Thomas Bartscherer works on the intersection of literature and philosophy in the ancient Greek and modern German traditions, focusing on tragic drama, aesthetics, and performance, and writes on technology, new media, contemporary art, and the philosophy of education. He is co-editor of Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts with Roderick Coover and Erotikon: Essays on Eros Ancient and Modern with Shadi Bartsch, both published by the University of Chicago Press. He is a research associate on the Équipe Nietzsche at the Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes (Paris) and is an advisor for the nietzschesource.org project.
He has held research fellowships at the École Normale Supérieure, the University of Heidelberg, and the LMU in Munich and has received fellowships from the DAAD, and the Woodrow Wilson, Nef, and Earhart foundations. He serves on the editorial board of The Point magazine and on the Board of Directors of the new music organization Contemporaneous. Bartscherer teaches in Literature, Philosophy, Classics, and Experimental Humanities at Bard College. From 2010-2015 he was director of Bard’s Language and Thinking program. Bartscherer holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA and PhD from the University of Chicago.
What do you do best?
Wonder. And provoke wonder.
What makes you the best?
I’m more interested in what I don’t know than what I do know. Aren’t you? I ask a lot of questions. I’ve spent much time reading good books with more and less thoughtful people. I’ve had good teachers, and learned from teaching others. I have a good eye and ear for fine lines. (I suspect others are better.)
What are your aspirations?
Plato writes in his Symposium that love is “giving birth in beauty.” I’m not sure I know what that means, but it sounds like what I strive to do in my work, and to help others to do.
I like to think it’s still coming.
Most Challenging Moment?
A student of Wittgenstein quotes him as once having said, “it is important in philosophy to know when to stop.” In philosophy, and not only there, I find this the most challenging moment.
Let’s just say they know who they are.
Generally speaking, the closer to the ocean, the better.
A long table made of spalted flame maple, built by the carpenter and educator Jed Tucker. I like it best when it’s surrounded by family and friends.