Susanne Schmetkamp Ehem. Junior Fellow

Susanne Schmetkamp
April - September 2016


Susanne Schmetkamp is postdoc at the Departement of Philosophy and Media Studies of the University of Basel (Switzerland). From 2008 to 2016, she was senior research assistant and lecturer at the chair of Practical Philosophy in Basel. In 2012, she was Visiting Fellow at the Free University of Berlin at the chair of Film Studies / Gertrud Koch. Having studied Philosophy, New German Literature, and Italian Literature at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn, she wrote her Master Thesis on „Machiavelli`s Political Theory and its Ancient Background“, and she received her Ph.D. in 2008 with a dissertation in the field of Moral Philosophy and Political Philosophy on „Respect and Recognition“. Afterwards she switched to the field of Aesthetics where she is currently working on a book on „Perspectivity and Resonance. Cinematic Experience and its Implications for Philosophical Aesthetics.“

Additionally, Susanne Schmetkamp has been working as a journalist and film critic for many years for different media, including Die Zeit, German Press Agency, Zürcher Tages-Anzeiger, and Medienkorrespondenz. More over, she has been a juror on several occasions for the german TV Award of the Grimme Institute.

Dated from 2016

Fields of research

Systematically: Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art, Filmphilosophy, Philosophy of Emotions (esp. Empathy), Normative Ethics (including Theories of Respect, Human Rights), Applied Ethics (esp. Animal Rights), Philosophy of Humour, Philosophy of Death and Mourning. Special Interest: New TV Series Historically: Plato, Cicero, Machiavelli, Kant, Hegel, Wittgenstein, Dewey, Cavell.

IKKM Research Project

Perspective - Resonance - Body. The condensing processes in and by new TV series

I will analyse the TV serie „The Affair“ and its (self-referential) ways of representing, expressing and evolving perspectives. „The Affair“ thereby serves as a paradigm for the aesthetics of contemporary complex television series – the new „quality“ or „auteur series“ – in generell. Some of the crucial charateristics of these series – in contrast to other forms of TV serials like soap operas – are their horizontal storytelling and their complex development of fictional characters. Beneath that there are media-specific differences concerning the new technologies and flexible ways of distribution and reception (DVD, stream, illegal download, blogs etc.). These (and other) changes transform the relationsship between the series and their viewers. My hypothesis is, that the new way of storytelling on the one hand and of reception on the other hand influences the way how different narrative and expressive perspectives are evolved in and through the series and how they are received not only during but also beyond the particular reception. With regard to this hypothesis I want to investigate „The Affair“ (Showtime, US, since 2014), and its different points of views: In each episode the story (of a love affair) is shown from two different narrative points of view (in season two there are even four narrative points of view). These perspectives (and the reception of them) are accompanied and amplified by corresponding technical and aesthetic means and, even more, by a plurality of ways of reflection in social media networks. I claim that long-term-series themselves have a particular meta- and long-term-perspective which reaches beyond the narrative itself. My thesis is, that we can speak of a complex „rhizom“ of perspectives within and beyond the series which lead to a particular aesthetics of contemporary television and, by doing so, to a much more condensed relationsship between the series and the viewership. My project tackles three specific questions: How shall we conceptualise "perspectives" in case of the new series? How do viewers resonate to them? And how do new technologies and ways of reception change the relationship between series and recipients?



Respekt und Anerkennung, Paderborn: mentis Verlag 2012.


„Perspektive und empathische Resonanz: Vergegenwärtigung anderer Sichtweisen“. In: Empathie und Verkörperung in Film, hg. v. M. Hagener u. I. Vendrell Ferran, Bielefeld: Transcript-Verlag 2016 (i.E.).

„Bis hierhin und nicht Whiter? Moralische Ambivalenzen und Perspektivenverschiebungen“. In: Ambivalenzwucherungen. Breaking Bad aus bildungs-, kultur- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Blickwinkeln, hg. v. M. Arenhövel, A. Besand und O. Sanders, Köln: Von Halem Verlag, 2016 (i.E.).

„Because of the Molecules. The Ice Storm and The Philosophy of Love and Recognition“. In: The Philosophy of Ang Lee, hg. v. R. Arp et al, Kentucky: University Press 2013, 230-242.

„Das Bedürfnis nach Integrität: Über die ethischen Implikationen in «Mad Men»“. In: Serielle Formen. Von den frühen Film-Serials zu aktuellen Quality-TV- und Onlineserien, hg. v. R. Blanchet/K. Köhler/T. Smid/J. Zutavern, Marburg: Schüren 2011, 229-250.