The Contemporary: Florian Klinger

The Contemporary: Florian Klinger
Mon December 6th 2021, 5:45pm
Zoom & Pigott Hall (Bldg. 260, Rm 216)

Speaker(s): Florian Klinger (University of Chicago)

Florian Klinger, Associate Professor in Germanic Studies and the College, University of Chicago
December, 6, 2021
5:45 pm PST
Pigott Hall (Bldg. 260, Rm 216) & Zoom

The talk proposes to conceive the aesthetic in terms of action.

If action normally relies on concepts, aesthetic action suspends these concepts and performs an indeterminacy instead. In doing so, it presents itself as an unsettling of ourselves, our ways, our very sense of who we are. As performers of such action, we don’t recognize one another as bearers of a shared human form as we normally would, but find ourselves tasked anew with figuring out what sharing a form would mean.This proposal is developed in dialogue with work by Tino Sehgal, Kara Walker, Mazen Kerbaj, and others.

In-person is available to current Stanford members only. Remote attendance is available via Zoom.


Florian Klinger joined the University of Chicago faculty in 2012. He graduated from the Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin, and received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University in 2010. From 2010-14, he was a Junior Fellow at Harvard’s Society of Fellows. Florian has had a previous career as a professional musician and holds an Artist Diploma, Violin, from Hochschule für Musik und Theater München. His book Urteilen, which proposes a conception of human judgment for our present, was published by diaphanes Verlag, Zürich/Berlin in 2011. A second book, Theorie der Form. Gerhard Richter und die Kunst des pragmatischen Zeitalters, a pragmatist account of aesthetic form, came out with Carl Hanser Verlag, München in 2013. A revised English translation is forthcoming with University of Chicago Press. For the forthcoming critical edition of the works of Hannah Arendt (general eds. Hahn/ Nordmann/ Wild), Florian is co-editing the volume Kant Lectures (with Susanne Lüdemann). At this point, Florian is working on a book that undertakes to replace nature-based and culture-based accounts of life by arguing that life belongs to the order of act.

IMAGE: Tino Seghal