ’11 – “‘Sport ist der Nerv der Zeit’: The Politics of Sport in German Literature, 1918-1962” (Dissertation)
  • Anja Wieden, Ph.D., ’11 – “Female Experiences of Rape and Hunger in Postwar German Literature, 1945-1960” (Dissertation)
  • Cyrus Shahan, Ph.D., ’08 – “Punk Poetics and West German Literature of the Eighties” (Dissertation)
  • David Palmer, B.A., ’04 – “Persecution & Propaganda: The Monstrous ‘Other’ in German Cinema” (Honors Thesis)

Additional Information

Alexander Kluge Jahrbuch (The Yearbook’s English-Language Site)
For more about Dr. Langston, see his Curriculum Vitae.