Elisabeth Weber


Office Location

Phelps 6326


Elisabeth Weber received her Ph.D. in Philosophy at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. She teaches German and Comparative literature and is an affiliate professor of Religious Studies. 
She is one of the instructors in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center's "Foundations in the Humanities" prison correspondence program.
Weber's research interests and publications include French philosophy and theory; psychoanalysis and trauma studies; German Judaism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; German literature from the nineteenth century to the present. Her research and teaching focuses on the ways in which literature and critical theory can contribute to an exploration of trauma, of human rights and their violations, and to a reflection on concepts whose definitions have become, in the contemporary context, more and more uncertain, including the concepts of “the human,” “democracy,” “justice,” “rights.” Her teaching experience includes a visiting associate professorship at the Johns Hopkins University. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. With a research project on plant humanities, she recently received a fellowship from the International Research Center for Cultural Studies (Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, IFK), Art Univerisity Linz and Vienna, Austria (https://www.ifk.ac.at/fellows-detail-en/elisabeth-weber.html).
Elisabeth Weber is the author of Verfolgung und Trauma. Zu Emmanuel Levinas' Autrement qu'être ou au-delà de l'essence (1990), awarded a prize by the Dr. Margrit Egnér Foundation, and of Kill Boxes: Facing the legacy of U.S. sponsored torture, indefinite detention and drone warfare (Punctum 2017). A free download can be accessed here: 
The human rights journalist and activist Rebecca Tinsley reviewed the book for the Huffington Post:
Edited books include
Jüdisches Denken in Frankreich (1994, published in French as Questions au Judaïsme, 1996, and in English as Questioning Judaism, Stanford 2004), a collection of interviews with Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Emmanuel Levinas, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and others;
Das Vergessen(e). Anamnesen des Undarstellbaren (1997) (co-edited with Georg Christoph Tholen);
Speaking about Torture, co-edited with Julie Carlson (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012);
Living Together. Jacques Derrida’s Communities of Violence and Peace (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013);
She has also edited several works by Jacques Derrida, and translated into German texts by Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas and Félix Guattari.
In 2003, Weber organized, together with Thomas Carlson (UCSB, Religious Studies), an international conference with Jacques Derrida on “Irreconcilable Differences? Jacques Derrida and the Question of Religion.”
In 2006-2007, together with a group of UCSB colleagues (Lisa Hajjar (Sociology), Julie Carlson (English), Richard Falk (Global and International Studies), among others),  she organized  a series of twelve public events under the title “Torture and the Future. Perspectives from the Humanities,” a collaborative project which had won the “Critical Issues in America” competition at UCSB in 2006. For more information on the "Torture and the Future" project, please visit: http://www.complit.ucsb.edu/projects/tortureandthefuture/index.html.
In 2015, together with Julie Carlson (UCSB, English) and Wolf Kittler (UCSB, Germanic and Slavic), she organized an international, interdiscplinary conference at the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Franz Kafka's famous text "Die Verwandlung" ("The Metamorphosis"). The conference brought together a wide array of scholars and artists to discuss Kafka’s text in its literary-historical context, and to read it as an exploration of metamorphoses that problematize borders between species and between living organisms and machines. Kafka’s text opens pressing questions in such fields as human and animal rights, old and new forms of warfare, art and technology: mimicry of animals in developments in drone warfare, bionics (exoskeletons), prostheses, and nano-technology, as well as digitally engineered perception through animal eyes. See: http://www.gss.ucsb.edu/metamorphosis/.
To read the statement and sign, visit http://ejcj.orfaleacenter.ucsb.edu/hss4f-statement-in-support-of-global-youth-uprising-for-climate-action/.
In March 2020, she organized the international conference  "Heidegger and Kabbalah. Exploring Elliot Wolfson's Work on Martin Heidegger and Jewish Mysticism": 
Recent article publications include:
- “Dreaded by everything within us that desires a kingdom,” Oxford Literary Review: A decade after Derrida, Michael Naas (ed.), 2014;
- "Jacques Derrida’s Urgency, Today," Los Angeles Review of Books, October 2014, https://lareviewofbooks.org/essay/jacques-derridas-urgency-today;
-- "Penser la paix, peut-être, vielleicht, perhaps, ulai, la’alla," Lignes, Nr. 46: Penser la paix, penser l’impossible: Le conflit Israélo-Palestinien, eds, Henri Cohen-Solal, Lucy Nusseibeh et Aline Alterman, Paris, 2015;
- "Catastrophes. Afterlives of the Exceptionality Paradigm in Holocaust Studies," : History Unlimited: Probing the Ethics of Holocaust Culture, Claudio Fogu, Wolf Kansteiner, Todd Presner (eds.), Harvard University Press, 2016.
- "Literature Calls Justice. Deconstruction's 'coming-to-terms' with literature," After Derrida. Literature, Theory and Criticism in the 21st Century, ed. Jean-Michel Rabaté, Cambridge University Press, 2018.
- "Wer die Nacht macht, macht den Tag: Fethi Benslamas Psychoanalyse einer neuen Grausamkeit," RISS. Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, Nr. 93, ed. Susanne Lüdemann, Hamburg, Textem Verlag, 2020
Recent graduate courses include "Deconstructions: Jacques Derrida and the Question of Religion," "Walter Benjamin," "Humanities and Human Rights in Times of Torture,"  "Contemporary Theory: Activist Papers", "Contemporary Literary and Critical Theory: Thinking Violence, Thinking War," "Ethics and Psychoanalysis," "University, Pluriversity, Subversity," "Hannah Arendt: Crises of the Republic: Racism, Imperialism, Fascism."