Ferdinand Bubacz

PhD Candidate, Department of German, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (January 15 - March 23): 

Many historians of modernism have argued that the technique of attention is a central category that dominates discussions on perception in science and art in Germany and Austria around 1900. While there have been major publications on the subject in art history, cultural studies and history of sciences, there has been little research on the transfer between sciences and literature. Bubacz’s dissertation, 'The Possibility of the Senses', analyzes the often-overlooked marginal writings of Rainer Maria Rilke and Robert Musil in the context of the history of science in Austria. Investigating the diaries, notebooks, letters, and short prose of these two major Austrian authors, Bubacz plans to reconstruct their distinctive literary contribution to the discourse on perception and argue that their unparalleled examination of attention helped to challenge reductionist approaches especially in biology and psychology. Bubacz’s project thus tries to remedy the gap in the research on the history of attention by reconstructing the intertextual relations between science and the literary production in Austria. He plans to finish the last chapter of his dissertation during his time in Shanghai. Bubacz’s research is not directly connected to the site but relates to his work as a German language teacher. It is his goal as a language instructor to engage every student, often by contrasting German culture to their individual experience. While a GRI fellow in Shanghai, Bubacz hopes to broaden his understanding of different cultural backgrounds to better integrate the growing diversity in the classroom.


Last Name
PhD Candidate, Department of German, GSAS
Fellows Type
GRI Fellowship
GRI Fellows semester
Spring 2018