• Profile Image
  • Dominik Zechner
  • Acting Director of Undergraduate Studies
  • Assistant Professor
  • Degree: Ph.D., New York University
  • Email: dominik.zechner@rutgers.edu
  • Office: 15 Seminary Place, Room 4128
  • Campus: College Avenue Campus
  • Office Hours:

    Mondays 3:15pm - 4:15pm, in person
    Wednesdays 6:30pm - 7:30pm, via Zoom

  • Zoom Link for Office Hours:

    Zechner-Office Hours





Research Interests:

Dominik Zechner’s research is informed by various fields and disciplines including (comparative) literature, philosophy, philology, political theory, theories of education, media studies, and psychoanalysis.

In his dissertation, The Survival of Literature, he examines literature’s relation to finitude focusing on the striking example of Kafka’s works. The study investigates the representability of death in literature and defines survival (“Überleben”) as a movement that inherently structures the possibility of language.

More recent research is oriented toward problems concerning the pedagogical imperative, appraising the ways in which violence, sexuality, and education intersect in modern literary, cinematic, and theoretical scenes of learning and instruction. Through side projects and co-edited volumes, Professor Zechner has been occupied with the question of prestige, literary prizes and prize speeches; Paul Celan and his relationship with philosophy; Walter Benjamin’s early writings on school reform and educational critique; and various aspects regarding the prose of Thomas Bernhard. Recent peer-reviewed articles venture into psychoanalysis, romanticism, and the museum.

Zechner’s wider research and teaching interests include: German-speaking and comparative literature; literary theory and criticism; philology, rhetoric, hermeneutics, and deconstruction; theories of pedagogy and pedagogical narratives; 19th and 20th century German thought; modern prose styles (Musil, Th. Mann, Doderer, Bernhard); poetry post-1945 (Celan, Brinkmann, Jandl); pop culture and pop literature; and contemporary literature.


Post-doctoral Research Fellowship, Pembroke Center, Brown University, 2019–20

Mellon Dissertation Fellowship in the Humanities, 2019–20

Teaching and Research Fellowship, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, 2019

Young Scholars Prize, International Walter Benjamin Society, 2018

Outstanding Teaching Award, College of Arts and Science, NYU, 2016

Otto Mainzer Fellowship, Graduate School of Arts and Science, NYU, 2016

Joint Study Fellowship, University of Vienna/NYU Tisch School of the Arts, 2016


Articles (selected):

“De-posing the Uncanny,” Oxford Literary Review 42.2 (Winter 2020), 314–318.

“The Phantom Erection: Freud’s Dora & Hysteria’s Unreadabilities,” Performing Hysteria: Contemporary Images and Imaginations of Hysteria, ed. Johanna Braun (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2020), 87–102.

“Inventive Languages: Walter Benjamin, Ernst Jandl, And the Possibility of Back-Translation,” Translation & Literature 29.3 (2020), 317–337.

“Precarious Futures: Kafka’s Prose of Survival,” The Yearbook of Comparative Literature 63 (2020), 113–137.

“Ausstellen, Entsetzen: Thomas Bernhards Museumsroman Alte Meister,” Museales Erzählen: Dinge, Räume, Narrative, eds. Johanna Stapelfeldt, Ulrike Vedder, and Klaus Wiehl (München: Fink, 2020), 203–222.

“Kittler and Heidegger: The Trouble with Ent-fernung,” The Technological Introject: Friedrich Kittler between Implementation and the Incalculable, eds. Jeffrey Champlin and Antje Pfannkuchen (New York: Fordham, 2018), 123-36.

“The Prize-Bearers: A Brief Introduction,” MLN 131.5 (December 2016), 1155-63.

“Thomas Bernhard, Prizefighter,” MLN 131.5 (December 2016), 1218-35.

“Aporias of Survival: Kafka’s Alien Incursion,” Experimental Practices 1: Narrating Life – Experiments with Human and Animal Bodies in Literature, Science and Art, ed. Stefan Herbrechter and Elisabeth Friis (Leiden and Boston: Brill/Rodopi, 2015), 191-210.

Edited Volumes:

The Bestowal: What Is a Prize? MLN 131.5 (Comparative Literature Issue), December 2016.


“Sergej Taškenov, Thomas Bernhards Prosa: Krise der Sprache und des dialogischen Wortes,” Gegenwartsliteratur 19 (Oktober 2020), 417–419.

“Werner Hamacher, Sprachgerechtigkeit,” MLN 135.3 (April 2020), 802–805.

“Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman,” rezenstfm.univie.ac.at (December 2013).


“Lesen nach Freundschaft oder Wie ich zur Germanistin wurde – bevor sie mich rausschmissen und wieder reinließen” [“Reading for Friendship; or, How I became a Germanist before they kicked me out and let me back in,” by Avital Ronell], Lesen: Ein Handapparat, eds. Hans-Christian von Herrmann and Jeannie Moser (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 2015), 99-110.

“Unter Einfluss” [“Under the Influence,” by Christopher Wood], Einfluss, Strörmung, Quelle: Aquatische Metaphern der Kunstgeschichte, eds. Ulrich Pfisterer and Christine Tauber (Bielefeld: transcript, 2019), 327-46.