Uwe Steiner

Research Areas

German and European Enlightenment • Philosophy and Poetry • Theories of Modernity • Frankfurt School • Philosophical Anthropology

Uwe Steiner studied German literature and philosophy at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he also received his Ph.D. and completed his Habilitation. Before joining Rice, he held appointments at the Universität Bern, Switzerland, and at several U.S. universities, including two Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professorships at the University of Washington, Seattle, and at Indiana University, Bloomington.

His first book, Die Geburt der Kritik aus dem Geiste der Kunst (1989), traces how Walter Benjamin’s concept and practice of “critique” emerges from his engagement with art criticism in German Romanticism and Goethe. Poetische Theodizee (2001), his second book, examines the Enlightenment encounter between philosophy and poetry in the work of G.W.F. Leibniz, Voltaire, and their intellectual context. Walter Benjamin (2004) is a widely used introduction to the thought of Walter Benjamin, which is now also available in English translation. In 2008, he published an annotated critical edition of Walter Benjamin’s dissertation on German Romanticism for a new German edition of Benjamin’s complete writings, which has also been translated into French.

Currently, he is working on a book about Walter Benjamin’s concept of the political in its historical and intellectual context, and he is also interested in theories of modernity and modernization as they are discussed from Max Weber to the Frankfurt School and in the emergence of philosophical anthropology during the Weimar Republic.

 

Selected Publications

Walter Benjamin (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, 2004). English translation 2010.

Poetische Theodizee: Philosophie und Poesie in der lehrhaften Dichtung im achtzehnten Jahrhundert (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2000).

“Die Geburt der Kritik aus dem Geiste der Kunst”: Untersuchungen zum Begriff der Kritik in den frühen Schriften Walter Benjamins (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 1989).

Ed., Florens Christian Rang, Deutsche Bauhütte: Ein Wort an uns Deutsche über mögliche Gerechtigkeit gegen Belgien und Frankreich und zur Philosophie der Politik (1924) (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2015).

Ed., Walter Benjamin, Der Begriff der Kunstkritik in der deutschen Romantik, in Werke und Nachlaß, eds. Christoph Gödde and Henri Lonitz, vol. III (Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp, 2008). French translation 2009.

Ed. with Helmut Hühn and Jan Urbich, Benjamins Wahlverwandtschaften: Zur Kritik einer programmatischen Interpretation (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2015).

Ed. with Christian J. Emden and Martin Vöhler, Humanism and Revolution: The Eighteenth Century and Its Transatlantic Legacy (Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 2015).

Ed. with Günther Lottes, Immanuel Kant: German Professor and World-Philosopher / Deutscher Professor und Weltphilosoph (Hannover: Wehrhahn, 2007).

Ed., Walter Benjamin 1892-1940: Zum 100. Geburtstag (Bern: Peter Lang, 1992).

“Remember the Alamo!” in Robert Charlier, Sven Trakulhun, and Brunhilde Wehinger (eds.), Europa und die Welt: In memoriam Günther Lottes (Hannover: Wehrhahn, 2018), 151-73.

“Ästhetische Theodizee: Überlegungen zum Problem der Darstellung in der Theodizee,” in Wenchao Li and Wilhelm Schmidt-Biggemann (eds.), 300 Jahre "Essais de Théodicée": Rezeption und Transformation (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2013), 189-230.

“Walter Benjamins Husserl-Lektüre im Kontext,” Internationales Jahrbuch für Hermeneutik 9 (2010), 189-258.

“‘The True Politician’: Walter Benjamin’s Concept of the Political,” New German Critique 83 (2001), 43-88. German translations 2003 and 2017.