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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2021/22 Prof. Dr. Sebastian Wogenstein …

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Wogenstein

University of Connecticut
German Studies, Jewish Studies

External Senior Fellow
July 2021 - June 2022


Sebastian Wogenstein is Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut. He is Faculty Associate of the Human Rights Institute and the Center for Judaic Studies and Contemporary Jewish Life. His research focuses primarily on German Jewish literature and intellectual history as well as the intersection of literature and human rights. He is the author of Horizonte der Moderne: Tragödie und Judentum von Cohen bis Lévinas and co-editor of Globale Kulturen – Kulturen der Globalisierung and An Grenzen: Literarische Erkundungen, and published articles in The Germanic Review, Monatshefte, Gegenwartsliteratur, Naharaim, Telos, Prooftexts, the Journal of Human Rights, Jewish Social Studies, the Rosenzweig Yearbook, and the Yearbook for European Jewish Literature Studies. Sebastian Wogenstein is Secretary-Treasurer of the North American Heine Society.

Selected Publications

  • Sebastian Wogenstein: “Rosenzweig’s Silences: Tragedy and Life in The Star of Redemption.” Rosenzweig Jahrbuch/Rosenzweig Yearbook 12 (2021): 173-189.
  • Sarah S. Willen, Sebastian Wogenstein, Katherine A. Mason: “Everyday Disruptions and Jewish Dilemmas: Preliminary Insights from the Pandemic Journaling Project.” Jewish Social Studies 26:1 (2020): 192-212.
  • Sebastian Wogenstein: “Human Rights and the Intellectual’s Ethical Duty: Broch’s Political Writings.” A Companion to the Works of Hermann Broch. Ed. Graham Bartram, Sarah McGaughey, and Galin Tihanov. Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2019: 159-188.
  • Sebastian Wogenstein: “The Problem of Evil in a World in Crisis: Monika Maron’s Krähengekrächz and Zwischenspiel.” Gegenwartsliteratur. German Studies Yearbook 17 (2018). 287-311.
  • Sebastian Wogenstein. Horizonte der Moderne: Tragödie und Judentum von Cohen bis Lévinas. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2011.

FRIAS Research Projekt

Connecticut/Baden-Württemberg Human Rights Research Consortium / Human Rights as Paradigm: Shifts in Contemporary German Jewish Literatur

Human rights have received considerable scholarly attention across the disciplines in the past two decades, well beyond international law, political science, and the study of history. Literary studies is one of the fields in which human rights are studied, but much of the focus to date has been on postcolonial literature and literature of the global South.

While the memory of the Shoah remains a constant reference point in contemporary German Jewish literature, a broader human rights perspective has emerged as the dominant paradigm in this specific subset of German literature. Broadly speaking, German Jewish writing shows a strong and explicit inclination to engage human rights issues related to migration and mobility, cultural diversity, and economic and social rights. In many cases, intergenerational rights are also addressed.  

This project explores the human rights-related dimension of contemporary German Jewish literature and the language of human rights protest in which the engagement with human rights is often framed. These literary protest gestures against human rights violations may be compared to a long religious tradition of lamenting, or protesting, suffering as a violation of divine justice. In a secular world, social justice and human rights take the place of divine justice and provide a framework within which violations can be called out and demands for rectification or reparations may be made.

Find out more about the Human Right Research Consortium here.