Ben Robinson Ph.D. Student

Ben is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literary Studies with a home department in German and is associated with the Program in Critical Theory. His dissertation is on bureaucracy and fanaticism in the long 19th century with attention to the work of Kleist, Melville, Conrad and Kafka.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Ben received his BA in Social Studies and German from Harvard and completed an MPhil in Modern Languages at Oxford with a thesis on the significance of Wittgenstein and Benjamin in W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz. Ben spent 2012-13 in Paris on the Northwestern Program in Critical Theory, 2013-14 as a visiting doctoral student in German at the University of Vienna, and 2014-15 in Frankfurt at the Goethe University and in Berlin at the Center for Literary and Cultural Research (ZfL) on a DAAD research scholarship.

Ben is broadly concerned with literary treatments and transformations of issues in political theory. Some particular interests include literatures of revolution, colonial houses and landscapes, the concept “earth” in German romanticism and throughout the 19th century, the fin-de-siècle literary and philosophical preoccupation with vermin and insects, concepts and representations of poverty, and the political-zoology of dogs.