Ian Fleishman

Assistant Professor of Cinema & Media Studies and Germanic Languages & Literatures


Williams 749


Ian Fleishman is an Associate Professor of German and the newest member of the standing faculty of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures. In May 2013 he completed his doctorate in French and German Literature at Harvard University, having previously studied at the Freie Universität in Berlin, the Sorbonne Nouvelle and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and at Middlebury College in Vermont. He has published or has work forthcoming in Comparative Literature StudiesGerman Quarterly, French Studies, The Germanic ReviewEssays in Romanticism, Mosaic, The Journal of Austrian Studies and elsewhere on subjects ranging from the Baroque to contemporary cinema.

His work focuses largely on sex and violence in order to trace the evolution of narrative form and its underlying epistemological shift from modernism to the postmodern. His first book, An Aesthetics of Injury: The Narrative Wound from Baudelaire to Tarantino (Northwestern 2018) was the winner of the Northeast Modern Language Association Book Award. Examining representations of the open wound, his monograph exposes injury to be an essential aesthetic prinicple of twentieth-century narrative in the works of ten exemplary authors and filmmakers: Charles Baudelaire, Franz Kafka, Georges Bataille, Jean Genet, Hélène Cixous, Ingeborg Bachmann, Elfriede Jelinek, Werner Schroeter, Michael Haneke and Quentin Tarantino.

Ian's next book project seeks to investigate formal experimentalism as an expression of sexuality in order to map queer strategies of storytelling in, among others, André Gide, Jean Genet, Werner Schroeter, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, François Ozon, Christophe Honoré and Xavier Dolan. In other work he seeks to modernize two towering figures of the German-language literary canon, Heinrich von Kleist and Franz Kafka, by examining their influence on the works of Cormac McCarthy and J.M. Coetzee. 

Since coming to Penn, Ian has primarily taught classes on film, philosophy and culture. In 2017-2018 he represented Penn as Visiting Professor to the Berlin Consortium for German Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, where he taught courses on queer German cinema and representations of Berlin in German-language film.