Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Schaffeld, N. A Fictionalized Representation of Scientific Counter-Discourse: Jo Lendle’s Historical Science Novel Alles Land (2011)
(2019) German Quarterly, 92 (1), pp. 35-50.

DOI: 10.1111/gequ.12093

This paper explores a fictionalized series of past events in which a process of scientific discovery clearly contradicts the dominant academic discourse and is therefore bound to meet with powerful opposition. Based on an analysis of Jo Lendle’s novel Alles Land (2011), the literary representation of the life of Alfred Wegener (1880–1930) and his theory of continental drift is studied against the backdrop of Thomas S. Kuhn’s conceptualization of the processual character of science, as well as a modified reading of Foucault’s discursive formations. The novel identifies Wegener’s scientific plight as the fatal outcome of a nexus between modalities that predefine the object of research and those that regulate the institutional right to speak. In Lendle’s context-dependent narrativization, which provides the reader with a clear epistemic advantage, these two modalities fatefully converge in order to effectively, if falsely, claim that as a young astronomer and atmospheric physicist, Wegener allegedly lacks authority to speak on geological subject matters. © 2019, American Association of Teachers of German

Author Keywords
Alfred Wegener; epistemic change; geology; historical novel; Jo Lendle; narrative

One thought on “A Fictionalized Representation of Scientific Counter-Discourse: Jo Lendle’s Historical Science Novel Alles Land (2011) (2019)

  1. #Semmelweis spoke out – he was correct but defied the Medical Discourse – and they drove him out of practicing and he died in a mental institution. all for suggesting doctors wash their hands before assisting in childbirth the way midwives did resulting in fewer deaths. The doctors were infuriated. Their hands were not dirty! Of course reading their outcry through Freud it meant “We dont masturbate so we do not have dirty hands.”


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