Santner, Eric L. 1955-
Santner, Eric L. 1955-
PERSONAL: Born 1955. Education: Oberlin College, B.A., 1977; University of Texas at Austin, M.A., 1982, Ph.D., 1984.
CAREER: University of Texas at Austin, assistant instructor, 1978-84; Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, assistant professor, 1984-90, associate professor, 1990-94, professor of German, 1994-96; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of Modern European History, 1996-2003, Philip and Ida Romberg Professor of Modern Germanic Studies, 2003—, chair of Department of Germanic Studies, 2000—. Charles H. McIlwain Preceptorship, Princeton University, 1988-90.
AWARDS, HONORS: American Council of Learned Societies research fellow, fall, 1986; John Simon Guggenheim fellow, 1997-98.
Friedrich Hölderlin: Narrative Vigilance and the Poetic Imagination, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ), 1986.
(Editor) Friedrich Hölderlin, Hyperion and Selected Poems, Continuum (New York, NY), 1990.
Stranded Objects: Mourning, Memory, and Film in Postwar Germany, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1990.
My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber’s Secret History of Modernity, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1996.
On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life: Reflections on Freud and Rosenzweig, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2001.
(Editor, with Moishe Postone) Catastrophe and Meaning: The Holocaust and the Twentieth Century, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2003.
(With others) The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2005.
On Creaturely Life: Rilke, Benjamin, Sebald, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2006.
Contributor to numerous anthologies and journals, including International Journal of Psychoanalytical Self Psychology, Qui Parle, and the German Quarterly.
SIDELIGHTS: Eric L. Santner serves as chair of the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago. Santner’s primary areas of research study include German culture—specifically German literature, history, and cinema—Modern European Jewish history, and the Holocaust. He is also interested in issues of memory and mourning in postwar Germany, and the use of psychoanalysis. His On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life: Reflections on Freud and Rosenzweig addresses the sociopolitical effects of theology and psychology, particularly as pertains to the works of Freud and Rosenzweig. Santner notes that religion, and monotheism in particular, has been linked to the majority of violent conflicts of the twentieth century and before. Michael Mack, in a review for the Journal of Religion, remarked: “No doubt, this philosophical essay will be highly influential in reconceptions of theology and its ‘mundane’ implications.” Writing for Theological Studies, Michael L. Morgan commented: “Santner presents an important drama about modern life by mapping the vocabularies of a number of thinkers, one onto the other.”
In My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber’s Secret History of Modernity, Santner looks at the life and writings of Daniel Paul Schreber, and analyzes Schreber’s social theories regarding subjectivity as a cultural construction. Santner addresses the paradoxical nature of modernity, which encourages strong individualism, yet does not take into account the fact that such behavior results in a weakened and disconnected community. Schreber was a prime example of such behavior, the result of his own father’s strict and particular upbringing according to his ideas of what constituted the perfect body—an ideal that Schreber’s eventual descent into mental illness and paranoia shattered. Paul Bishop, writing for the Journal of European Studies, found the book offers “little which is new in terms of scholarship apart from its main argument.”
Catastrophe and Meaning: The Holocaust and the Twentieth Century, which Santner edited with Moishe Postone, collects a series of essays pertaining to German history and the Holocaust. The volume stems from a conference held at the University of Chicago in 1998 which dealt with the four areas that make up the four sections of the book: history, anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; the Holocaust and the twentieth century; annihilation, victimhood, identity; and trauma and the limits of representation. Stephen Feinstein, in a review for Shofar, called the book “an exceptionally important and useful compilation,” that “provides much food for thought about interpretation of the Holocaust from the perspective of the twenty-first century, especially as genocide continues without intervention.” Brad Prager, in a review for the German Quarterly, remarked that “the high quality of this book and its contributions makes it clear that the dimensions of the field’s various literary, philosophical, and historical debates have only broadened and generated more compelling scholarship over time.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
American Journal of Sociology, November, 1997, Michael Steinberg, review of My Own Private Germany: Daniel Paul Schreber’s Secret History of Modernity, p. 798.
German Quarterly, fall, 1998, Nina Zimnik, review of My Own Private Germany, p. 403; summer, 2004, Brad Prager, review of Catastrophe and Meaning: The Holocaust and the Twentieth Century, pp. 383-384.
Journal of European Studies, December, 1996, Paul Bishop, review of My Own Private Germany, p. 498.
Journal of Religion, July, 2002, Michael Mack, review of On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life: Reflections on Freud and Rosenzweig, p. 517.
Shofar, fall, 2005, Stephen Feinstein, review of Catastrophe and Meaning, p. 185.
Theological Studies, March, 2003, Michael L. Morgan, review of On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life, p. 206.
Times Literary Supplement, October 4, 1996, Ritchie Robertson, review of My Own Private Germany, p. 16.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, http://www.h-net.org/ (January 23, 2007), Timothy E. Pytell, review of Catastrophe and Meaning.
University of Chicago Department of Germanic Studies Web site, http://humanities.uchicago.edu/depts/german/index.html/ (February 5, 2007), faculty biography.*