I am a Professor of German Studies, with appointments in History and Media Studies, at the University of Virginia. My primary research and teaching areas include European intellectual history, Romanticism, and media and social theory. I am also co-director of UVA’s New Curriculum and Principal of Brown College.

Contact me at:


Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, German Studies, May 2006

M.A. University of California, Berkeley, German Studies, Fall 2001

B.A.  Davidson College, Political Philosophy and German, Spring 1999


Professor of German, University of Virginia, Department of German, 2018-present

Associate Professor of German, University of Virginia, Department of German, 2013-2018

Assistant Professor of German, University of Virginia, Department of German, 2007-2013

Visiting Assistant Professor of German, Georgetown Department of German, 2006-2007

Visiting Instructor of German, Davidson College, Resident Director of Study Abroad Program in Würzburg, Germany, 2004-2006


Permanent Crisis: The Humanities in a Disenchanted Age, with Paul Reitter (in preparation and under contract, University of Chicago Press, 2019)

Interacting with Print: Elements of Reading in the Era of Print Saturation, with the Multigraph Collective (University of Chicago Press, 2018)

The Rise of the Research University: A Sourcebook, ed. with Louis Menand and Paul Reitter (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Organizing Enlightenment: Information Overload and the Invention of the Modern Research University (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015)

Anti-Education: On the Future of Our Educational Institutions, Friedrich Nietzsche. Translated and Edited with Introduction by Paul Reitter, Damion Searles, and Chad Wellmon (New York Review Books, 2015)

Becoming Human: Romantic Anthropology and the Embodiment of Freedom (Penn State University Press, Series in Philosophy and Literature, 2010)


Detecting Footnotes in 32 Million Pages of ECCO.” with Sherif Abuelwafa, Sara Zhalepour, et. al. Journal of Cultural Analytics. December 3, 2018. DOI: 10.31235/

The Modest University: The moral argument in favour of limits on the moral jurisdiction of universities.” Comment 36:1 (Spring 2018): 43-50.

Melancholy Mandarins: Bloom, Weber, and Moral Education,” with Paul Reitter. Hedgehog Review (Fall 2017) 19:3.

“Feature Learning for Footnote-Based Document Image Classification,” with Abuelwafa S. et al. (2017)  In: Karray F., Campilho A., Cheriet F. (eds) Image Analysis and Recognition. ICIAR 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10317. Springer, Cham

“Footnote-Based Document Image Classification,” with Zhalehpour S., Piper A., Cheriet M. (2017)  In: Karray F., Campilho A., Cheriet F. (eds) Image Analysis and Recognition. ICIAR 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10317. Springer, Cham

“Enlightenment, Some Assembly Required,” with Brad Pasanek, in The Eighteenth Centuries: Global Networks of Enlightenment. Edited by David T. Gies and Cynthia Wall (University of Virginia Press, 2018).

Loyal Workers and Distinguished Scholars: Big Humanities and the Ethics of Knowledge,” Modern Intellectual History (2017): 1-39.

Publication, Power, and Patronage: On Inequality and Academic Publishing,” with Andrew Piper, Critical Inquiry (Fall 2017).

Whatever Happened to General Education,” Hedgehog Review 19:1 (Winter 2017): 92-105.

Trust without Teachers,” Comment (Winter 2017).

Revolution U: What Today’s Critics of the University Get Wrong and Right,” Comment. (Fall 2016): 49-57.

“Kant on the Logic of Anthropology and the Ethics of Disciplinarity,” in Performing Knowledge, 1750-1850. Edited by Mary Helen Dupree, and Sean B. Franzel (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015): 121-145.

“Academic Inequality,” with Andrew Piper and Anne Manasche. Hedgehog Review 17:3 (Fall 2015): 7-9.

Sacred Reading: From Augustine to the Digital Humanists,” Hedgehog Review 17:3 (Fall 2015): 70-84.

“The Enlightenment Index,” with Brad Pasanek, Eighteenth Century Theory and Interpretation 56:3 (Fall 2015): 357-380.

How the Philologist Became a Physician of Modernity: Nietzsche’s Lectures on German Education,” with Paul Reitter, Representations 129:2 (Summer 2015): 68-104.

“Engaging Studies in Advising and General Education Requirements,” with Rachel Most, Journal of General Education 64:2 (2015): 106-116.

“Uneasy in Digital Zion,” with Julia Tiocona, Hedgehog Review 17:1 (2015): 58-71.

“Nietzsche Transformed,” Hedgehog Review 16:3 (2014): 92-100.

“Knowledge, Virtue and the University of the Future,” The Hedgehog Review 15:2 (Summer 2013): 79-91.

“Why Google is Not Making us Stupid . . . Or Smart,” The Hedgehog Review 14:1 (Spring 2012): 64-78.

“Touching Books: Diderot, Novalis and the Encyclopedia of the Future,” Representations 114:1 (2011): 65-102.

