Katrin Pahl

Katrin Pahl

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for German

Program: German
Gilman 414
Wednesday 2:30 to 4:00PM by appointment

Katrin Pahl received her PhD from the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. She serves as co-director of the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at JHU. In 2008, she was a visiting professor at the Cluster of Excellence “Languages of Emotion” of the Freie Universität Berlin.

Professor Pahl approaches the German literary and philosophical canon from a queer-feminist perspective. The arc of her research is situated in affect and emotion studies. Three books (will) address the ethical, epistemological, and aesthetic implications of emotionality while moving the emphasis from subjectivity to performance to sociability. Her first book, Tropes of Transport: Hegel and Emotion (Northwestern UP, 2012) demonstrates that a fresh analysis of Hegel’s thought offers an important resource for the theory of emotionality. It addresses emotions as transformational forces that carry one out of oneself and to a different self, while introducing impersonal transports, such as release, juggle, acknowledging, tremble, and broken.

Currently, she works on a manuscript entitled Kleist’s Queer Feelings that examines the unusual performance of emotion in Kleist’s theater. It analyzes how Kleist struggles with the newly established imaginary order and experiments with alternative symbolic orders. As her next project, she will investigate how the practices and theories of sociability (Geselligkeit) that emerge in Germany in the 18th century present a critique of the other grand narrative of the German 18th century, namely Bildung. This book will explore how the historical models of sociability might be relevant in the 21st century for thinking, kinship, affinity, and mutual support beyond the apotheosis of the human.

Pahl edited the 2009 issue on Emotionality of the Modern Language Notes, and she was awarded the Best Article in Feminist Scholarship Prize from the Coalition of Women in German for “Transformative Translations: Cyrillizing and Queering.”

Selected Courses



Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

Psychoanalytic Theory

Beautiful Soul and Romantic Irony: Feeling, Gender, Theory

Poetic Rhythm: Hölderlin, Klopstock, CelanSprachbiographien: Intercultural Literature


Friedrich Nietzsche

Classic German Theater

The Making of Modern Gender

Critical Love: The Theory and Practice of Literary Criticism

Introduction to Feminist and Queer Theory

Selected Publications

Tropes of Transport: Hegel and Emotion. Northwestern University Press, 2012. Author interview available at http://rorotoko.com/interview/20120305_pahl_firstname_on_tropes_transport_hegel_emotion/

“Nicht ganz so menschliche Geselligkeit und der Kaffeter,” Kollektivität nach der Subjektkritik. Geschlechtertheoretische Positionen, ed. Gabriele Jähnert, Karin Aleksander, and Marianne Kriszio, Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2013.

“Mourning Kafka” DISCOURSE: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, 33.3 (2011): 342-366.

“‘Geliebte, sprich!’—wenn Frauen sich haben,” Penthesileas Versprechen: Exemplarische Studien über die literarische Referenz, ed. Rüdiger Campe, Freiburg: Rombach Verlag, 2008.

“Transformative Translations: Cyrillizing and Queering,” TRANSIT: A Journal of Travel, Migration and Multiculturalism in the German-Speaking World, 2:1 (2006).

“A Reading of Love in Hölderlin’s Andenken,” The German Quarterly, 78:2 (2005).