96 Works


Martin Doll, Rupert Gaderer, Fabio Camilletti & Jan Niklas Howe
Titelseite / Reihenbeschreibung / Impressum / Inhalt

Unheimlich leiden: Über die Empfindsamkeit der Körper, die Übertragbarkeit von Angst und was gemeinhin dagegen unternommen wird – am Beispiel Autismus

Roman Widholm
Um das Unheimliche eines Leidens zu beschreiben und die Signalfunktion des Unheimlichen an Zusammenhängen zwischen Affekt, Körper und Gesellschaft zu untersuchen, werde ich mich im Folgenden einem konkreten – nach den internationalen Diagnoseschemata ICD und DSM einheitlich klassifizierbaren – Krankheitsbild widmen: dem Autismus-Spektrum.

Konstruierte urbane Räume: Zur unheim(e)lichen Interaktion und Interdependenz von Emotion und Beton

Sandra Evans
Isolierung und Ausgrenzung sind aktuell prägende gesellschaftliche Prozesse im urbanen Raum; umzäunte und mit komplizierten Sicherheitssystemen versehene Wohnkomplexe oder ›Gated Communities‹ gehören mittlerweile zum Stadtbild. In gewisser Weise stellen diese hermetisch abgeschlossenen Wohngebiete eine Form der (Selbst-)Exklusion dar, die im selben Zug den Rest der Gesellschaft ausschließt.

Cultural Inquiry

Book Series Cultural Inquiry, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey and Manuele Gragnolati (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2019-)

Svetlana Boym: Exile and Imagination: Discussion, Screening

Judith Wechsler
This one-hour documentary released in 2017 engages with the life and work of Svetlana Boym (1959-2015), literary and cultural critic, media artist, novelist, playwright, and 2003 fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Art of Encounter: On Non-Human Art Production

Michael Marder, Semâ Bekirović, Daniel Liu & Alison Sperling
A vast set of associations surrounds both popular and academic ideas of what art actually entails. Art is assumed to be expression, experience, and intention — and often at the same time. Intentionis a difficult concept; it might feel conscious, rational, or substantiated, but is that really the case? The human mind is a notoriously unreliable piece of equipment and hardly capable of understanding its own intentions. In order to discard the assumptions that one...


Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti & Fabian Lampart
Bibliography / Notes on Contributors / Index of Names / Index of Passages from Dante’s Works / Volumes in the Series Cultural Inquiry Please note that the illustrations are not part of the open access edition.

Irish Dante: Yeats, Joyce, Beckett

Piero Boitani
‘Dante and Ireland’, or ‘Dante and Irish Writers’, is an extremely vast topic, and to cover it a book rather than an essay would be necessary. If the relationship between the poet and Ireland did not begin in the fourteenth century — when Dante himself may have had some knowledge of, and been inspired by, the Vision of Adamnán, the Vision of Tungdal, and the Tractatus de purgatorio Sancti Patricii — the story certainly had...

Literary Heresy: The Dantesque Metamorphosis of LeRoi Jones into Amiri Baraka

Dennis Looney
During the Black Revolution, LeRoi Jones used a radical adaptation of Dante to express a new militant identity, turning him into a new man with a new name, Amiri Baraka, whose experimental literary project culminated in The System of Dante’s Hell in 1965. Dante’s poem (specifically, John Sinclair’s translation) provides a grid for the narrative of Baraka’s autobiographical novel; at the same time, the Italian poet’s description of hell functions for Baraka as a gloss...

Human Desire, Deadly Love: The Vita Nova in Gide, Delay, Lacan

Fabio Camilletti
The relationship between Dante and psychoanalysis is altogether (to anticipate one of the themes of this essay) a sort of unconsummated love. Both Dante’s and Freud’s works start from the image of a catabasis, safeguarded and sanctioned by Virgil. As Lacan noticed in his seminar Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse (1964): ‘n’oublions pas que Freud, quand il commença de remuer ce monde, articula ce vers, qui paraissait lourd d’inquiétantes appréhensions quand il l’a...

Resistance II

Hannah Proctor
A litany of terms drawn from Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker's Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic and placed together in an attempt to create a sense of collective possibility.

Recitation: Lyric Time(s) I

Francesco Giusti
What is the time of the lyric? For Augustine, the recitation of a hymn illustrates the workings of time in the human mind; for Giorgio Agamben, the poem itself exemplifies the structure of what he defines as ‘messianic time’. By focusing on Dante’s sonnet ‘Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare’ and looking at the double act of the recitation of the poem and the re-citation of prior gestures, the temporality of both the single poem...

Re-: An Errant Glossary

Christoph F. E. Holzhey & Arnd Wedemeyer
What’s in a prefix? How to read a prefix as short as ‘re-’? Does ‘re-’ really signify? Can it point into a specific direction? Can it reverse? Can it become the shibboleth of a ‘postcritical’ reboot? At first glance transparent and directional, ‘re-’ complicates the linear and teleological models commonly accepted as structuring the relations between past, present, and future, opening onto errant temporalities.