“Goethe’s Morphology of Knowledge, or the Overgrowth of Nomenclature,” Goethe Yearbook 17 (2010): 153-177.

“Kant and the Feelings of Reason,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 42:4 (2009): 557-580.

“Languages, Cultural Studies and the Future of Foreign Language Education,” Modern Language Journal (92:2) 2008: 292-295.

“From Bildung durch Sprache to Language Ecology: The Multilingual Challenge,” with Claire Kramsch. Münchener Arbeiten zur Fremdsprachenforschung 22 (2008): 215-225.

“Lyrical Feeling: Novalis’ Anthropology of the Senses,” Studies in Romanticism 47:4 (2008): 453-478.

“The Problem of Framing in Foreign Language Education: The Case of German,” with Claire Kramsch, Tes Howell and Chantelle Warner. Critical Inquiries in Language Studies. Fall (2007): 151-178.

Poesie as Anthropology: Schleiermacher, Colonial History and the Ethics of Ethnography,” The German Quarterly. Fall 79:4 (2006): 423-442.

Interviews, Reviews and Shorter Essays

“For Moral Clarity, Don’t Look to Universities,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 1, 2017. Volume LXIV: A24.

“Arendt’s Enlightenment and the Ethics of Thinking in Public,” Politics, Religion, and Ideology 18:2 (2017): 1-4.

“The Invention of Philosophy,” Hedgehog Review 19:1 (Winter 2017): 118-120.

“Field of Dreams: Public Higher Education in the United States,” with Paul Reitter. Los Angeles Review of Books. December 13, 2016.

“Better Living through Bibliotherapy,” with Paul Reitter. The Hedgehog Review 18:2 (Summer 2016): 16-17.

“The Future of Search.” The Hedgehog Review 18:2 (Summer 2016): 116-119.

“Permanent Crisis: The Humanities in a Disenchanted Age,” The Times Literary Supplement May 26, 2016.

“The Will is Not Enough,” Comment 34:4 (2016): 50-56.

“Is Higher Education for All Based on a Lie?” Interview with the Irish Times, March 1, 2016.

“Twilight of an Idol,” Review of, Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz, The Hedgehog Review 17:1 (2015): 139-141.

“In Defense of Specialization,” The Chronicle Review, April 10, 2015: B4-B5.

“Recovering Philology,” Review of Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities by James Turner and A New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction by Jerome McGann, The Hedgehog Review 16:3 (2014): 130-133.

Review of Louis Menand, The Marketplace of Ideas and Mark Taylor, Crisis on Campus, The Hedgehog Review 13:1 (2011): 88-91.

Review of Stefani Engelstein, Anxious Anatomy, Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography, New York: AMS Press, 2009.

Review of John B. Lyon, Crafting the Flesh, Crafting the Self, in German Studies Review, Winter 2008.

Review of Tom Gunning, The Films of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Modernity, in Medienwissenschaft Spring 2002.

Honors and Activities

“The Visibility of Knowledge: The Computational Study of Scientific Illustration in the Nineteenth Century,” Insight Grant with the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. With Andrew Piper (McGill) and Mohamed Chariet (University of Montreal). $345,684 (2016-2021)

New Directions Fellowship for “Future Philology,” Mellon Foundation, 2016-2019

Global Research Program of Distinction Award, University of Virginia, for “Global Literary Networks,” ($62,000)

Mellon Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminars, Co-leader, 2014-15

Richard D. Donchian Fellowships in Ethics, Institute for Practical Ethics, Summer 2013

University of Virginia, Arts and Sciences Research Grant, Fall 2012

American Council of Learned Societies, Ryskamp Fellowship, Fall/Spring 2011-12

NEH Summer Seminar, “The Study of Religion,” July 2011

Sesquicentennial Fellowship, University of Virginia, Fall 2010

All-University Teaching Award, U.Va. 2010

“Boots” Mead Teaching Award, University of Virginia Teaching Prize, 2008

University of Virginia, Summer Research Grant, 2007 and 2008

Max Kade Prize, Awarded for Best Article of the Year in the German Quarterly 2007

University of Virginia, Educational Diversity Fellowship 2007

Georgetown University, Course Development Grant 2006

Davidson College Faculty Research Grant 2005

Davidson College Faculty Research Grant 2004

Social Science Research Council, Berlin Program Fellow 2005-2006 (declined)

Fulbright Scholarship 2004-2005 (declined)

DAAD Fellowship 2004-2005 (declined)

Qui Parle (interdisciplinary journal of philosophy, literature and art) Editor, 2002-2004.

Berkeley Language Center Fellow, 2002-2003

Frank Steinway Essay Award, UC Berkeley Department of German Best Essay Award for “Being-in-the-Metropolis: Ruttmann, Heidegger and Boredom,” 2001

Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude, Davidson College, 1999

Davidson College Outstanding German Scholar Award, 1999

Stuart Scholar, 1997-1999

Floyd E. Moreland Fellowship for study at CUNY’s Greek Institute, 1997

Bonner Scholar, 1995-1999

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