Reading The Undercommons in German Studies

Date / Time

January 29, 2021

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm


The burden of estrangement from academic institutions weighs heavily on some of us. Stefano Harney and Fred Moten have described this tentative relation to academia as being “in but not of” the university. In the face of tending to injuries sustained by structural violence in the academy or witnessing it unfold before us, supporting academic structures as they are feels futile, even injurious. In their reflection on the here and now of the university, Harney and Moten conceptualize the undercommons as a site where these struggles about the university take place. In the undercommons, we can renew mutual commitments and forge a path forward. This talk will reflect on central lessons from the work of Harney and Moten and will articulate these as possible guiding principles for those of us who seek to come to terms with the disappointments of and possibilities for German studies today.

Attendees might like to read Harney and Moten’s text ahead of the talk. The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (New York: Minor Compositions, 2013) is available open access here:

Ervin Malakaj, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of German Studies and Affiliate Faculty in the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia. Ervin’s scholarship has focused on German media studies, queer studies, and critical university studies.

Details and Zoom information at

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