Erik Born

Assistant Professor


Erik Born is an Assistant Professor in the Department of German Studies, and an active member of Media Studies, Medieval Studies, Performing and Media Arts, and Visual Studies. Working on transhistorical connections in literary, media, and cultural studies, Born aims to understand the relations between “old media” and “new media”, whether manuscripts and print, analog and digital film, or wireless telegraphy and Wi-Fi. 

Born is the author of articles on medieval media theory, early German science fiction, and the media histories of cinema and television, as well as translations and book reviews on topics in literature, film, media, and cultural studies. His current book project, Wireless Futures, 1900/2000/2100, reconsiders apparent precursors to mobile devices, cellular networks, and cultures of connectivity from over a century ago and thereby contributes a critical, transhistorical concept of "speculative media" to contemporary media philosophy. His next large-scale research project, Premodern Cultural Techniques, focuses on premodern practices of reading, writing, and counting with the aim of developing a new way of understanding media before "the media".

Office Hours 
By email appointment

Research Focus

  • German Language, Literature, and Culture (esp. Pre-1800 and Modernism ca. 1900)
  • Media History and Theory (esp. Critical Theory and Media Philosophy)
  • German Cinema (esp. Silent Film) and Television
  • Speculative Fiction (esp. Science Fiction)
  • Popular Mediums (esp. Comics and Games)


Selected Journal Articles (Peer-Reviewed)

German Media Studies: A Critical Update.” New German Critique 150 (2023): 5–24.

Zeitlupe: Cinematic Technique and Literary Form in the Weimar Republic.” German Studies Review 44.3 (2021): 469–488.

Some Omissions in the Universal Library: Kurd Lasswitz and the Emergence of Science Fiction.” Monatshefte 110.4 (Winter 2018): 529–551. doi: 10.3368/m.110.4.529

Media Archaeology, Cultural Techniques, and the Middle Ages: An Approach to the Study of Media before The Media." Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies 52.2 (2016): 107–133. doi: 10.3138/seminar.52.2.2

Selected Book Chapters

“What was Time Axis Manipulation?” In Friedrich Kittler: Neue Lektüren, edited by Jens Schroeter and Till Heilmann. Berlin: Springer, 2022.

“Cinema Panopticum: Wax, Work, Waxworks.” In ReFocus: The Films of Paul Leni, edited by Martin Norden and Erica Tortolani. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2021.

“Notation: From Scrolls to Scores.” In Hans Richters Rhythmus 21. Schlüsselfilm der Moderne. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 2012.

Selected Web-Based Publications

Going Wireless in the Belle Époque.” Continent 7.1 (Spring 2018): 5–16.

The Promise of Television.” The Promise of Cinema: German Film Theory, 1907–1933. Companion Website (October 2017).

Selected Translations

Florian Sprenger. “Environments of Experimentation and Epistemologies of Surroundings: John Scott Haldane’s Physiology and Biopolitics of the Living.” Grey Room 75 (Spring 2019): 6–35.

Timon Beyes and Jörg Metelmann, eds. The Creativity Complex. Translated by Erik Born and others. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2018.

Kurd Lasswitz, “The Universal Library.” Mithila Review: The Journal of International Science Fiction & Fantasy 9 (September 2017).

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