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Amir Eshel

Amir Eshel, MA, PhD

Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies
Professor of Comparative Literature
Professor of German Studies
Affiliated faculty of The Europe Center
Affiliated faculty of the Center for International Security and Cooperation
Faculty Director of The Contemporary Research Group

Dept of German Studies
Building 260, Room 204
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-2030

(650) 723-0413 (voice)
(650) 725-8421 (fax)

Research Interests

Contemporary German culture; comparative literature; German-Jewish history and culture from the Enlightenment to the present.


Amir Eshel is Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies, Professor of German Studies and the Director of the Department of Comparative Literature. He is also an Affiliated Faculty at The Europe Center at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His research focuses on contemporary literature and the arts, with emphasis on twentieth and twenty-first century German, Anglo-American, and Hebrew. As the faculty director of Stanford’s research group on The Contemporary  and of the project Poetic Media at Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA), he is interested in the contemporary cultural imagination as it addresses modernity’s traumatic past with its philosophical, political and ethical implications.

Amir Eshel is the author of Futurity: Contemporary Literature and the Quest for the Past (The University of Chicago Press, 2013). The German version of the book, Zukünftigkeit: Die zeitgenössische Literatur und die Vergangenheit appeared in 2012 with Suhrkamp Verlag. Together with Ulrich Baer, he co-edited an essay collection on Hannah Arendt’s thought as a productive resource across disciplines and genres, Hannah Arendt zwischen den Disziplinen (Wallstein Verlag, 2014).  He co-edited a book of essays with Yfaat Weiss on the contemporary German writer, Barbara Honigmann, whose work reflects on post-Cold War culture,  Kurz hinter der Wahrheit und dicht neben der Lüge: Zum Werk Barbara Honigmanns (Fink Verlag, 2013). His earlier work includes a longer essay that examines the literary imagination as it reflects on the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Das Ungesagte Schreiben: Israelische Prosa und das Problem der Palästinensischen Flucht und Vertreibung (2006); and of a study of the poetry of Jewish writers as they examine the notion of time after the Holocaust, Zeit der Zäsur: Jüdische Lyriker im Angesicht der Shoah (1999). In recent years, Amir Eshel also wrote on such authors as Franz Kafka, Paul Celan, W.G. Sebald, Günter Grass, Alexander Kluge, Durs Grünbein, S. Yizhar, and Yoram Kaniyuk, as well as on contemporary artists such as Gerhard Richter, Peter Eisenman, and Ori Gersht.  

Before joining the Stanford faculty in 1998 as an Assistant Professor of German Studies, Amir Eshel taught at the University of Hamburg, Germany. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt and the Friedrich Ebert foundations and received the Award for Distinguished Teaching from the School of Humanities and Sciences. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. in German literature, both from the University of Hamburg.

Stanford Affiliations

Comparative Literature
German Studies