Alice Goff is a historian of German cultural and intellectual life in the modern period. Her research and teaching focus on the history of museums, aesthetics, and the relationships between material objects and political thought in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As a post-doctoral fellow with the Michigan Society of Fellows, she holds appointments in the departments of Germanic Languages and Literatures and History.
Alice is currently at work on a book project with the working title, "The God Behind the Marble: Transcendence and the Art Object in the German Aesthetic State." It tells the story of artworks caught up in the looting, iconoclasm, and shifting boundaries of German states during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars and the consequences of their displacement for German political, religious, and intellectual practice at the beginning of the nineteenth century. By examining the development of private collections, public museums, and church treasuries, this work examines the frictions that arose between the precarious fates of artworks on the ground and the assertions of art's ideal autonomy in philosophy and criticism. Alice's second book project takes up the history of German baroque royal collections--Kunstkammer-- in the cultural politics and practices of the German Democratic Republic.
Alice received her PhD in History from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. Her work has been supported by the Council for Library and Information Resources, the DAAD, and the Mabelle McLeod Lewis Foundation.