Fellow at The European Graduate School/EGS
Christian Hänggi is a literary scholar, communication philosopher, and media activist based in Zurich, Switzerland.
He was the Thomas Pynchon Fellow at the European Graduate School.
In 2003, Christian Hänggi graduated from the Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano, Switzerland, with an MSc in Communication Sciences. While working part-time as a consultant and copywriter in a branding agency, he pursued his doctoral studies at The European Graduate School. In 2007, he graduated with a dissertation on hospitality, supervised by Wolfgang Schirmacher. The dissertation picked up a loose thread that Jacques Derrida had left in his ruminations on hospitality and developed it into an ethics of dealing with media messages. Hospitality in the Age of Media Representation first came out with the newly relaunched Atropos Press in 2009. It was translated to German as Gastfreundschaft im Zeitalter der medialen Repräsentation: Eine Ökonomie des Geistes and published the same year by Vienna’s Passagen Verlag alongside many of EGS’s most revered thinkers. Starting in 2011, Christian Hänggi organized five Interventions conferences in Zurich that helped showcase some of his fellow EGS students’ work in progress.
In 2012, Christian Hänggi enrolled at the University of Basel and embarked on another doctorate, this time in literature. His barely begun work on music in Thomas Pynchon’s writings propelled Wolfgang Schirmacher to name him the Thomas Pynchon fellow at The European Graduate School. Christian Hänggi finished his dissertation Pynchon’s Sound of Music under the supervision of Philipp Schweighauser and published it in 2020 with Diaphanes. Christian Hänggi held his first seminars on philosophy and literature at the Autonome Schule Zürich squat in 2009. His fellow EGSer Julia Hölzl then brought him to Bangkok’s Ramkhamhaeng University where, for a number of years starting in 2010, he taught media and communication. Since 2012, he has taught, or continues to teach, anglophone literary and cultural studies at the University of Basel and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, English language at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and American history at the University of St. Gallen. Since 2018, he has been the coordinator of the Doctoral Program in Literary Studies at the University of Basel.
In both his MSc thesis and his EGS dissertation, Christian Hänggi grappled with the fact that advertising invades our lives. In his book on hospitality, he tried to formulate an ethics of dealing with this one-sided extraction of mental space. In 2006, he co-founded IG Plakat Raum | Gesellschaft, an organization that calls for a massive reduction of outdoor advertising in Zurich. He eventually became its president and chief ideologue and continues to fight for a public space liberated from commercial messages.
Christian Hänggi’s monograph on music in Thomas Pynchon’s work extended into a collaboration with EGS alumnus Tyler Burba for public talks and, eventually, the music album “Now everybody—” Visit Interprets Songs by Thomas Pynchon. Over the years, he also collaborated on many projects, lectures, books, and articles with another EGS alumnus, the Philadelphia-based composer and media philosopher Peter Price. Christian Hänggi sits on the advisory board of The Fidget Space run by Peter Price and Megan Bridge and has been active there as a scholar-in-residence on numerous occasions.