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Conference Speaker Biographies

Annie Bourneuf is Professor of Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and author of Behind the Angel of History: The Angelus Novus and Its Interleaf (The University of Chicago Press 2022) and Paul Klee: The Visible and the Legible (The University of Chicago Press 2015). Professor Bourneuf’s research centers on modernism, mostly in Central Europe, with an emphasis on its relations with politics, technologies of reproduction, religion, and class.


Charles W. “Mark” Haxthausen is Robert Sterling Clark Professor of Art History (em.) at Williams College. Professor Haxthausen has recently translated works by Carl Einstein, A Mythology of Forms: Selected Writings on Art (The University of Chicago Press 2019), co-edited Berlin: Culture and Metropolis (University of Minnesota Press 1991; reprint 2009), and is author of other published works on German art, and the relation between museums and the university. Professor Haxthausen’s research focuses on modern and contemporary European art, with an emphasis on Germany, in particular painters Paul Klee, Max Beckmann, Sigmar Polke, the critics Carl Einstein and Walter Benjamin, and the German Dada movement.


Christine Helmer is Professor of German and Religious Studies at Northwestern University, and the Peter B. Ritzma Chair of Humanities. Professor Helmer is author of How Luther Became the Reformer (Westminster John Knox Press 2019) and co-author of Ordinary Faith in Polarized Times: Justification and the Pursuit of Justice (Baylor University Press 2023) and editor of The Medieval Luther (Mohr Siebeck 2020). Professor Helmer’s research centers on the theology of Christianity, particularly German intellectual history since 1500, and with a specific focus on Martin Luther, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and early twentieth-century German culture, as well as constructive theology.


Gillian Hemme is a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Theatre and Drama program at Northwestern University and is conducting research for her dissertation, Reclaiming the Body: Performances in and of Catholic Institutionalization in Twentieth-Century Ireland. Her research and performance practices center on embodied understandings of carceral violence, with a focus on Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries.


Isabel von Holt is Wissenschaftliche Angestelle (post-doc) in Liberal Studies/German Studies in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Hamburg and has previously taught as DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of German at Northwestern University. Dr. von Holt is author of Figurationen des Bösen im barocken Trauerspiel: Eine Studie zu Andreas Gryphius und Daniel Casper von Lohenstein (De Gruyter 2022)). Dr. von Holt’s research centers on the German baroque and its reception in twentieth-century Latin American literature, as well as gender/sexuality, migration, and Hubert Fichte.


Jacqueline Mariña is Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University. Professor Mariña is author of a recently completed manuscript on Immanuel Kant’s philosophical ethics; Transformation of the Self in the Thought of Friedrich Schleiermacher (Oxford University Press 2008); and editor of the Cambridge Companion to Friedrich Schleiermacher (Cambridge University Press 2005). Professor Mariña’s research centers on ethics and philosophy of religion, with a special focus on the philosophy of Kant and his reception in Friedrich Schleiermacher and Rudolf Otto.


Robert A. Orsi is Professor of Religious Studies and History at Northwestern University and the Grace Craddock Nagle Chair of Catholic Studies. Professor Orsi is author of History and Presence (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2016), Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the People Who Study Them (Princeton University Press 2005), in addition to other prize-winning books. Professor Orsi’s research focuses on the theory and history of the study of religion, urban religion, autobiography and scholarly writing, gender/sexuality, saints, and New York.


Michael Puett is Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Anthropology and member of the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. Professor Puett is author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China (Stanford University Press 2001); co-editor of After Wisdom: Sapiential Traditions and Ancient Scholarship in Comparative Perspective (Brill 2023); and co-author of Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity (Oxford University Press 2008). Professor Puett’s research focuses on historical anthropology, anthropology of religion, ritual theory, anthropology of the state, comparative anthropology, and China.


Jason A. Springs is Professor of Religion, Ethics, and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Springs is author of Healthy Conflict in Contemporary American Society: From Enemy to Adversary (Cambridge University Press 2020) and co-author of Religious Nationalism: A Reference Handbook (ABC-Clio 2013). Professor Spring’s research centers on the integration of religious ethics with moral philosophy, political and social theories with specific attention to modern European and North American contexts, particularly religious toleration, restorative justice, democratic theories and practices for peacebuilding.


Christopher J. Wild is Peter B. Ritzma Professor in the Department of Germanic Studies, the Committee on Theater and Performance Studies, and the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Chicago. Professor Wild is author of Descartes’ Meditative Turn: Cartesian Thought as Spiritual Practice (Stanford University Press 2024) and Theater der Keuschheit - Keuschheit des Theaters: Zur Geschichte der (Anti-)Theatralität von Gryphius bis Kleist (Rombach litterae 2003), and co-editor of Cultures of Communication, Theologies of Media in Early Modern Europe and Beyond (University of Toronto Press 2017). Professor Wild’s research focuses on intersections of literature, theater history, philosophy, and religious thought, particularly in early modern and Enlightenment German literature and culture.