Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

Andreas Kilcher: Catalogue data in Autumn Semester 2016

Name Prof. Dr. Andreas Kilcher
FieldLiterature and Cultural Studies
Literatur- u. Kulturwiss., Kilcher
ETH Zürich, RZ H 1.2
Clausiusstrasse 59
8092 Zürich
Telephone+41 44 632 79 20
DepartmentHumanities, Social and Political Sciences
RelationshipFull Professor

851-0300-79LTheories of Joke3 credits2SA. Kilcher
AbstractFrom Plato, Aristotle and Cicero, philosophers have tried to find the core principle of wit (or the joke, as both meanings are contained in the German term "Witz"). Even during the 20th century, the philosophy of life and psychoanalysis struggle with it. The seminar provides an overview of this history.
ObjectiveThis seminar deals with the meaning and history of "Witz" (wit, joke) as a form of knowledge. It places "Witz" as a switch or transitional figure within the development of modern theories of knowledge in particular.
ContentContrary to intuitive expectations, the German term "Witz" is not only an instance of the comical, but also a form of knowledge that plays on similarity and difference by juxtaposing the disparate. In this vein, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries, "Witz" becomes a central attribute of poetic and rhetorical types of expression (wit). Only during the 19th century "Witz" comes to denote a characteristic genre of the comical (joke). From now on "Witz" is theoretically associated with the comical and laughter. Around 1900 there are approaches based on the philosophy of life, sociology and psychology, elaborated by Bergson, Bakhtin and Freud, among others.
851-0300-85LThe Knowledge of Literature. An Introduction3 credits2VA. Kilcher
AbstractThis lecture provides a general introduction to literary theory and presents the important theories dealing with knowledge and its role in and as literature.
ObjectiveStudents are introduced to the various approaches and methods of literature studies and gain an overview of literary theory.
ContentThis lecture has two aims: Firstly, it serves as a general introduction into the fiel of literary theory (thereby looking into "knowledge about literature"). Secondly, there will be a special emphasis on recent theoretical approaches that take seriously literature and knowledge as one of its components (thus investigating the "knowledge of literature"). Even though traditional criticism disagrees, a number of recent approaches, based on literature and culture studies, hold that literature is not to be conceived of as standing in opposition to the world and the classificatory system of the academic disciplines, particularly the sciences (e.g. Foucauldian discourse analysis and New Historicism). Instead, these approaches understand literature in terms of its epistemological forms and functions. Thus, the main thesis is that literature actively participates in the constitution and formation of knowledge. Literature itself generates models of knowledge, sometimes with critical or even utopian intentions. Moreover, it draws attention to the fundamental role of order and representation (systematization, narrative rendering, linguistic and pictorial representation) in both humanities and sciences.
862-0002-16LResearch Colloquium History of Knowledge (HS 2016) Restricted registration - show details
Only for MAGPW students, D-GESS PHD and D-ARCH PHD students.

This colloquium is highly recommended for first and second semester MAGPW students.
2 credits1K + 1AA. Kilcher, K. M. Espahangizi, D. Gugerli, M. Hagner, P. Sarasin, J. Tanner, P. Ursprung, L. Wingert
AbstractThe colloquium of the ZGW focuses on present developments, debates and perspectives in the field of history of knowledge. On the second and fourth date there will be public events in the Cabaret Voltaire.
ObjectiveThe colloquium deals with the general problems, questions and methods of the interdisciplinary research field "The History of Knowledge". Knowledge has become one of the existential conditions of modern societies and it increasingly determines their dynamics. Therefore, it is getting more and more relevant to develop a differentiated analysis of the epistemic, social and cultural constraints of the production, circulation and the decay of knowledge. In addition, the colloquium asks after the cultural and ethical resonances of knowledge not only within science but also in relation to art, literature, technology, everyday life, and so on.
Prerequisites / NoticeShort notice about program changes are possible and will be communicated through the ZGW newsletter. Please register with

Credit points can be gained by regular attending and by writing an essay. In addtition to the five colloquia there will be a deepening seminar on offer (lecturer K. Esphahangizi).

Free childcare available.
862-0089-00LAdvanced Colloquium in Literary Studies Restricted registration - show details
Colloquium is designed for advanced and graduated students.
2 credits1KA. Kilcher
AbstractThe colloquium addresses advanced and graduate students. First, it offers participants the opportunity to present their own research projects (work in progress); and, second, it provides a most fruitful space to discuss methodological, theoretical and systematic complex issues.
ObjectiveThe colloquium addresses advanced and graduate students. First, it offers participants the opportunity to present their own research projects (work in progress); and, second, it provides a most fruitful space to discuss methodological, theoretical and systematic complex issues.