Dr. Joseph D. O'Neil

Dr. Joseph D. O'Neil


2009 - Ph.D. - Indiana University, Bloomington, Comparative Literature and Modern German Literature and Culture

Dissertation: The Impossible Birth of the Political: Language and Crisis in Gracián, Goethe, and Kleist.
Director: William Rasch
Readers: Fritz Breithaupt, Gilbert Chaitin, Michel Chaouli, Oscar Kenshur

2000 - M.A. - Indiana University, Bloomington, Comparative Literature

1996 - B.A. - University of Louisville, magna cum laude, French, Spanish, and German

Teaching and Research Interests

  • Literature, aesthetics, ethics, and politics circa 1800
  • Recent social, political, and cultural theory, especially theories of the political
  • History, theory, and representations of war

Courses Taught at Miami

  • GER 102: Beginning German
  • GER 252: The German-Jewish Experiences
  • GER 301: German Language Through the Media
  • GER 311: Passionate Friendships in German Literature
  • GER 312: Coming of Age in German Life and Thought

Selected Publications

  • Figures of Natality: Reading the Political in the Age of Goethe. New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2017. 306 pp.


  • Participant in seminar: Participant in seminar: “The Duty of Art: Ethics and Empathy in Aesthetic Theory.” German Studies Association, Portland, OR, 2019.
  • Commentator: Realism in the Age of Goethe and Its Legacy: Realism (GSA 2019)
  • “Goethe with Sade? Principles of Republican Narratology.”
    Modern Languages Association, Chicago, January, 2019.
  • Participant in seminar: “Race Theory in Classical German Thought.”
    German Studies Association, Pittsburgh, September, 2018.

Memberships in Professional Organizations

  • German Studies Association
  • Goethe Society of North America
  • Lessing Society 


  • English (native)
  • French (oral and written proficiency)
  • German (near-native)
  • Latin (some reading proficiency)
  • Scandinavian (for research)
  • Spanish (near-native)