Robert Rößler

Robert Rößler

Robert Roessler headshot

Before coming to Harvard in 2015, Robert Rößler studied German Literature and History at the University of Vienna and was a research assistant at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography. His M.A. thesis on Richard Beer-Hofmann’s novel Der Tod Georgs brought him to Harvard’s Houghton Library, where he conducted research in the author’s archive in Fall 2014. While Robert’s academic focus has been literature around 1900 – he has published on the Young Vienna Circle and Robert Musil – his interests include questions of knowledge circulation and transformation, cultural theory, and the intersection of structuralist theory and data science.

In his dissertation, Robert is tracing the poetic structure of the unconscious by examining the ‘Verdichtung’, i.e. both the formalization and compression as well as the literarization of psychological terminology in the long 19th century. He argues that the psychological discourse of the period produces a psycho-poetic function that is not only inscribed in the psychological texts of the time but that structures the very form of the texts. In this context, he is focusing on statistical, mathematical, and physical approaches and formulas that can be found in the works of Karl Philipp Moritz, Johann Friedrich Herbart, Franz Seraphim Exner, Gustav Theodor Fechner, and other empirical psychologists. To trace the changes within psychological terminology during the long 19th century, Robert has developed a custom application called TexTiles that helps him to document and visualize shifts in word contexts over time. 

In addition to his appointment at the German Department, Robert is also affiliated with the Computer Science Department, where he has been teaching data visualization courses as well as another course on software development in the humanities in addition to summer and J-Term courses on data science. Robert has been honing his skills in data science, data visualization and knowledge design after he became a Graduate Researcher at metaLAB (2016-2018).

Besides pursuing his PhD, Robert is also a Resident Tutor at Leverett House where advises Harvard undergraduates on various topics and organizes numerous events and activities each semester. In his spare time, Robert is co-captain of the Harvard Men’s Club Volleyball Team. On carefully selected Saturday mornings (i.e. if Borussia Dortmund is playing Samstag fuffzehndreißig) Robert and Jermain Heidelberg organize Harvard’s Saturday Morning Soccer Breakfast.



Jung Wien zwischen Stadt und Land. Richard Beer-Hofmanns Weg zur „sezessionierten“ Villa am Rande der Stadt. In: Räume der Moderne, ed. by Roland Innerhofer et al. Vienna: Zsolnay 2017, (forthcoming Fall 2021)

Felix Dörmann als Novellist und Sonntagshumorist. In: Felix Dörmann (1870-1928). Special Issue. Journal for Austrian Studies Volume 54, Number 2, Summer 2021, pp. 47-72.

TexTiles: Exploring Patterns in Historical Discourse. Conference Proceedings of the 4th Workshop on Visualization for the Digital Humanities (at IEEE Vis '19), pp. 175-281.

Moderne Körperroutinen. Zur Optimierung und Technisierung von Habitus und Haltung in Robert Musils Der Riese Agoag. In: Das Abenteuer des Gewöhnlichen. Alltag in der deutschsprachigen Literatur der Moderne, ed. By Thorsten Carstensen and Mattias Pirholt, Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag 2018, pp. 136-152 (=Philologische Studien und Quellen 267)

Vom Dandytum zum Judentum. Biographische und werkästhetische Entwicklungen bei Richard Beer-Hofmann. In: Tradition in der Wiener Moderne, ed. by Wilhelm Hemecker et al. De Gruyter 2017, S. 289-309.

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