Professor Dr Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht has been appointed permanent Visiting Professor of Literary Studies at Zeppelin University. The internationally renowned literary scholar, cultural theorist, and essayist will come from Stanford University in California to Lake Constance on a regular basis.
"Over the last two years, ZU has become my favorite academic institution in Germany, and there are two reasons for this", is how Gumbrecht explains his reasons to accept the position at ZU. "First, ZU is one of the very few private universities that have managed to establish a solid financial basis and a surprising international reputation by using the flexibility, the independence, and the many challenges of its private status in an impressive way. Secondly, and in clear contrast to the state university system in Germany, ZU seems to me to be deeply influenced by Humboldt, because it usually develops its furthest-reaching and most ambitious initiatives out of the successful and indeed happy exchange between students and professors in the seminar rooms every day. Or, to quote Humboldt directly, at this university `inspirieren die verschiedenen Schattierungen der verschiedenen intellektuellen Begeisterung verschiedener Generationen sich permanent gegenseitig.´"
Born in Würzburg, Gumbrecht studied Romance Studies, German Studies, philosophy and sociology in Munich, Regensburg, Salamanca, Pavia, and Konstanz. In 1971 he was awarded his doctorate at the Universität Konstanz, where he also submitted his habilitation treatise in General and Romance Literary Studies in 1974. In 1975 Gumbrecht accepted a position as professor at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, in 1983 at the Gesamthochschule Siegen. Since 1989 he has held different chairs in General and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. Currently, he is holding the Albert-Guérard Chair.
"This long-term visiting professorship of Sepp Gumprecht is a real gift for Zeppelin University and its students: Future decision-makers in and bridging business, culture, and politics have to learn - and not only in times of crisis - to read, to observe keenly, to think riskily, and to show their presence in a noticeable way. Like hardly anybody else around the world, literary scholar Sepp Gumprecht sensitizes these skills", is how ZU-Professor Dr Stephan A. Jansen expresses his joy.
Gumbrecht is seen as an important seismograph and trend-setter in the areas of literary, cultural, and media theories whose development he has increasingly contributed to. Gumbrecht´s work at times has been influenced by Niklas Luhmann´s system theory. In Gumbrecht´s more recent work, a change away from modern theoretical models and to the history of philosophy and to metaphysical questions can be observed.
A broader audience has known him since the end of the 1980s for his numerous contributions in the feature page, mainly of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, as well as for his essays. While he is an important mediator of European, especially German, philosophy and humanities in the USA and Latin America, he explains and defends the points of view of his American adopted country in Europe, especially in Germany.
Numerous visiting professorships have led Gumbrecht to universities in North America, Europe, Latin America, Japan, South Africa, as well as to the Collège de France (Paris). He is permanent Visiting Professor at the Université de Montreal and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris). He has been awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Montevideo (1999), Montreal (2004), Siegen (2007), St. Petersburg (2007), Greifswald (2008), and Marburg (2009).