Joseph Vogl

April - September 2011
Joseph Vogl is Professor for Literature and Culture Theory (Kulturwissenschaft) at Humboldt University since 2006. He received his PhD in Modern German Literature at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in 1990 and completed his habilitation in 2001. 1998 Josef Vogl joined Bauhaus University as a Professor for the Theory and History of Artificial Worlds, where he still is co-editor of the journal Archiv für Mediengeschichte. From 2005 to 2006, he was spokesman of the Graduate School Mediale Historiographien, Bauhaus-Universität. From, 2006 to 2007, he was spokesman of the Graduate School Codierung von Gewalt im medialen Wandel at Humboldt Universität. Since June 2008, Joseph Vogl is the director of the international graduate program Das Wissen der Literatur. He was visiting fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK) in Vienna from 2001 to 2002. Since 2007, he is Permanent Visiting Professor at the Department of German at Princeton University.

Fields of research

History and theory of knowledge; history of danger in modern times; media and discourse theory; history of literature, 18th – 20th century.

IKKM Research Project

From the 16th century news of a special form of violence began to reach Europe from Indonesia and Malaysia, contained in the term amok (Malay: amuk = furious, raging). The history of this import covers a number of distinctive phases, and documents how ‘amok’ went from an exotic martial tactic to a psychiatric incident, eventually coming to signify, from the 20th century onwards, a diffuse social threat emanating from the centre of Western cultures. The example of the ‘running amok’ phenomenon enables us to delineate – right up to the most recent school massacres – the history of a sense of danger which relates to ‘dangerous individuals’ and declarations of hostility, an economy of violence, and its public processing in modern and contemporary societies. The observation of these spectacular acts of violence also sheds light on the way the cohesion and the predetermined breaking points of social and political orders have been arranged.