The recently founded Walter Benjamin Research Collective aims to promote critical debate amongst doctoral candidates and post-doctoral researchers engaging with different aspects of Benjamin’s extensive body of work. Conscious of the far-reaching influence of Benjamin’s writings within a variety of disciplines, the WBRC encourages intellectual exchange across international networks, bringing together early career researchers from different strands of scholarship and facilitating interdisciplinary discussion.
In light of the current circumstances which have prevented the experience of regular in- person interactions within academic settings, the WBRC wishes to take advantage of the potential for virtual encounters in order to offer alternative opportunities for networking and discussion. Participants will be given the chance to engage in fruitful debate in a structured yet informal manner, joining an international cohort of researchers.
The proposed format for these gatherings is a monthly virtual meeting centred on suggested readings of specific passages from selected writings, as well as recent angles in Benjamin studies. Each session will be led and curated by a different researcher, giving participants the chance to tailor sessions to their specific academic interests as well as open up any difficulties they have encountered to the rest of the group. These virtual meetings will be limited to up to max. of 15 participants (should there be enough interest, further group meetings will be scheduled).
Announcements on the exact time and date of the first meeting, planned for January 2021, will be made via email exchange once interest has been registered.
While being centred on Benjamin’s corpus, the WBRC is also open to researchers whose primary object of study may not be Benjamin’s writings, but whose research still engages with a particular strand or aspect of his work. Researchers at an early stage of their career, i.e. doctoral and postdoctoral, are especially encouraged to join. A corresponding website, as well as an online database of current doctoral and post- doctoral research in the field, is forthcoming.
If you would like to become involved in the activities of the WBRC and appear on our email list, please register your interest by contacting WBResearchCollective@gmail.com with a few lines on your current project(s) by January 15th 2021. Please put either the title of your project or a short description of your research interests in the email subject title.
With best wishes,
Agnieszka, Federica, Leila and Sofia
Agnieszka Puchalska is a doctoral candidate and a teaching associate at Queen Mary University of London. Her research centres on Walter Benjamin’s theory of baroque allegorical representation as a critical strategy applicable in analysis of contemporary novels of Salman Rushdie and Olga Tokarczuk. She was a co-organizer of the conference Redefining Allegory: The Meaning of Allegory Now held in London in 2016.
Federica Muré is a doctoral candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on the relation between different textures of the image and the concepts of ‘frontier’ (Grenze) and ‘threshold’ (Schwelle) in Benjamin’s writings, vis-à-vis Aby Warburg’s and Georges Didi-Huberman’s species of the image-limit. She is a graduate affiliate at the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought (Goldsmiths), where she co- organized the international workshop Benjamin’s Baudelaire: Constellations of Modernity and the screening event Berlin Childhood around 1900: A Film Project in Progress (2019). She is also a contributing writer at the Italian journal Antinomie.
Leila Nassereldein is a doctoral candidate in Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck College, University of London, where she teaches BA and MA students in English, and the History of Art. Addressing the work of Walter Benjamin and Humphrey Jennings, Leila’s thesis examines montage as a historiographic practice, in the context of the interwar avant-garde. Working with the ICA, British Library, Peltz Gallery and Turner Contemporary, Leila’s curatorial practice involves archival experimentation with arts institutions. Special Articles Editor for Brief Encounters journal in 2017, Leila has also organised and delivered critical excursions in Georgia, Redcar and Naples, since 2017, bringing together academics for collaborative, on-site, phenomenological research experiences, as part of the CHASE-funded research network Space Place Time.
Sofia Cumming is a doctoral candidate at the University of East Anglia, where she also acts as an associate tutor. Her research focuses on Benjamin’s life-long engagement with French literary and aesthetic culture, and the conceptual and methodological implications it yields for his body of work. She was the co-organizer of Benjamin’s Baudelaire: Constellations of Modernity, a workshop for early career researchers, and the screening event Berlin Childhood around 1900: A Film Project in Progress (both at Goldsmiths, 2019). She is currently a visiting researcher at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, as well as a doctoral associate at the Marc Bloch Centre