Margareta Ingrid Christian

Assistant Professor of Germanic Studies; Director of Undergraduate Studies

I joined the department in autumn 2014 after receiving my Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2012, and completing my tenure as a Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University. My book, Objects in Air: Artworks and their Outside around 1900, is a literary study of art historical texts. It draws on the history of science to examine air as the material space surrounding an artwork, its “milieu,” “surroundings,” and “environment” by looking at the linguistic efforts of Aby Warburg, Alois Riegl, Rainer Maria Rilke, and the dance theorist and choreographer Rudolf Laban. The book investigates the artwork’s external space as an aesthetic category in its own right and asks: What is the medium of the artwork’s externalism? It contends that air, the medium of continuity par excellence, is the site of aesthetic ecologies; it is where artworks enact the permeable boundaries between art and life.


Objects in Air: Artworks and their Outside around 1900, University of Chicago Press, forthcoming Spring 2021

"Air, Ether, Atmosphere: Space in Rilke's Duineser Elegien," in Oxford German Studies, forthcoming.

“Telluric Poetics: The City and Its Natural Histories in Thomas Kling’s Poem “‘Manhattan Mundraum’” in German Studies Review, forthcoming.

Umgebung/ Umwelt. Art History’s Aesthetic and Biological Milieus” in Ecologies, Aesthetics, and Histories of Art, eds. Hannah Baader, Gerhard Wolf, with Sugata Ray, De Gruyter, forthcoming.

“Cameraless Photography and Its Imponderable Media” in History of Photography 42:4, 2018, 319-337.

“Wind: Turbulenzen der Zeit - Klimatographie in Robert Musils Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften” in Phänomene derAtmosphäre. Ein Kompendium Literarischer Meteorologie, eds. Urs Büttner, Ines Theilen, Stuttgart: Metzler, 2017, 408-419.

“Aer, Aurae, Venti: Philology and Physiology in Aby Warburg’s Dissertation on Botticelli” in PMLA, 129:3, 2014, 399-416.

Co-translation: of a facsimile edition of the journal G: An Avant-Garde Journal of Art, Architecture, Design, and Film, 1923-1926, Michael Jennings and Detlef Mertins, eds., Steven Lindberg and Ingrid Christian, trans., Los Angeles: Getty Research Press, 2010.

Courses taught:

"Maniacs, Specters, Automata:' The Tales of E.T.A. Hoffman," “Dwelling: Literature and Architecture,” “The Pleasure of Literature: The Novella,” “Contemporary German Literature,” “Waiting,” “Aesthetic Ecologies,” “Aby Warburg and the Origins of Kulturwissenschaft,” “Biocentrism: The Concept of Life in German Literature and Art around 1900.”

Students working with me have written on topics such as the work of the biologist and cultural philosopher Raoul Heinrich Francé; the figure of the sovereign and the scholar in Kafka and Musil; the Barnes Foundation wall ensembles and the influence of John Dewey; space and femininity in Weimar Germany; magnetic influence in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s works.

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