Johannes Türk

Johannes Türk

Associate Professor, Germanic Studies

Director of Institute of German Studies

Adjunct Associate Professor, Comparative Literature


  • Ph.D., Freie Universitat, Berlin

Fields of interest

Literary Theory; Aesthetic Theory; Rhetoric, Philosophy; the history of the German and the European novel; modernism; literature and life sciences (especially Immunology); trauma and literature

About Johannes Türk

Johannes Türk studied at Freie Universität Berlin, Paris 8 (Paris Vincennes-St. Denis), and Yale University. In his work, he embeds German topics into a comparative perspective rooted in the classical traditions of rhetoric, aesthetics, and poetics as well as in the tradition of continental philosophy. He also works on topics related to the history of knowledge and has a strong investment in psychoanalysis. His book on immunity and literature, Die Immunität der Literature, is concerned with the formation of immunological knowledge from Roman law to the biomedical sciences and its literary and cultural reflection showing that immunity is an important language in which literature has defined its role. Although he also researches other literary genres such as drama, his major interest lies in the German and the European novel. He is currently working on two book projects: homo immunis examines exemption as a gesture defining sovereignty and its iconography from Greek antiquity to the twentieth century. The second, The Modernity of Insult, investigates the relationship between legitimization and affect. In this project, insult as a political resource plays the central role. He teaches a wide range of topics from German cultural history from Charlemagne to the First World War to more specialized graduate courses on nostos and nostalgia in the German literary tradition, on literature and the life sciences, temporality in knowledge history and in the novel, eighteenth-century literature and thought, theatricality, as well as on literary theory.



Die Immunität der Literatur, Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer 2011

Edited volumes

"Figures and Figurations of the (Un-)Dead", Robert Buch/Johannes Türk (eds.), Special issue of Germanic Review, 82.2 (2007).


"Unvergleichliche Ruhe. Franz Kafkas Protokollaufnahmen,” in: ed. Ute Holl, Claus Pias and Burkhardt Wolf, Gespenster des Wissens, Berlin und Zürich: diaphanes 2017, pp. 371-377.

"Health and illness,” in: Kafka in Context, Carolin Duttlinger (ed.), Cambridge University Press 2017.

“At the Limits of Rhetoric: authority, commonplace, and the role of literature in Carl Schmitt,” in: The Oxford Handbook of Carl Schmitt, Jens Meierhenrich and Oliver Simons (eds.), Oxford University Press 2016, pp. 751-775.

"Freunds Triebnarrative," in: Trieb. Poetiken und Politiken einer modernen Letztbegründung, Jan Niklas Howe and Kai Wiegand (eds.), Kulturverlag Kadmos 2014, pp. 189-202.

“Zur Begriffsgeschichte von Immunität,” in: Kulturen der Epigenetik: Vererbt, Codiert, Übertragen, Vanessa Lux and Jörg Thomas Richter, De Gruyter 2014, pp. 107-116.

"Approaching Death: Accident, Citation, and Singularity in Montaigne's De l'Exercitation," Yearbook of Comparative Literature 57 (2013), pp. 230-239.

"Elevation and Insight: Thomas Mann's Der Zauberberg," in: ed. Sean Ireton and Caroline Schaumann, Heights of Reflection. Mountains in the German Imaginatino from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First Century, Camden House 2012, pp. 248-266.

"Jenseits des Mitleids. Techniken der Empathie 430 v. Ch. Bis 1930 n. Chr., in: Claudia Breger/Fritz Breithaupt (eds.), Empathie und Erzählung, Freiburg: Rombach 2010, pp. 85-106.

"Die Zukunft der Immunologie. Eine politische Form des 21. Jahrhunderts", in: Claus Pias (ed.), Abwehr. Modelle - Strategien – Medien, Bielefeld: transcript 2009, pp. 11-26.

"Interruptions: Scenes of Empathy from Aristotle to Proust", DVjS 82.3 (2008), pp. 448-476.

"The Intrusion: Carl Schmitt's Non-Mimetic Logic of Art", Telos 142 (Spring 2008), pp. 73-89.

"Homo immunis. Geburt und Topologie des Modernen Menschen in der Immunologie." In: Breger / Krüger-Fürhoff / Nusser (eds.), Engineering Life. Narrationen vom Menschen in Biomedizin, Kultur und Literatur, Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2008, pp. 71-88.

"Zur immunologischen Funktion literarischer Komunikation", Soziale Systeme 13.1+2 (2007), pp. 317-328.

"Rituals of Dying, Burrows of Anxiety in Freud, Proust and Kafka. Prolegomena to a Critical Immunology," Germanic Review , 82.2 (Spring 2007), pp. 141-156.

"Introduction: Figures and Figurations of the (Un-) Dead", Germanic Review , 82.2 (Spring 2007), pp.115-21, with Robert Buch.

"Freuds Immunologien des Psychischen." Poetica 38.1-2 (2006), pp. 167-188.

"'Die Taktik der inneren Linie:' Performativity in Discourse on Trauma and in Robert Musil's Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften." Duttlinger, Carolin, Lucia Ruprecht, and Andrew Webber, eds. Performance and Performativity in German Cultural Studies. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2003, pp. 67-82.


Zeitungslektüre im "Mann ohne Eigenschaften", Musil-Studien Band 36, by Hermann Bernauer, Germanic Review 84.3 (Summer 2008), pp. 273-276.

The Juridical Unconscious, by Shoshana Felman. Poetica 35.3-4 (2003), pp. 459-465.


Trans. Vattimo, Gianni. "Begleitumstände." Derrrida, Jacques, and Gianni Vattimo, eds. Die Religion. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2001, pp. 7-8.