About Me

I’m an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Society for the Humanities and the Department of German Studies at Cornell University. My research and teaching focuses broadly speaking on relations between old media and new media, and particularly on questions of mobility. My further research interests include the history of mysticism, interface design, and digital textbooks.

In Spring 2016, I graduated from the Department of German at the University of California, Berkeley, where I received a concurrent PhD in German Studies and Medieval Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Film & Media Studies. Drawing on insights from the fields of media archaeology and the study of cultural techniques, my dissertation re-examines the early and pre-history of national radio broadcasting. Going wireless, I argue, means not only the elimination of wires but also the production of electromagnetic radiation, a phenomenon that had far-reaching implications for the cultural logics of German modernity. To complete this project, I conducted archival research in Austria and Germany, and spent a year as the Fulbright/IFK Junior Fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK) in Vienna, Austria. I’m also the co-editor of a volume on the figure of the neighbor in German modernity, and the author of articles on early avant-garde films and medieval media theory,

I’m also the co-editor of Neighbors and Neighborhoods: Living Together in the German-Speaking World, and the author of articles on early avant-garde films and medieval media theory, as well as translations and book reviews on topics in film and media studies. At Berkeley, I was the managing editor of TRANSIT: A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking world, and the co-organizer of the working groups at the Townsend Center for the Humanities – BTWH: The Emergence of German Modernity, Medievalisms, and Graduate Medievalists at Berkeley.

At Cornell, I’m working on revising my dissertation into a book and on developing my next research project, a media archaeology of the mechanical push-button. In addition, I’ll teach undergraduate courses in the Department of German Studies: “Media in Transit” (Fall 2016) will provide an introduction to cultural mobility and media studies; “What was film?” (Spring 2017) will present students with the opportunity to conduct specialized research on the potentials of silent cinema.

Erik Born
erikborn (at) cornell (dot) edu