Wesleyan portrait of Ulrich  Plass

Ulrich Plass

Professor of German Studies

Boger Hall, 326

Chair, German Studies

Professor, Letters

Boger Hall, 326


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MA University of Michigan
PHD New York University

Ulrich Plass

My scholarly work encompasses two main areas: (1) Critical Theory and its philosophical origins and (2) the aesthetics of modern and contemporary literature. In both areas, I examine problems of representation and representability: I am interested in the historically specific possibilities and limitations of philosophy as a discursive medium and literature as a fictional and imaginary medium. I have published monographs on the work and life of Franz Kafka, on the implicit theory of language in Adorno's literary criticism, and on the genesis of the theory of the culture industry in the Frankfurt School's collaborative work of the 1930s and 1940s. My recent articles include pieces on Adorno's notion of the work of art as product of social labor; on Marcuse's utopianist critique of history; and on Slatan Dudow's filmic representation of unemployment and proletarian self-help. A co-edited volume (with Sophie Duvernoy and Karsten Olson) titled Representing Social Precarity in German Literature and Film was recently published in Bloomsbury's New Directions in German Studies series (ed. Imke Meyer).

I have been at Wesleyan since 2004. In 2017, I was promoted to Professor of German Studies with a core appointment in the College of Letters. In 2015 and 2016, I was a research fellow at the Berlin Center for Literary and Cultural Research. I did my undergraduate work at the University of Hamburg, my M.A. at the University of Michigan, and my Ph.D. at New York University. I teach a wide array of classes, including courses on Nietzsche, Kafka, Marx and Marxism, Weimar Modernism, contemporary German literature, the Frankfurt School, and German Romanticism. 

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Fall 2024
COL 243 - 01
Junior Colloquium

GRST 391 - 01
Weimar Modernism