Karin Sanders

Professor
2014-2015
Photo of Karin Sanders

Karin Sanders (Scandinavian) is a scholar of Scandinavian literature, visual arts, and theater. Her current book project, “Let’s be Human” The Lives of Things in Hans Christian Andersen’s Material Imagination, examines Andersen’s use of the material world in his fictional works. Andersen’s sensitivity to the specificity of physical objects or animals, Sanders argues, resonates far beyond his fairytales and can be seen in his many travel descriptions, novels, poems, and visual works. Andersen did not insist on a radical ontological distinction between human and animal and machine, but transferred metaphysical aspects to animal life via various technologies. Sanders’ book shows how Andersen articulated a profound vision of what it meant to be human in the nineteenth century by way of what was not and makes the claim that Andersen’s fictional works, while tied to Romantic sensibilities, both borrow elements from rational aesthetic registers that preceded Romanticism and point toward Modernity’s technologies and various emerging materialisms.