Kai Evers

picture of Kai  Evers

Associate Professor, German
School of Humanities
Director of Graduate Program, German
School of Humanities
Director of European Studies Program
School of Humanities

Ph.D., Duke University, 2003, Germanic Languages and Literatures

Phone: (949) 824-6406
Email: kevers@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
214 Humanities Instructional Building
Mail Code: 3150
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Modernist literature, German film, European studies, Catastrophic Imagination and Representations of War, Violence, and Risk
Visiting Assistant Professor, Middlebury College, Vermont (2002-2004)
Research Abstract
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.
Violent Modernists: The Aesthetics of Aggression in 20th Century German Literature. Evanston: Northwestern University Press 2013
He has published on Weiss, Jahnn, and Johnson. Together with James Rolleston he published an English edition of Peter Weiss’ The New Trial (Duke University Press, 2001).

Recent publications include:

“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)
Professional Society
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