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Kosuke Endo

E-Mail: kosuke[at] schriftbildlichkeit.de


Ph.D Project

“Semiotization the Handwriting. Graphology from 1875 till 1968



 In my project graphology is not only understood in the physiognomic tradition. I particularly emphasize that it reflects on the graphic dimension of handwriting. The goal of my project is to understand graphology as ‘visual knowledge’ of handwriting.

Handwriting has an individual character in two senses: Traditionally it refers to an individual who is writing. However, the act of handwriting appears as an iterable figure, which means – at a micrological level – that the act of handwriting is unique, although writing is an act of repetition. This specific structure of handwriting has been taken into account by graphology through creating an interpretative framework in which the graphic surface of handwriting is divided in small parts. These parts are injected with the meaning of different disciplines (for example, psychology, criminology, and characterology). So handwriting becomes something representative, is transformed into a semiotic object.

To understand this process of semiotization, three questions will be asked. (1) How could it happen that the small parts of handwriting could become objects for analysis within the scope of graphology in the second half of the 19th century? (2) How were the ways in which graphology injected meaning into these parts and what measures were needed to turn these parts into objects for interpretation? (3) How did the diversification of graphological theories lead to a pluralizing of meaning?

These questions are to be asked in the context of the history of graphology which can be divided into three parts. The first part is the second half of the 19th century, during this time graphology was created. The second part covers the first ten years of the 20th century, during this time the theories and institutes of graphology were converged. The third part started with the Weimar Republic in Germany, during that time period, graphology and its theories and methods diverged.



Curriculum Vitae

Since 4/2012

Doctoral Fellow at the DFG Research Training Group “’Notational Iconicity’: On the materiality, perceptibility and operativity of writing” at the Freie Universität Berlin


Assistant Professor at Gakushuin University Tokyo, Faculty of Letters, Department of German Studies


Freelance Translator


Visiting Student at Freien Universität Berlin, Institut für Philosophie, as a DAAD fellow


Doctoral Student of German Literature at the Gakushuin University Tokyo, Graduate School of Humanities


Part-time Teacher of German as foreign language at Keio Shiki Senior High School, Saitama


Master’s Student of German Literature at Gakushuin University Tokyo, Graduate School of Humanities


Visiting Student at the Gerhard-Mercator-Universität Duisburg


Undergraduate Student of German Studies at the Dokkyo University, Saitama

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft