Sarah Milne Pourciau
Assistant Professor of German Studies

Before coming to Duke, Sarah Pourciau held positions at Stanford University, Princeton University, the Technical University of Berlin, and the Leibniz Center for Literary and Cultural Research in Berlin. Her research explores the intersections of philosophy and literature, with an emphasis on 19th and 20th century German and Austrian culture. Related areas of interest include the history of theology, literary theory and aesthetics, gender theory, opera, and the history of science and mathematics. Her first book, The Writing of Spirit: Soul, System, and the Roots of Language Science (Fordham, 2017), traces the 19th century emergence and 20th century transformation of a system-oriented, structuralist approach to language and poetics, teasing out the pivotal role played by the system-transcending, anti-structuralist concept of Sprachgeist. Her current project, with the working title Epoché: Arts of Suspension and the Ends of Empire, argues for the existence of a polemically unprotestant alternative to classical modernist problems of aesthetic and political form. This "other modernity," which has its roots in the Habsburg baroque, finds particularly powerful expression in several 20th century Austrian attempts to rethink dramatic (Hofmannsthal), operatic (Schoenberg, Berg), and narrative (Musil, Kafka, Broch) unity against the backdrop of imperial dissolution. Pourciau's articles have appeared or are forthcoming in journals like Critical InquiryDeutsche Vierteljahrsschrift, The Opera Quarterly, POETICA, Modern Language Notes, Germanic Review, and Arcadia.

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