Sven-Erik Rose


Position Title
Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature

407 Sproul Hall

Education and Degree(s):

  • Ph.D., Comparative Literature & Literary Theory, University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A., Comparative Literature & Literary Theory, University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A., German Literature, Reed College

Research Interest(s):

  • German literature 1750-present
  • Jewish literature and thought in Germany and Europe
  • Yiddish literature and culture
  • Holocaust studies
  • Literary theory, trauma theory, and theories of memory
  • The German critical tradition, especially Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Freud

Course(s) Taught:

  • German 116: Readings in Jewish Writing and Thought in German Culture
  • German 127: Major Writers in German - Franz Kafka
  • German 141: The Holocaust and its Literary Representation
  • German / Humanities 144: Marx, Nietzsche, Freud
  • Humanities 002A (Global Humanities Forum): Revolution!
  • German 259: Studies in Kafka
  • German 297: Literature of the Holocaust
  • German 297: Reading Freud
  • German 297: The Early Marx in Context
  • German 297: The German-Jewish Cultural Tradition


I work primarily on German and German-Jewish literature and thought, but also on French, Swedish and Yiddish literature and culture. At the intersection of literature, visual culture, philosophy, and cultural theory, my work engages humanistic inquiry in broad and interdisciplinary ways.

In a special issue of New German Critique that I edited (Ambivalent Sites of Memory in Postwar Germany: NGC 112/ 38:1, 2011), I brought together scholars working in the fields of History, TV and Film Studies, Literature, Trauma Studies, and Cultural Studies. The issue examines how what I theorize as "ambivalent memory" is constructed, preserved, circulated, redirected, framed and manipulated via specific medial technologies. The contributions in the issue account for the role of visual media such as film, photography, television, painting, and even postcards in the construction of memory, as well as that of print media such as journals and newspapers, school textbooks, archives, and “literature” (prose fiction, film script).

My first book, Jewish Philosophical Politics in Germany, 1789-1848, was published with Brandeis University Press / University Press of New England in Brandeis University’s Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry in 2014. The book exemplifies my commitment to careful reading across different disciplines and modes of discourse. A contribution to German-Jewish studies that draws on intellectual history, philosophy, literary studies, discourse analysis and theories of performativity and subjectivity, the book examines how Jewish intellectuals used newly articulated philosophical systems to conceptualize a place for Jews in political modernity during the heady era of 1789-1848, bounded on each end by a revolution. In December 2015, my book was awarded the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award by the Association of Jewish Studies for the best book published during the three-year period 2013-2015 in the category of Philosophy and Jewish Thought. The Association for Jewish Studies is the largest professional organization of Jewish Studies scholars worldwide, and the Jordan Schnitzer Book Award is the highest award the association bestows.

My published articles include work on writing and sexuality in Goethe, eighteenth-century travel writing and imperial ideology, cinema, Jewish intellectual history, Yiddish Holocaust testimony and journalism, and theories of Holocaust representation and Holocaust postmemory. They have appeared in such journals as Eighteenth Century StudiesFrench StudiesGoethe YearbookJewish Social StudiesNew German Critique, and Postmodern Culture.

My most recent articles and current book project focus on two bodies of Holocaust writing: texts by Jews confined to Nazi ghettos and Holocaust survivor testimony collected in the immediate aftermath of WWII.


Honors and Awards:

