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Adrian Daub

Barbara D. Finberg Director, Clayman Institute for Gender Research

Adrian Daub is the Barbara D. Finberg Director of the Clayman Institute, a position he began in 2019. He is the J. E. Wallace Sterling Professor of the Humanities and a professor of comparative literature and German studies in the School of Humanities and Sciences. Daub also has served as director of the Andrew W. Mellon Program for Postdoctoral Studies in the Humanities, director of undergraduate studies for the Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages, director of German studies, and director of the Program in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Daub is the 11th director and the first man to lead the Clayman Institute for Gender Research.

He writes about politics, literature, culture, and universities for German and Swiss newspapers and for Anglo-American outlets. Together with Laura Goode, he hosts the Clayman Institute’s podcast, The Feminist Present, which features interviews with a range of feminist voices. For the podcast In Bed With the Right, Moira Donegan and Daub welcome scholars and critics to analyze right wing ideas about gender, sex and sexuality – and to plumb the ways in which these ideas persist in and shape our present moment. His recent book, What the Ballad Knows: The Ballad Genre, Memory Culture, and German Nationalism, provides a thorough history of the ballad at the intersection of literary, musical, and visual arts, showing how the German ballad subverted and complicated the national project during the 19th century. A book in German, Cancel Culture Transfer: How a Moral Panic is Gripping the World, was published in November 2022. The Dynastic Imagination: Family and Modernity in Nineteenth-Century Germany offers an unexpected account of modern German intellectual history through frameworks of family and kinship. In 2020, he published What Tech Calls Thinking, an examination of the intellectual underpinnings of Silicon Valley and the tech industry. Together with Charles Kronengold he wrote The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism.

Daub’s research focuses on the intersection of literature, music and philosophy, particularly in the 19th century. His book Uncivil Unions - The Metaphysics of Marriage in German Idealism and Romanticism explores German philosophical theories of marriage from Kant to Nietzsche. His book Tristan's Shadow - Sexuality and the Total Work of Art deals with eroticism in German opera after Wagner. Four-Handed Monsters ties the practice of four-hand piano playing to ideologies about gender, labor, and the family in nineteenth-century Europe. In addition, he has published articles on opera, film, and poetry, as well as literature and scandal. 

Daub began on the Stanford faculty in 2008, after earning a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. He also earned a master’s there in 2004, and a bachelor’s from Swarthmore College in 2003. For more detail about his work and publications, visit