Stefani Engelstein

Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literature

Germanic Old Chemistry
Campus Box: 
(919) 660-3173
Office Hours: 
Tues 1:30-3:30.

Stefani Engelstein researches the ways Europeans have understood and classified themselves and others in knowledge-systems that span the humanities, sciences, and social sciences, particularly from 1750-1915, but with an eye on current repercussions.  Such categories include race, sex, language family, religion, and species.  Her current project, Sibling Action: The Genealogical Structure of Modernity (forthcoming, Columbia University Press), investigates genealogical sciences in the long nineteenth century which transformed contemporary terms in historical systems – whether languages, religions, races, nations, species, or subjects – into siblings of varying degrees.  The sibling is a boundary figure – neither self nor quite other – that enables and yet destabilizes the definition of terms.  Professor Engelstein’s first book, Anxious Anatomy: The Conception of the Human Form in Literary and Naturalist Discourse (SUNY 2008) explored the contours of the body in surgical, naturalist, aesthetic, and literary texts to trace the transformation of the concept of teleology from an explanation for natural equilibrium to a rationalization for legitimating ideologies through the body.  She co-edited the anthology, Contemplating Violence: Critical Studies in Modern German Culture (Rodopi 2011) and her work has appeared in such journals as Critical Inquiry, the PMLA, the German Studies Review, the Goethe Yearbook, and Philosophy Today.


  • Ph.D. 2001, University of Chicago
  • MA 1994, Comparative Literature. University of Chicago
  • B.A. 1992, Yale University

Contemplating Violence Critical Studies in Modern German Culture. Ed. S Engelstein and C Niekerk. Rodopi, 2011. (Edited Book)

Engelstein, S. "Coining a discipline: Lessing, reimarus, and a science of religion." Fact and Fiction: Literary and Scientific Cultures in Germany and Britain. January 1, 2016. 221-246.

Engelstein, S, and Niekerk, C. "Introduction. Violence, Culture, Aesthetics: Germany 1789-1938." 2009. 13-32.

Engelstein, SB. "Reproductive Machines in E.T.A. Hoffmann." Body Dialectics in the Age of Goethe. Rodopi, 2003. 169-193. (Chapter)

Engelstein, S. "On Respect and Meaning: Reply to Cynthia L. Hallen." Critical Inquiry 41.2 (January 2015): 451-457. (Scholarly Commentary) Full Text

Engelstein, S. "Sibling Logic; or, Antigone Again." PMLA 126.1 (January 2011): 38-54. Full Text

Engelstein, S. "Civic Attachments & Sibling Attractions: The Shadows of Fraternity." Goethe Yearbook 18.1 (2011): 205-221. Full Text

Engelstein, S. "Out on a limb: Military medicine, Heinrich von Kleist, and the disarticulated body." GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW 23.2 (May 2000): 225-244. Full Text

Engelstein, SB. "The Regenerative Geography of the Text in William Blake." Modern Language Studies 32:2.Fall (2000): 61-86.