  • Speaker in the Association for Jewish Studies’ Distinguished Lectureship Program, 2016-2017
  • DAAD Faculty Summer Seminar, “Germans, Jews, and the Collapse of the Secular Future,” Cornell University, led by Jonathan Boyarin, June 20-July 21, 2016
  • Associationof Jewish Studies Jordan Schnitzer Book Award for best book published in the category of Philosophy and Jewish Thought during the three-year period 2013-2015, for Jewish Philosophical Politics in Germany, 1789-1848 (Brandeis University Press, 2014). Awarded December 2015
  • Residential Fellowship, Simon-Dubnow-Institut für jüdische Geschichte und Kultur, University of Leipzig, August 1-31, 2014
  • Faculty Diversity Award (nominee) in recognition of a faculty member whose teaching and/or service promotes knowledge and inclusion of diverse communities, Miami University, 2011
  • Residential Fellowship, Simon-Dubnow-Institut für jüdische Geschichte und Kultur, University of Leipzig, May-June, 2011
  • DAAD Junior Faculty Summer Seminar, “The Technology of Memory: Collective Traumatic Remembrance in Modern Germany,” Cornell University, led by David Bathrick, June 16-July 27, 2008
  • Hess Faculty Seminar, “Literature and the Holocaust” at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, co-led by Sara Horowitz and David Roskies, January 3–9, 2007
  • DAAD Junior Faculty Summer Seminar, "Visualizations of the Holocaust: Potentialities and Taboos," Cornell University, led by David Bathrick, June 15-July 25, 2003
  • Posen Foundation Grant for the Study of Secular Judaism Grant of $50,000 per year for curriculum development in secular Jewish studies at Miami University (Ohio), 2006-2007 and 2007-2008; renewed in the amount of $35,000 2008-2009; renewed in the amount of $25,295 2010-2012; total grant amount 2006-2012: $160, 295

Selected Publications:


Jewish Philosophical Politics in Germany, 1789-1848. Brandeis University Press. (Tauber Institute Series for the Study of European Jewry). 2014.

           You can listen to a 30-minute interview with me about my book Jewish Philosophical Politics in Germany, 1789-1848 as part of the New Books Network Podcast
           series at the following URL:

Journal Special Issue

Guest Editor, Ambivalent Sites of Memory in Postwar Germany (New German Critique 112 / 38:1, 2011)

Selected Essays

“Writing Hunger in a Modernist Key in the Warsaw Ghetto: Leyb Goldin’s ‘Chronicle of a Single Day,’" forthcoming in Jewish Social Studies.

“Oskar Rosenfeld, the Lodz Ghetto, and the Chronotope of Hunger,” forthcoming in The Aesthetics and Politics of Global Hunger, ed. Manisha Basu and Anastasia Ulanowicz. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017

Wissenschaft des Judentums, Freedom, and Hegel’s State.” AJS Perspectives: The Magazine of the Association for Jewish Studies. The Freedom Issue (Fall 2016): 46-47

"The Oyneg Shabes Archive and the Cold War: The Case of Yehoshue Perle’s Khurbn Varshe," New German Critique 112 / 38:1 (Winter 2011): 181-215

“Remembering Dora Bruder: Patrick Modiano’s Surrealist Encounter with the Postmemorial Archive,” Postmodern Culture 18:2 (January 2008)

“Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine and the Ambivalence of French-Jewish Identity,” French Studies LXI, no. 4 (October 2007): 476-491

“Auschwitz as Hermeneutic Rupture, Differend, and Image malgré tout: Jameson, Lyotard, Didi-Huberman.” Visualizing the Holocaust, ed. David Bathrick, Brad Prager, and Michael Richardson. Rochester, NY: Camden House Press, 2008, 114-137

“Lazarus Bendavid’s and J. G. Fichte’s Kantian Fantasies of Jewish Decapitation in 1793,” Jewish Social Studies13.3 (Spring/Summer 2007): 73-102

“The Funny Business of the Swedish East India Company: Gender and Imperial Joke-Work in Jacob Wallenberg’s Travel Writing,” Eighteenth Century Studies 33 (Winter 2000): 217-232

      Reprinted in Literature Criticism from 1400 to 1800, volume 77 (Gale, 2002): 325-334

"Goethe’s Splitting Image: Writing and/as (Male) Sexuality in ‘Das Tagebuch’ and Beyond," Goethe Yearbook 9 (1999): 131-157

Current Projects:

Current Book Project

The Holocaust and the Archive