Arnd Wedemeyer & Christoph F. E. Holzhey
Re-: An Errant Glossary, Cultural Inquiry 15, vii-xv

The Topoi of Utopia: A Topology of Political Tensions

Martin Doll
Writing a positive account of utopias has always been a difficult and risky task. Utopias have always already been out of fashion and outside of time. Since 1989 at the latest, visions of utopia appear to have come to an end. Twenty years after Fukayama’s ‘end of history’, this article re-assesses the potentially fruitful roles for utopia’s out-of-timeness. Focusing on the critical potential of utopias through the concept of tension, it argues that utopian thought...

Tension In/Between Aesthetics, Politics, and Physics

Christoph F. E. Holzhey
The article sketches a critical paradigm for interdisciplinary work that is centred on tension as a highly ambiguous and ultimately deeply paradoxical notion. It highlights that a unifying account of what tension is or a systematic classification of its diverse meanings would risk resolving tensions between different approaches and privileging a particular mode of doing so. Successively focussing on aesthetic, socio-political, and physical tensions, the essay articulates tension rather as a broad umbrella term that...


Christoph F. E. Holzhey
Tension/Spannung explores the critical potential of tension by bringing together contributions from several academic and artistic fields, including history of science, philosophy, literature and media studies, political and social theory, visual and performing arts. Both individually and in their combination, they produce a rapprochement and confrontation between different meanings and models of tension that unsettle the apparent self-evidence that any particular model has when considered in an isolated context.

On Social Forces: Tension as a Metaphor and the Image of Society

Jean Terrier
This article conceptualizes tension as a relation between elements in which at least two forces with different directions are involved. How can this concept of tension be applied to the analysis of the peculiar logic of life in common? The article offers a reading, inspired by the method of conceptual history, of the use of the concept of ‘force’ in three models of society: Hobbes’s political model, the economic model proposed by the thinkers of...

Tension and Narrative: Autobiographies of Illness and Therapeutic Legitimacy in Eighteenth-Century French and English Medical Works

Sabine Arnaud
This article discusses the function of tension in autobiographies written by eighteenth-century doctors George Cheyne, Francis Fuller, Claude Revillon, and the Viscount de Puysegur. It studies how their rhetorical strategies stir tensions in readers through the narration of their own periods of infirmity and search for a remedy. The descriptions of their recoveries offer resolution, legitimate their medical practices, and help diffuse their works. Through the staging of these reversals, the authors suggest a shift...

Wives and Lovers in Dante and Eugenio Montale

Rebecca West
In the work of male poets, the love for a woman is often a pretext for the elaboration of their texts; that love can be seen both as a deeply felt personal inspiration and as the point of origin for stylistic adventures, which involve the less personal techniques of poetic art. The figure of the feminine poetic beloved abounds in the lyric tradition as muse, far-off or lost love, or cold-hearted belle dame sans merci;...

Geister versammeln: Vorwort

Martin Doll & Rupert Gaderer
Bereits zu Beginn seiner Abhandlung »Das Unheimliche« (1919) weist Sigmund Freud darauf hin, dass »dies Wort nicht immer in einem scharf zu bestimmenden Sinne gebraucht wird«. Entsprechend charakterisiert sich für Freud das Unheimliche durch eine Vielzahl an schwer zu fassenden Eigenschaften: Es bezeichnet eine seltsame Nähe zwischen Wissen und Nichtwissen, erscheint als etwas Vertrautes in fremder Gestalt oder als etwas Fremdes mit vertrauten Eigenschaften. Diese Unfassbarkeit und Definitionsresistenz führt Freud implizit darauf zurück, dass das...

Der Körper der Puppe

Claudia Peppel
Das Unheimliche umflort die Puppe, ihre Aura oder unsere Vorstellung von ihr und bringt – wie Ernst Jentsch es einmal genannt hat – jenes »dunkle Gefühl der Unsicherheit« hervor. Wie Jentsch rekurriert auch Freud auf die Puppe bei »der Wahl eines glücklichen ersten Beispiels« für das Unheimliche, wo die »Grenze zwischen Phantasie und Wirklichkeit verwischt« und »das Leblose die Ähnlichkeit mit dem Lebenden zu weit treibt«.

Wie wir unseren Tod verloren: Biopolitik, Raum und Unheimlichkeit zwischen Neuzeit und Moderne

Matthias Korn
Der Titel meines Aufsatzes suggeriert die Geschichte eines Verlustes. Paradoxerweise ist es der Verlust von etwas, das die Menschheit nie besessen hat: den Tod. Dass diese metaphorische Rede dennoch sinnfällig ist, soll im Folgenden gezeigt werden. Dabei kann nicht auf kleinem Raum das reiche, von den Todeshistorikern aus den Archiven gehobene Datenmaterial noch einmal zusammengefasst werden;

Phantasmagorie statt Fetisch: Zur modernen Signatur der Dinge

Christine Blättler
Dinge besitzen eine Ausstrahlung, sie können bezaubern und erschrecken, faszinieren und bannen. Diese Erfahrung machen Menschen nicht nur mit ›auratischen‹ oder ›authentischen‹ Kunstwerken, auch im Zeitalter der technischen Reproduzierbarkeit scheinen Dinge ein Eigenleben zu führen. Nachdem konstruktivistische Zugänge versuchten, ihnen genau dieses auszutreiben, kehrt es seit einiger Zeit wieder: in der Rede von der Aktivität der Objekte und der Macht der Dinge.


Martin Doll, Rupert Gaderer, Fabio Camilletti & Jan Niklas Howe
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