Erik Born is an Assistant Professor in the Department of German Studies at Cornell University. His work brings insights from contemporary (German) media theory to bear on diverse historical contexts, especially the Late Middle Ages and Early European Modernity. With a focus on relations among “old media” and “new media” (in the broad sense), Born explores diverse constellations of literature, science, and technology, from manuscripts to print, analog to digital film, and wireless telegraphy to Wi-Fi.
He is the author of articles on medieval media theory, early German science fiction, and the media history of cinema and television, as well as translations and book reviews on topics in literature, film, and media studies. His current book project, Wireless Futures: Speculative Media in German Modernity, presents an archaeology of apparent precursors to mobile devices, cellular networks, and cultures of connectivity from another transitional moment a century ago. His next large-scale research project will address premodern cultural techniques of reading, writing, and counting.
After receiving a concurrent PhD in German Studies and Medieval Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Film & Media Studies from the Department of German at the University of California, Berkeley, Born was an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Cornell’s Department of German Studies and the Society for the Humanities. During his graduate studies, he was the Fulbright/IFK_Junior Fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK), an institute for the study of culture in Vienna, Austria.
At Cornell, Born is a member of the Humanities Council, a steering committee member of the Institute for German Cultural Studies, a graduate field member in German Studies, Medieval Studies, and Performing & Media Arts, and an affiliated member of the programs in Media Studies and Visual Studies.