Philipp Kohl

Literature as Zoegraphy

Philipp Kohl

Doctoral Candidate

Address Habelschwerdter Allee 45
14195 Berlin
Email philipp.kohl@fu-berlin.de

Curriculum Vitae

Philipp Kohl has an MA in Comparative Literature (FU Berlin, 2013). In 2009/2010, he was a visiting student at Moscow State University for the Humanities (RGGU) with a DAAD graduate scholarship. He worked as a student assistant in the research group “Adoration and Admiration” (Cluster “Languages of Emotion”, FU Berlin). In 2012, he was granted a PROMOS fellowship for a research stay at New York University. Between January and July he received an Erasmus Mundus graduate scholarship in Moscow (RSUH and HSE).

Dissertation project

The dissertation project titled Literature as zoegraphy tries to reconstruct the late prose of Russian poet and visual artist Dmitrii A. Prigov as the project of a zoegraphical novel.

Four novels published between 2000 and 2007 will be analyzed: Zhivite v Moskve (Live in Moscow), Tol’ko moja Japonija (Only my Japan), Renat i drakon (Renat and the dragon) und Katja kitajskaja (Chinese Katya). These texts do not merely narrate an individual, political life (gr. bios), but life as biological, not exclusively human quality (gr. zoe), which can materialize in non-human populations and hybrid beings.

The term zoegraphy will be developed as a poetological strategy on three levels: a) as a literary anthropology informed by avant-gardist, totalitarian, and posthuman discourses; b) as a form of rhetorical evocation of life and vitality; c) as a problem of literary genres and media.

Close readings and contextualizations of Prigov’s lyrical and visual work will outline a paradigm of literary theory: focusing on one of the key figures of contemporary Russian literature and art, the project seeks to develop an anthropological model for literary concepts of genre, rhetorics and knowledge models in a post-Soviet context.




“Autobiography as zoegraphy: Dmitrii A. Prigov’s Zhivite v Moskve, Avtobiografija 3/2014, 171–183.

“Die postnat(ion)ale Situation in D.A. Prigovs Reisetext Tol’ko moja Japonija[“The postnat(ion)al situation in D.A. Prigov’s travel text Only My Japan”], in: Frieß, Nina; Lenz, Gunnar; Martin, Erik (Hg.): Grenzräume – Grenzbewegungen. Ergebnisse der Arbeitstreffen des Jungen Forums Slavistische Literaturwissenschaft in Basel 2013 und Frankfurt (Oder) und Słubice 2014, Bd. 1, Potsdam 2016, 73–85.

“D.A. Prigovs Poetik der Selbsttransposition und sein Roman Renat i Drakon” [“D.A. Prigov’s poetics of self-transposition and his novel Renat and the Dragon”], Miriam Finkelstein/Diana Hitzke (Ed.): Slavische Literaturen als Weltliteratur [Slavic Literatures as World Literature] (forthcoming).

“The on/off mode of vitality. Prigov’s performance Good-bye, USSR with Grisha Bruskin”, Slavic & East European Journal (forthcoming).

Selected conference papers:

“Phantomschmerzen. Das virtuelle Körpergedächtnis des postkonzeptualistischen Romans”, [Phantom pain. The post-conceptualist novel’s virtual body memory”], Conference: Körper, Gedächtnis, Literatur in (post-)totalitären Kulturen [Body, memory, literature in (post-)totalitarian cultures], Zentrum für Literaturforschung Berlin, October 7, 2016.

“Planetopharmaka. Vladimir Sorokins Telluria und Leif Randts Planet Magnon” [“Planetopharmaceuticals. Vladimir Sorokin’s Telluriia and Leif Randt’s Planet Magnon”], 25. Germanistentag, University of Bayreuth, September 28, 2016.

“Dva poeta-zoegrafa: Zangezi Khlebnikova i Renat i Drakon Prigova” [“Two poets as zoegraphers: Khlebnikov’s Zangezi and Prigov’s Renat and the Dragon”]. Mezhdunarodnaia konferentsiia: Khlebnikov v stepeni N. K 130-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia poeta [International conference: Khlebnikov to the Nth degree. On the occasion of the poet’s 130th birthday], Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow, November 9, 2015.

“Geometricheskii animizm v romane Prigova Katia kitaiskaia” [“Geometrical animism in Prigov’s novel The Chinese Katia”], 5-e Prigovskie chteniia [5th Prigov lectures], Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, November 6, 2015.

“Chto takoe khorosho i chto takoe plokho. How Prigov Does Things with Values”, Graduate Conference in Slavic Languages and Literatures “Dumpster Diving. On the limited resources of culture”, Princeton University, October 17, 2014.

“Is there a death before life? On pre-life in fictional scenes of animation”, workshop “Living on”, University of Chicago, June 20, 2014.

“‘Joseph Stalin's brain was gradually filling the universe’: Astronomical, Geological, and Historical Time in Vladimir Sorokin’s Blue Lard and Dmitrii Prigov’s Renat and the Dragon”, ACLA Annual Meeting 2014, New York University, March 21, 2014. 

“Biography as zoegraphy in D.A. Prigov’s novel Live in Moscow”, conference “Beyond the Subject: New Developments in Life Writing”, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography, Vienna, November 1, 2013.

“Masken des Stillstands. Über Brežnev-Bilder nach 2000” [“Masks of stagnation. On images of Brežnev after 2000”], workshop “Brežnev revisited”, Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen, February 11, 2012.