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German Theory als Geographie im Konjunktiv, oder: „Was nie geschrieben wurde, lesen“


Korf, Benedikt (2023). German Theory als Geographie im Konjunktiv, oder: „Was nie geschrieben wurde, lesen“. Geographica Helvetica, 78(3):325-336.

Abstract

„German Theory“ is a theory that has not yet been written, but could have been. „Theory“ is here understood as a “territory of thought” that transcends the boundaries of its origins, and travels to other sites. „French Theory“, for example, is the label for the travel of French poststructuralism to Anglophone humanities. In this sense, „German Theory“ does not exist (yet), but as this paper will argue, it exists as a potentiality that has not (yet) actualized. To show this potential, this paper turns to the work of Friedrich A. Kittler. To illustrate why Kittler did not become a cornerstone of „German Theory“, and to discuss how it could have been, this paper proceeds in two steps: first, it traces the recent history of the reception of Foucault in German language geography and the humanities. This analysis shows that Kittler and German language geography morphed Foucault's discourse theory into two distinct thought styles – the „discourse school“ in German language geography into a „textual“ one; Kittler into a „materialist“ one. This incompatibility of thought styles, this paper asserts, obstructed the travel of Kittler to Anglophone geography, although Kittler's notion of „materiality of communication“ resonates with the „material turn“ in Anglophone geography. Nor did the Foucault of the „discourse school“ travel to Anglophone geography. Kittler's „German Foucault“ travelled to Anglophone media studies as „German School“, though. In the last part of the paper, I ask the question how Kittler's „German Foucault“ could have travelled to (anglophone) geography and what could have been gained theoretically through this travel.

Abstract

„German Theory“ is a theory that has not yet been written, but could have been. „Theory“ is here understood as a “territory of thought” that transcends the boundaries of its origins, and travels to other sites. „French Theory“, for example, is the label for the travel of French poststructuralism to Anglophone humanities. In this sense, „German Theory“ does not exist (yet), but as this paper will argue, it exists as a potentiality that has not (yet) actualized. To show this potential, this paper turns to the work of Friedrich A. Kittler. To illustrate why Kittler did not become a cornerstone of „German Theory“, and to discuss how it could have been, this paper proceeds in two steps: first, it traces the recent history of the reception of Foucault in German language geography and the humanities. This analysis shows that Kittler and German language geography morphed Foucault's discourse theory into two distinct thought styles – the „discourse school“ in German language geography into a „textual“ one; Kittler into a „materialist“ one. This incompatibility of thought styles, this paper asserts, obstructed the travel of Kittler to Anglophone geography, although Kittler's notion of „materiality of communication“ resonates with the „material turn“ in Anglophone geography. Nor did the Foucault of the „discourse school“ travel to Anglophone geography. Kittler's „German Foucault“ travelled to Anglophone media studies as „German School“, though. In the last part of the paper, I ask the question how Kittler's „German Foucault“ could have travelled to (anglophone) geography and what could have been gained theoretically through this travel.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth-Surface Processes, Anthropology, Geography, Planning and Development, Global and Planetary Change
Language:German
Date:13 July 2023
Deposited On:27 Jul 2023 06:47
Last Modified:29 Mar 2024 04:49
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
ISSN:0016-7312
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-78-325-2023
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: German
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)