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Nina Tolksdorf

Nina Tolksdorf

Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures

PhD Candidate

The Johns Hopkins University

Nina Tolksdorf is a Ph.D. student in the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures at the Johns Hopkins University. She studied modern German literature, comparative literature and philosophy at the Technical University of Berlin and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland and was a fellow of the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School in 2014-15. She is currently working on a performative concept of sincerity in Heinrich von Kleist, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Franz Kafka. Her research interests include literary theory, philosophy, rhetoric, and performance studies. She has published two papers on Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus spoke Zarathustra.

Precarious Sincerities. Nietzsche – Kleist – Kafka

Nina's project formulates a concept of Redlichkeit (sincerity/ integrity/ truth-telling) that is constituted by both performativity and rhetoric. It argues that Nietzsche, Kleist, and Kafka problematize a concept of sincerity that relies on the possibility of adequate representation. However, instead of dismissing sincerity altogether they focus on what is being said and on what is being established by speaking and acting sincerely. Her project thus exposes a rhetoric of sincerity that indicates an ethics beyond the subject – an ethics, which she develops further by drawing on post-structuralist theory and deconstruction.