Staff – University of Copenhagen

Forward this page to a friend Resize Print Bookmark and Share

Home > Staff

Isak Winkel Holm

Isak Winkel Holm


Current research

My research deals with the relationship between literature and justice or, more generally, between aesthetics and politics. Hence, my research themes fall in two halves: on the one hand, Literary Theory, Cultural Theory, Aesthetics, Theory of Metaphor and Theory of Tragedy; on the other hand, Political Theory, Social Philosophy, Theory of Justice and Disaster Research. Currently, the two halves meet in two book projects.

The book Assault at the Border. The Political in Franz Kafka (to be published by Gyldendal publishers) tries to rethink the relationship between aesthetics and politics in Franz Kafka's literary works. My claim is that this relationship should be understood not only as a question of aesthetic representation but, as well, as a question of aesthetic experience; not just content but also form.

A book project with the working title In the Light of Disaster tries to explain why disasters play such a prominent literary and cultural role in a country like Denmark where disasters are close to non-existent. My claim is that Danish works of disaster fiction borrow European and American disaster imaginary and use it as a prism in order to pose a fundamental question about the constitution of the political community.

In connection with my exploration of the cultural history of disaster I am member of the steering committee of a number of cross-disciplinary research networks and centres that, in different ways, create platforms for uniting cultural studies with the History, Law, Anthropology, Theology, etc.

"COPE – Copenhagen Disaster Research Center",

"Changing Disasters. Understanding Societies through Disasters",

"Sustainable Futurities. Centre for Culture, Sustainability and Transition",

"Katastrofekulturer" (Disaster Cultures), funded by The Research Council of Norway


At the Faculty of Humanities my research is used as an example of the impact the humanities researchers have on society.
Read the case: Changing disasters: A new understanding of the interrelationship between disasters and society.

Selected publications

  1. Published

    The Calamity of the Rightless: Hannah Arendt and Franz Kafka on Monsters and Members

    Holm, I. W. Jun 2013 Franz Kafka and Philosophy. Moran, B. & Salzani, C. (eds.). Lanham/Boulder/New York/Toronto: Lexington Books, p. 159-178 20 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

  2. Published

    Earthquake in Haiti: Kleist and Modern Disaster Discourse

    Holm, I. W. 2012 In : New German Critique. 115, p. 49-66 18 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

  3. Published

    The Frailty of Everything: Cormac McCarthy's The Road and Modern Disaster Discourse

    Holm, I. W. 2012 The Cultural Life of Catastrophes and Crises. Meiner, C. & Veel, K. (eds.). Walter de Gruyter, Ch. 3, p. 233-248 (Concepts for the Study of Culture, Vol. 3).

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

  4. Published

    Cultural Poetics and the Politics of Literature

    Holm, I. W. & Tygstrup, F. 2012 Ernst Cassirer on Form and Technology: Contemporary Reading. Hoel, A. S. & Folkvord, I. (eds.). London: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 199-213

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

  5. Published

    Zombies and Citizens: The Ontopolitics of Disaster in Francis Lawrence's I Am Legend

    Holm, I. W. 1 Apr 2015 Hazardous future: disaster, representation and the assessment of risk. Gil, I. C. & Wulf, C. (eds.). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, p. 205-222

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

ID: 8142