The Enlightenment

Yevgenya (Jenny) Strakovsky

portrait: Yevgenya (Jenny) Strakovsky

Office Hours: 
Friday, 12-2pm
Focal Group(s): 
Humanities Education

Jenny Strakovsky is a Ph.D. student in German Studies, specializing in the literature, visual culture, music, and philosophy of the long 19th century in Germany. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in German Studies from Dartmouth College and was the 2009-2010 recipient of a Fulbright Research Grant to attend the Humboldt University in Berlin.

While her background spans from the Enlightenment to Cold War literature, her current work explores the rise of individualism in Realism and High Modernism. She is particularly interested in understanding how literature depicts individual autonomy, education, and ethical responsibility through character development and portrayals of moral judgment. 

Her research interests also include: questions of agency, portrayals of artistic genius, legacies of the German Bildungsideal, Jena Romanticism, portrayals of women and gender, ethics and literature, 19th century Visual Culture, Translation studies, Digital Humanities, Humanities Education and Public Policy in post-secondary education. 


Upcoming and Recent Presentations

"Revolution as Apocalypse, Poetry as Redemption: Osip Mandelstam’s Cultural Mythology." Modernism, Christianity, and Apocalypse. Conference, Department of Foreign Languages, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway. (18-20 July 2012)

"Interpreting Kafka's The Trial through Translation: Experimental Pedagogy." Stanford University, German Studies Forum. March 2012.

"Vocation as a Marker of Moral Agency in 19th Century Modernity." ZfL Sommerakademie, “Erste Kulturwissenschaft und ihre Potential für die Gegenwart”* Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin. July 2011


Teaching Experience

At Dartmouth:

Guest Lecturer, "Beyond Good and Evil," Undergraduate Seminar, Dartmouth German Studies Department. Taught By Professor Klaus Mladek. Topic: Christa Wolf's Was Bleibt and Self-censorship in East Germany. Spring 2009

At Stanford:

Instructor/Teaching Assistant. German Language First-Year Sequence* (3 Quarters). Stanford Language Center*
Taught in German. Meets MTWThF. Concentration on Oral Proficiency.
Responsibilities include bringing novice and intermediate speakers to the intermediate-mid level in German; designing pedagogic activities that enable authentic conversational exchange and cultural understanding.

Materials: Textbook Deutsch: Na Klar!, Multimedia (including films, online videos, poetry, journalism, native speaker interviews, web content). 
computerized oral and written exams. Oral Proficiency Interview (based on National Standards on Foreign Language Learning*).


Instructor. Beginner German Conversation. Taught in German. Meets once per week. Responsibilities include designing syllabus based on student interests, facilitating improvement for students of different levels and backgrounds. Haus Mitteleuropa, Stanford University. Spring 2011.

Tutor, Language and Orientation Tutoring Program (LOT)* Individual weekly meetings with international students to improve conversational abilities, writing and presentation skills, and cultural literacy in English. Spring 2011


Professional Activities

Co-Founder and Coordinator, DLCL Graduate Working Group on Translation Studies, Stanford University. Spring 2012

Steering Committee, DLCL Graduate Student Conference: Urban Jungles, Stanford University. Spring 2012

Graduate Assistant, Humanities Education Focal Group* Chaired by Russell Berman, Stanford University. 2011-2012.

Editorial Assistant, Professor Adrian Daub, Tristan's Shadow - Sexuality and the Total Work of Art. Fall 2011.

Seminar Assistant, Visiting Assistant Professor Falko Schmieder of the Berlin ZfL. Seminar: "Surviving and the Biopolitics of Bare Life." Spring 2011.


* indicates link to source.


2009: B.A. in German Studies, Dartmouth College
Honors Thesis: Beyond the Literaturstreit: Understanding East German Literary History in Transition. Advisor: Irene Kacandes

  • This project traced the assimilation of East German artists into a post-Soviet cultural landscape in order to explore the ethical responsibilities of an artist/public figure in totalitarian and free-market societies

2009-2010: Fulbright Research Grant, Humboldt University, Berlin

  • Continuing work on autobiography and self-fashioning, research at the HU explored Goethe's Italienische Reise as a textual medium for performing Morphology.

Dan Edelstein

portrait: Dan Edelstein

102 Pigott Hall
650 724 9881

Office Hours: 
Tuesday 10:00-12:00
Focal Group(s): 
Digital Humanities
Focal Group(s): 
Humanities Education
Focal Group(s): 
Philosophy and Literature
Curriculum Vitae: 

I work for the most part on eighteenth-century France, with research interests at the crossroads of literature, history, political theory, and digital humanities. My first book, The Terror of Natural Right: Republicanism, the Cult of Nature, and the French Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2009), examines how liberal natural right theories, classical republicanism, and the myth of the golden age became fused in eighteenth-century political culture, only to emerge as a violent ideology during the Terror. This book won the 2009 Oscar Kenshur Book Prize. My second book, entitled The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (University of Chicago Press, 2010), explores how the idea of an Enlightenment emerged in French academic circles around the 1720's. I’ve also edited two volumes of essays, one for Yale French Studies, on Myth and Modernity, the other for SVEC (Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century) on The Super-Enlightenment. In addition, I’ve published articles on such topics as the Encyclopédie, antiquarianism, Orientalism, the Idéologues, political authority, and structuralism, as well as on writers including Jean-Sylvain Bailly, Balzac, Roland Barthes, Lévi-Strauss, Michelet, Mallarmé, Georges Sorel, Emmerich de Vattel, and Voltaire.

At Stanford, I mostly teach courses on the literature, philosophy, culture, and politics of the Enlightenment; on nineteenth-century novels; the French Revolution; early-modern political thought; and French intellectual culture (“Coffee & Cigarettes”). I teach two Thinking Matters courses, one on "Education as Self-Fashioning," the other on "Networks: Ecological, Revolutionary, and Digital." I’ve received the Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching (in 2006), the university's highest teaching honor, and the Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award (in 2011).

I’m currently working on three main projects:

A comparative study of revolutionary authority. This book-length project examines how (and when) “revolution” became in and of itself a means of justifying revolutionary action. Stretching from the sixteenth century to the present, it focuses in particular on the appearance and evolution of revolutionary “myths” (drawing on Georges Sorel’s definition of the term). An article from this project recently appeared in French Historical Studies.

Nature and natural right in the Enlightenment. This project looks broadly at the different ways in which nature served as a “moral authority” (Lorraine Daston) in the eighteenth century. In particular, I examine how the philosophes developed a current of natural right theory that was distinct (and considerably different) from the philosophical-jurisprudential tradition. I carry this study up through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. A version of this research ("Enlightenment Rights Talk") is forthcoming in the Journal of Modern History.

Mapping the Republic of Letters. Along with a number of colleagues at Stanford and around the world, I’m involved in a large-scale digital humanities project, one of whose primary aims is to map the correspondence networks of major intellectual figures. For more information, visit Mapping the Republic of Letters. You can also read about our project in the Stanford Report and in the New York Times.

I’m also a founding editor of Republics of Letters, and with J.P. Daughton, I co-direct the French Culture Workshop.


2004: Ph.D. in French, University of Pennsylvania
1999: Licence ès lettres (French, English, Latin), Université de Genève
1993: Maturité scientifique, Collège Calvin, Geneva

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