Aleksandra Prica | Faculty Profile
Medieval and Early Modern German Literature and Culture, Media Studies, Literature and the Bible; Literature and Knowledge, Poetology and Hermeneutics, Historical Processes, Aesthetics of Form
I have studied German Literature and Theology at the University of Zürich in Switzerland and at the Humboldt University in Berlin. I received my Ph.D. degree in Medieval German Literature at the University of Zürich in 2010. Before spending two years on a postdoctoral grant at the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago I was a Senior Research Associate (Oberassistentin) of Medieval German Studies in the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Zürich. I joined the faculty of UNC in January 2016.
My academic interest focuses on literary, theological, philosophical and cultural discourses from late antiquity to the baroque as well as on the reception of medieval literature in German Romanticism and in the Modern Era. Strong emphasis lies on the examination of the historicity of media and mediality, i.e. on changes in communication practices, new dynamics in medial forms, and reflection on the conditions of communication. In my past work I have largely dealt with the blurring boundaries between literary and religious and/or theological discourses and with the medial implications of this relationship. In addition I have published articles on the concepts of ‘form’ and ‘figure’, and I have co-edited a volume on the mediality of time.
In my dissertation entitled Heilsgeschichten. Untersuchungen zur mittelalterlichen Bibelauslegung zwischen Poetik und Exegese, which was published in 2010 by the Chronos Publishing House in Zurich, I investigate the basic principles of medieval interpretations and narrative supplementations of the biblical history of salvation. I argue that the history of salvation in the Christian sense is not only about the events that took place between creation, fall, incarnation, passion, and redemption, but also about the telling of these events as a way of constantly working them through. It is characteristic of this process that it takes on the form of the supplementary, of exegesis and commentary on the Bible on the one hand, of amplification and expansion of the biblical narrative on the other. My book is concerned with the tension between the two aspects, and it considers the problematic fact that the biblical text tends to grow while at the same time the idea of the unalterableness of the Canon is being defended.
My current research has two main points of focus. One project traces aspects of a cultural history of the ruin from Late Antiquity to the Baroque, also including a glimpse at modern discourses of the ruin and their continuity and discontinuity with the tradition. My second project concerns a theory and literary history of ‘speculationʼ. The realm of speculative thinking is a realm of the unknown, of possibilities and future expectations. Throughout its long and controversial history speculation has been both acknowledged and rejected as an epistemological concept and a means of philosophical reasoning. Harking back to the twofold use of speculatio in Platonic-Augustinian tradition on the one hand and Aristotelian philosophy on the other, I examine the ambiguous character of speculative thinking between reflection and imagination.