Johannes Wankhammer focuses on aesthetic theory at the intersection of literature, philosophy, and the history of science. His research and teaching draw on the long eighteenth century as a laboratory of realized and unrealized modernities to explore origins of – and alternatives to – contemporary notions of critique, secular universalism, and the modern concepts of literature and art.

He is currently completing a monograph on the discovery/invention of the faculty of attention in the eighteenth century, which recovers the transdisciplinary discourse on Aufmerksamkeit (attention) as it constitutes aesthetics as a philosophical discipline from Baumgarten to Herder. Published projects in this context include articles on Johann Jakob Breitinger’s poetics of attention and on the concept of contingency at the intersection of eighteenth-century cosmology and poetics. In addition to his research on aesthetics and poetics, he has worked on topics in critical theory and contemporary Austrian literature, as well as in the posthuman and environmental humanities.

Before joining the Princeton German Department in 2017, Johannes Wankhammer served as Visiting Assistant Professor at Reed College. He earned his PhD in German Studies from Cornell University, where he was awarded a Mellon Graduate Fellowship at the Society of the Humanities