Director, Critical Theory; Professor of German Studies & Chair
Focuses on critical theory, philosophy, literature and literary theory, intellectual history, critical political economy, psychoanalysis, political theory, film theory, analysis of ideology, and biopolitics

Humanities 211C

Kiarina Kordela is Professor and chair of German Studies and founding Director of the Critical Theory Program. She received her Ph.D. at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

She is the recipient of Macalester’s 2014 Outstanding Teaching Award and Macalester’s 2019 Trustee Award for “extraordinary excellence in teaching, advising, research, scholarly work, and service.”

In addition to German language courses, Professor Kordela teaches cross-listed courses in English toward both the German major/minor and the Critical Theory concentration, such as “’Dead White Men’ in the Era of Antiracism,” “Metaphysics in Secular Thought,” “Marx, Religion, and Biopolitical Race,” “Marx, the Imaginary, and Neoliberalism,” “German-French Dialogues in Critical Theory,” “Value” (a course on aesthetic theory in its relation to economic and ethical values), “Spinoza’s Eco-Society,” and “Theoretical Approaches to European and American Cinema.”

Her alternate-year courses “A Kafkaesque Century” (a literature course focusing on Franz Kafka’s work) and “Cinema Studies” are taught in English and are open to all students. However, German majors or minors can take the course(s) with an additional German component if they want the course(s) to count among their German-taught courses (in the latter case, students read the texts, make several of their oral presentations, and write the writing assignments in German).

Some of professor Kordela’s numerous articles in academic journals and anthologies have been translated in several languages. She is also the author of three book monographs Epistemontology in Spinoza, Freud, Marx, Lacan: The (Bio)Power of Structure (Routledge, 2018), Being, Time, Bios: Capitalism and Ontology (SUNY Press, 2013)—available also in Italian translation (Ombre Corte, 2017)—and Surplus: Spinoza, Lacan (SUNY Press, 2007), as well as the co-editor of the two-volume collection Spinoza’s Authority: Resistance and Power in the Ethics and Resistance and Power in the Political Writings (Bloomsbury, 2018), and of the collection Freedom and Confinement in Modernity: Kafka’s Cages (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011).

For further publications and scholarly activities, see