Liliane Weissberg

Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor in the School of Arts & Sciences

Professor of German and Comparative Literature

747 Williams Hall
By appointment
(215) 898-7332 or (215) 898-3343
CV (file):

Liliane Weissberg is Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor in Arts and Sciences and Professor of German and Comparative Literature. She is also a member of the Jewish Studies Program, the Art History Graduate Group, the English Graduate Group, the Program in Visual Studies, the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies, and the Graduate Group in Religious Studies. Weissberg's interests focus on late eighteenth-century to early twentieth-century German literature and philosophy. Much of her work deals with German-Jewish Studies, but she has also written on the German Enlightenment, European and American Romanticism, German realism, and visual studies. Weissberg has taught as a visiting professor at universities in the United States, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and has held appointments as the Ernst Cassirer Professor in Philosophy at the University of Hamburg, the Kurt Brühl Professor in Jewish Studies at the University of Graz, and the Franz Rosenzweig Professor at the University of Kassel. Weissberg is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American ACLS, Fulbright, and Guggenheim Fellowships and the German Alexander von Humboldt Prize for her life's work.

Among her book publications are a critical edition of Hannah Arendt's Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess (1997), Cultural Memory and the Construction of Identity (with Dan Ben-Amos, 1999), Romancing the Shadow: Poe and Race (with J. Gerald Kennedy, 2001), Hannah Arendt, Charlie Chaplin und die verborgene jüdische Tradition (2009), Affinität wider Willen? Hannah Arendt, Theodor W. Adorno und die Frankfurter Schule (2011), Über Haschisch und Kabbalah: Gershom Scholem, Siegfried Unseld und das Werk von Walter Benjamin (2012), and Writing with Photography (with Karen Beckman, 2013). Weissberg has also curated and co-curated art exhibitions, and contributed to various exhibition catalogues. Most recently, she curated the exhibition Juden. Geld. Eine Vorstellung (2013) at the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, and is the editor of its accompanying catalogue.

Weissberg's courses have included seminars on contemporary German women's literature, on turn of the century Vienna, on the Enlightenment, on realism, and on literary theory, as well as literature and political theory, for example: GRMN 580 "Walter Benjamin,” GRMN 540 "Memory, Trauma, Culture," GRMN 253 Freud: The Invention of Psychoanalysis,” GRMN237 Berlin: History, Politics, Culture,” and GRMN 242 "Ghosts, Spirits, and Machines.”

Listen to Prof. Weissberg and Prof. Michael Brenner discuss the 1918 Munich Revolution and Räterepublik at the Center for Advanced Studies Munich (2018).

Read all about, and listen to, Prof. Weissberg's introductory lecture for the Franz-Rosenzweig-Professur (2012) at the University of Kassel.

Listen to Prof. Weissberg's talk "Political Philosophy's Need for Literature" from the conference "Hannah Arendt and the Humanities: On the Relevance of Her Work Beyond the Realm of Politics" (Stanford, 2010).

Listen to Prof. Weissberg discuss Johann Gottfried Herder ("Lehrer, Prediger, Schriftsteller" on Bayerische Rundfunk's radioWissen. (2010).

Check out video from Prof. Weissberg's talk (among others) from the recent symposium "A Continuing Conversation: Moses Mendelssohn and the Legacy of the Enlightenment," held by the Center for Jewish History, NYC (2011).

Watch Prof. Weissberg's Sixty Second Lecture at Penn (from YouTube, 2005).

Listen to Prof. Weissberg discuss her exhibit "Juden. Geld. Eine Vorstellung" at the Jüdisches Museum in Frankfurt am Main with various German and American news outlets: 

Radio Interview with BR Bayern 2 "KulturWelt"


Penn's School of Arts and Sciences magazine "Frontiers"

Research Interests

18th - early 20th century literature, comparative literature, aesthetic theory, German-Jewish writing


Faculty Bookshelf