Joseph Albernaz

Joseph Albernaz

Research Interests


B.A. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (2012); Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley (2018).

Joseph Albernaz specializes in the literature, especially poetry, of the Romantic period, with a particular interest in the legacies of Romanticism across a number of theoretical and critical domains. His current book project, entitled All Things Common: Romanticism and the Measure of Community, traces new formations of community, ecology, and the everyday in Romantic literature and its later inheritors. All Things Common argues that amidst the social, political, and environmental upheaval of the decades around 1800, Romantic writers detect and amplify frequencies of “groundless community”—that is, forms of everyday sharing, minor ecologies, and communal life unauthorized by any transcendent guarantee or shared essence. The book outlines a new way of understanding Romanticism’s ambivalent position in relation to a consolidating modernity, while showing how Romantic literature generates a mode of feeling and thinking in common that also sets the terms for many important twentieth-century and contemporary theoretical conversations around community. An essay on Wordsworth from this project has appeared in New Literary History.

The pursuit of Romanticism’s conceptual fecundity has also led into other explorations of the period’s afterlives, especially in radical history: related ongoing research traces the genealogies of the word “communism” and the tactic of the general strike back to this unruly epoch.

He is also beginning work on a second book project that examines the political theology of theodicy in Romanticism and contemporary theory, especially in relation to questions of freedom and slavery. Additional ongoing projects include a theoretical study of the concept of rhythm, a suite of essays on the philosopher Hans Blumenberg, and translations.

Other pieces out or forthcoming include work on Keats and Hegel, Blanchot, Donna Haraway, John Clare, Hölderlin and Günderrode, photography, Mary Shelley’s pandemic novel The Last Man, and contemporary poetry. Certain publications are available to read here:

Recent Publications:

“Without Task: Abdication, Race, and Relation in Mary Shelley’s The Last Man.” Romantic Circles Praxis: Political Ecology. ed. Kir Kuiken. 2021 (forthcoming)

“The Commons: Ruin and Romance.” Social Research 88.1 (Spring 2021): 115-150.

“Earth Unbounded: Division and Inseparability in Friedrich Hölderlin and Karoline von Günderrode.” in Nothing Absolute: German Idealism and the Question of Political Theology. Eds. Kirill Chepurin and Alex Dubilet. New York: Fordham University Press, 2021. 124-143.

“Fragmentary Domesticity: Wordsworth’s Image of the Common.” New Literary History 51.3 (2020): 523–547.

(with Kirill Chepurin) “The Sovereignty of the World: Towards a Political Theology of Modernity (after Blumenberg).” in Interrogating Modernity: Debates with Hans Blumenberg. eds. Agata Bielek-Robson and Daniel Whistler. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020. 83-107. 


Selected Publications