Associate Professor, German
School of Humanities
Director of Graduate Program, German
School of Humanities
Ph.D., Duke University, 2003, Germanic Languages and Literatures
Phone: (949) 824-6406
University of California, Irvine
214 Humanities Instructional Building
Mail Code: 3150
Irvine, CA 92697
Modernist literature, German film, European studies, Catastrophic Imagination and Representations of War, Violence, and Risk
Visiting Assistant Professor, Middlebury College, Vermont (2002-2004)
Kai Evers’ research focuses on the central importance of reflections of violence in modernism. In his first book Violent Modernists (2013), he developed an understanding of German modernism that breaks with prevalent pacified notions of modernist writings in Germany and Austria. Analyzing works by Musil, Kafka, Kraus, Benjamin, Canetti and others, he argued that these authors are among the most innovative thinkers on violence and its impact on contemporary concepts of the self, history, and society. His current research develops models of imagining emerging risks to society in literary and non-literary discourses. By analyzing discourses among scientists, theorists, in the mass media, and in literature, he examines the challenges to imagining a world at risk by its own scientific and technological triumphs. He focuses first on interwar discourses addressing the new technologies of chemical weapons of mass destruction. Anticipating radically new forms of imperceptible warfare, these debates among military theorists, chemists, public intellectuals, and writers were among the first to consider what current sociological theories conceptualize as the transition from modern societies to risk societies. His research intends to offer a genealogy of risk society that reaches much deeper into the past than current theories propose and hopes to identify central models of a representation and rethinking of risk in German culture that envisions the destructive potentials of successful modernization amidst the apparent normalcy of daily life.
New German Critique Issue #147: Peter Weiss and The Aesthetics of Resistance (Nov 2022). Special Issue Editor (together with Julia Hell and Seth Howes).
Violent Modernists: The Aesthetics of Aggression in 20th Century German Literature. Evanston: Northwestern University Press 2013
Europe and The World. World War I as Crisis of Universalism. Kai Evers and David Pan (eds.). Telos Investigations. Candor, NY: Telos Publishing, 2018.
Peter Weiss. The New Trial. (2001) Durham, NC: Duke University Press. (Translated and introduced by James Rolleston and Kai Evers).
Recent publications of articles include:
„Klügers Katastrophen: Literaturgeschichte als Aufforderung zum Lesen,“ in »Ich kann nichts anderes als lesen und schreiben« Zum literarischen und literaturwissenschaftlichen Werk von Ruth Klüger. Edited by Gesa Dane and Gail K. Hart, Wallstein Verlag, 2022. [Forthcoming.]
"Looking Away: On Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa and the Narration of Political Pedagogy in The Aesthetics of Resistance," New German Critique, Issue #147 (Nov 2022), pp. 21-41.
Kai Evers, Julia Hell, and Seth Howes, "Introduction: Peter Weiss and The Aesthetics of Resistance," New German Critique, Issue #147 (Nov 2022), pp. 1-20.
"'Nought Noone Nowhere Ne'er!": Postwar Germany, Arno Schmidt, and the Representation of Complicit Noncomplicity,'" Comparative Literature Studies, Volume 56, Number 4, (2019), pp. 807-826.
"Ach was könnte nicht alles geschehn”: Kafka's The Burrow and the Anticipation of Future Warfare. In Europe and The World. World War I as Crisis of Universalism. (2018) Evers, Kai and David Pan (eds.). Telos Investigations. Candor, NY: Telos Publishing, 2018.
"Ordering Chaos," in Levie, Sophie, De Pourcq, Maarten (Eds.) European Literary History: An Introduction. (2018) New York: Routledge, pp. 312-323.
"Robert Walser and Violence: Strange Excursions into the Microscripts." in
Frederick, S., Heffernan, V. (Eds.) A Companion to Robert Walser. (2018) Evanston, Illinois, USA: Northwestern University Press, pp. 229-250.
"Gassing Europe’s Capitals: Planning, Envisioning, and Rethinking Modern Warfare in European Discourses of the 1920s and 1930s," in G. K. Hart, A. Biendarra, D. T.-C. Pan (Eds.), Vol. Vision of Europe. (2014) Berlin, Germany. Berliner Beiträge zur neueren Literatur- und Kulturgeschichte.
'Krieg ist das gleiche wie aZ’: Krieg, Gewalt und Erlösung in Robert Musil’s Nachkriegsschriften. (2009) In H. Feger, H.-G. Pott, N. C. Wolf (Eds.), Terror und Erlösung: Robert Musil und der Gewaltdiskurs der Zwischenkriegszeit. Robert Musil Studien 37. (pp. 28). Munich, Germany. Wilhelm Fink Verlag.
"Destructive Satires: Canetti and Benjamin’s Search for the Murderous Substance of Satire," 2007). In W. C. Donahue, J. Preece (Eds.), The Worlds of Elias Canetti: Centenary Essays. Newcastle, UK. Cambridge Scholarly Publishing.
“Monological versus Dialogical Remembrance: Gert Neumann’s Novel Anschlag in the Context of the Walser-Bubis Controversy” (Germanic Review, 2005)
“The Holes of Oblivion: Arendt and Benjamin’s Theories of Story-Telling in the Age of Totalitarian Domination,” (Telos, Fall 2005)
GSA, MLA, ACLA