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Ellwood Wiggins (he/him/his)

Associate Professor of Germanics

Contact Information

(206) 543-4189
DEN 338
Office Hours: 
Fall 2019: On Sabbatical


Ph.D., German, Yale University, 2011
M.A., German, The Johns Hopkins University, 2006
M.A., Eastern Classics, St. John's College, Santa Fe, 2003
B.A., Philosophy/Liberal Arts, St. John's College, Annapolis, 1998

My teaching and research are committed to understanding how people come to know one another and themselves. How do we perform roles and identities? How does the re-enactment of tropes, stories, and questions from antiquity shape our understanding today? I am especially interested in the performative practices and acts of self-assertion involved in the reception of Greek drama and philosophy, Shakespeare, and Eastern Thought. The German intellectual and cultural worlds of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries provide a rich locus in which these strands of research converge.

My first book, Odysseys of Recognition: Performing Intersubjectivity in Homer, Aristotle, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Kleist will appear with Bucknell University Press in February, 2019. My second book project is a study of the rhetoric of sympathy in ethics and aesthetics through the lens of the reception of the Philoctetes myth from the Trojan to the Iraq Wars. I have published articles on Aristotle, Shaftesbury, Mendelssohn, Lessing, Adam Smith, Goethe, Kleist, Tom Stoppard, Heiner Müller, and the Sanskrit dramatist Kālidāsa. I am also interested in connections between evolutions in scientific understanding and artistic creation, and my translation of Rüdiger Campe’s The Game of Probability: Literature and Calculation between Pascal and Kleist, was published by Stanford UP in 2013. All of my sundry interests unfold from some aspect of performance studies: it is instructively revealing to view even the scientific experiment as a staged performative space.

Before coming coming to UW, I taught at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Priamursky State University Shalom Aleichem in Birobidzhan, Russia.


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