Jörg Kreienbrock
ifk Senior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. March 2018 bis 30. June 2018

Space, Field, Situation: On the Structure of Media Spaces (1909–1969)


This research project originates in a brief note by the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg, who in Die Vollzähligkeit der Sterne points out the peculiar coincidence of the first landing on the moon and the rise of environmentalism in 1969. This combination of a cosmic-abstract with a terrestrial-concrete notion of space, irreducible to a transcendental apriori, finds its expression in a variety of scientific, philosophical, and literary discourses. It is the aim of this study to examine these discourses with special attention to their specific medial contexts.

The point of departure for this study is marked by Jakob von Uexküll’s theory of Umwelt and Kurt Lewin’s field psychology. Both reject the belief in the existence of a single objective world in favor of a plurality of subjective environments and fields. From here one can trace a direct line to Edmund Husserl’s theory of the lifeworld, as articulated in The Crisis of the European Sciences, and further developed by his student Aron Gurwitsch, who combined phenomenology and Gestalt psychology. Finally, the project examines literary representations of this phenomenological “overthrow” (Husserl) of the Copernican worldview in the writings of Gottfried Benn and Ernst Jünger.


Jörg Kreienbrock received his Ph.D. from the Department of German at New York University in 2005 with a dissertation on the Swiss writer Robert Walser. In 2005-06 he taught as Visiting Assistant Professor at Emory University. Currently, he is Associate Professor of German in the Department of German and Critical Thought at Northwestern University. An Alexander von Humboldt fellowship took him to the Institute of Media Studies at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum for the 2015-16 academic year, and in fall 2017 he spent one term as a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Durham University (UK).


A New Levante: Franz Rosenzweig’s Geopolitical Imagination in his War Writings of 1917“, in: Anthony Barker et al. (Hg.), Micronarratives and Peripheral Theatres of the Great War, New York, NY 2018, S. 185–200; „The Border as Regulator of Life: Gustav Freytag’s Uncontainable Realism“, in: The Germanic Review, Vol. 90, No. 3, (2016), S. 204–218; Malicious Objects, Anger Management and the Question of Modern Literature, New York 2012; Kleiner. Feiner. Leichter. Nuancierungen zum Werk Robert Walsers, Berlin / Zürich 2010.

04 June 2018
  • Lecture
Jörg Kreienbrock


Ist der Weltraum eine Umwelt? Auf der letzten Seite von „Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen“ (1934) stellt der Biologe Jakob von Uexküll diese Frage und reflektiert darüber, was es bedeutet, wenn die Umwelt des Menschen sich aus dem Lokalen ins Globale bzw. Kosmische ausdehnt. Jörg Kreienbrock folgt von Uexkülls Reflexionen über die Erweiterung der menschlichen Lebenswelt und verbindet sie mit philosophischen Reflexionen über die Stellung des Menschen im Kosmos.