Sabine Wilke named Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor for Western Civilization   

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Sabine Wilke, 2018

Warmest congratulations to Sabine Wilke on this special distinction. Her three-year term as Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor for Western Civilization will start on September 1, 2018.


Sabine Wilke writes from Berlin, Germany: 

“I was extremely pleased to receive this year’s nomination as Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor for Western Civilization for 2018-21 and am humbled to be asked to follow in my esteemed colleague Jane Brown’s shoes who served as the university’s first Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor from 2009-2012. In that capacity, I will be working with six graduate students from all humanities fields on an annual basis whose work and research involves Western civilization, broadly defined. The goals of the program are to foster creative and critical work in the Western cultural tradition and to help prepare teachers from different disciplines who have well-reasoned convictions about the place of Western civilization in the curriculum of an American liberal arts institution.

Specifically, we will examine select issues from the Environmental Humanities such as global migration, climate change, extinction, environmental justice, sustainability, the need for rethinking human and nonhuman relations, and other contemporary problems with environmental repercussions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives with the intent to transcend narrow disciplinary frameworks and arrive at a greater horizon that brings the critical framework of the Western Civilization into full fruition. What does it mean to engage the Western tradition and its core values such as equality, freedom, justice, and democracy in a broader and more global context that seeks to embrace sustainability? What is the role of Western culture in the Anthropocene, for example, i.e., in the age in which humanity has been charged with geological agency by a number of scientists, artists, and humanists, an age in which compartmentalized thinking is simply no longer adequate and where we have to solve problems on a larger and global scale? What is the meaning of the enlightenment in this age of radical interconnectivity where even the concept of the human is put into question?

I will be back in touch with more details once I have returned from my research leave in Berlin, the seminar has been established, and we have started our work.”


Sabine Wilke is Professor of German and the recipient of numerous major fellowships and awards.