Markus Messling

Markus Messling

is Vice Director of the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin. Before he was head of the Emmy Noether Research Group "Philology and Racism in the 19th Century" (funded by the German Research Foundation) at the University of Potsdam where he teaches Romance Philology.

He studied Romance and German Philology and Comparative Literature at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the University Jean Moulin – Lyon III. In 2007 he completed his doctorate in Romance Philology at the Freie Universität Berlin. His main research interests are in French and Italian Literature, the epistemology of European philology, literary theory, theories of writing and the historical anthropology of language.

In his doctoral thesis Pariser Orientlektüren. Zu Wilhelm von Humboldts Theorie der Schrift (Paderborn, München 2008) he addressed the reception of French philology and philosophy in Wilhelm von Humboldt’s theory of writing as well as the significant “omission” of the latter in Jacques Derrida’s grammatology. Central to the discussion of the anthropology of writing in this context is Humboldt’s correspondence with Jean-François Champollion, which Messling edited in his book.

Against the backdrop of reflections on the significance of writing for the discourse of cultural philosophy, his book Champollions Hieroglyphen. Philologie und Weltaneignung (Berlin 2012) analyses the ideological and material implications of Champollion’s philological archaeology und engages with the emergence of a critical consciousness within a universalistic European theory of civilization, how it appears within early colonial experiences of loss.

His research into the confluence of European textual culture, the anthropology of language and racial logic in the 19th century inscribes a specific question into the “philological turn” of textual scholarship, which has often been understood as a return to ‘pure’ erudition, by interrogating which tradition a prospective philology can refer to that can do justice to the demand for a self-reflective practice. Here, in particular, there are numerous connections to the issues adressed by Zukunftsphilologie.

Philologie et racisme. A propos de l’historicité dans les sciences des langues et des textes. In: Annales. Histoire, Sciences sociales 67/1 (janvier-mars 2012): 153-182.

Representation and power: Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat’s critical philology. In: Journal of Oriental Studies 44/1-2 (2011): 1-23.