Professor and Chair of German Studies
Focuses on philosophy, intellectual history, critical political economy, psychoanalysis, comparative literature, political theory, film theory, and biopolitics

Humanities 208

A. Kiarina Kordela is Professor of German Studies and founding Director of the Critical Theory Program, at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. She received her Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1998.

Areas of Specialization:

Philosophy and intellectual history, with an emphasis on the formation of modernity; critical theory; Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis; German Baroque and Modernist literature; comparative literature and literary theory; political theory, theories of ideology and cultural analysis; visual and film theory; biopolitics. One distinguishing aspect of both her research and teaching is her focus on the relation between economic structures and metaphysics in secular capitalist modernity—or, put differently, the relation between capitalism and theological functions.

Professor Kordela, recipient of Macalester’s 2014 Outstanding Teaching Award, teaches regularly courses in English toward both the German major/minor and the Critical Theory concentration, such as the core Critical Theory seminars “Dead White Men,” and a series of different “Topics” seminars, such as “Metaphysics in Secular Thought,” “German-French Dialogues in Critical Theory,” Value” (a course on aesthetic theory, in its relation to economic and ethical values), ” “Modernity and the Unconscious,” Postmodernism,” “A Kafkaesque Century,” “Philosophy, Literature, Film,” as well as courses on film theory – all of which also fulfill the critical theory German major requirement. She also offers courses taught in German toward the German major, focusing on Kafka or the relation between literature and film.

She has published numerous articles in academic journals and anthologies, as well as three book monographs Epistemontology in Spinoza, Freud, Marx, Lucan: 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). She is also 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 Freedom and Confinement in Modernity: Kafka’s Cages (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011).

For further publications and scholarly activities, see