Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:September 2023–August 2024
Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:»Empire of American Theory and the Triumph of Neoliberalism 1965–2008«
One of the historical problems I am currently seeing is: how and why did an attention to difference and otherness become central to a transnational and increasingly powerful professional-managerial class? To answer this question, my current book project, Empire of American Theory and the Triumph of Neoliberalism 1965–2008, aims to historicize what I call »American Theory« in relation to neglected political and cultural contexts and hitherto unexamined sites, organs, and avenues. American Theory was a specific cultural-political movement united by an intellectual attention to difference, discontinuity, marginality, and otherness—all key to shaping democratic values and projects across the North Atlantic—that began in United States higher education and then took on international dimensions. As a Democratic Vistas postdoc fellow, I will research and write a chapter of Empire devoted to the gender dimension and other diversity aspects of American Theory, contributing to the understanding of the relationship between the (American) university and its furthering of democratic forms of life across the North Atlantic during the 1980s and 1990s. Another topic to be investigated in a projected subchapter is the historical phenomenon of and around gender theory in France. There, theories from America, a global force in higher education, have often been at the heart of polemics and legal decisions about gender. Finally, while at Democratic Vistas, I hope to research and write a subchapter on how in Germany, American theories have been at the heart of high profile and charged debates about race, gender, multiculturalism, cultural appropriation, and postcolonial theory. Generally, my research as a Democratic Vistas postdoc fellow will aim to give a much-needed historical understanding of how and why »gender« and other »diversity aspects« became not simply objects of study through and with American theoretical cognitive goods, but also political and cultural flashpoints across the North Atlantic, facilitating the formation of the university as a theater for culture war conflicts. (Gregory Jones-Katz)
Research partner:Gregory Jones-Katz is a fellow at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften at the invitation of research focus Forschungsschwerpunktes »Democratic Vistas: Reflections on the Atlantic World«
Scholarly profile of Gregory Jones-Katz Gregory Jones-Katz’s research sits at the intersections between intellectual and cultural history, institutional history, the global history of higher education and the humanities, and the history of capitalism. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016, and from 2016 to 2022 he was Lecturer in General Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (CUHK-SZ); in early 2022, promoted to Assistant Professor (Teaching). In April, Greg joined the Institute for Advanced Studies (KWI) in Essen, Germany as an International Fellow, and from October 2022 to May 2023 he was Lecturer at the University of Duisburg-Essen and Researcher in the European Research Council Project »The Arts of Autonomy,« with Professor Pierre-Héli Monot as Principal Investigator, at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. His first book Deconstruction: An American Institution was published by University of Chicago Press in 2021.
Please find more information about Gregory Jones-Katz here.
Main areas of research:American intellectual and cultural history, history of higher education, global history of the humanities.
- »Bildungskapitalismus in China«, trans. Christian Demand and Ekkehard Knörer, in:
Merkur: Deutsche Zeitschrift für europäisches Denken (forthcoming, December 2023)
- »The Euphoria of Theory«, in: the minnesota review: a journal of creative and critical writing (forthcoming 2023).
- »Challenging Humanism: Jews, Theory, and Yale During the Last Three Decades of the Twentieth Century«, in: Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society vol 27:3 (2022), p. 189-222.
- 2022 »Theorizing and Practicing History as the Metabolization of the World: A Conversation
with Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht«, in: History and Theory vol. 61:1 (2022), p. 124-139.
- Deconstruction: An American Institution, University of Chicago Press 2021.
- » ›The Brides of Deconstruction and Criticism‹ and the Transformation of Feminism in the North American Academy«, in: Modern Intellectual History vol. 17:2 (2020), p. 413-442.