Julian Baller
ifk Junior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2017 bis 30. June 2018

My death in a game. Drafting a Ludo-Thanatology


This study inquires into the historical, social and epistemological premises and constellations that prompt humans to risk their lives in games. The discourse of thanatology and play has become immensely broad and varied within the fields of Cultural History and Cultural Theory, yet the interactions between forms and institutions of play, and theories, techniques and practices of dying have hardly been elaborated on. The proposed project works towards closing this gap by providing a starting point for the nuanced examination of interferences between death and play, between the poles of emancipatory technique of the self and cutthroat training instrument – not least in order to pave the way for an update of Joan Huizinga’s culturecritical approaches.   



From 2010-2016, Julian Baller studied Cultural History and Theory, as well as Social Sciences at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He served as a student associate in Cultural Theory and History and Theory of Aesthetics, and as a student assistant in Cultural History between 2014 and 2016. In 2014, he co-organized the interdisciplinary lecture series Subversion and Political Difference (Subversion und politische Differenz), and he taught at the Department of Cultural History and Theory at the HU of Berlin, where he has been pursuing his doctorate since October 2016, with a project about the history and aesthetics of suicidal games.


„Metabolischer Spuk. Die oralsadistische Dämonenwelt Zentralaustraliens in der Ethnopsychoanalyse“, in: Iris Därmann und Stephan Zandt (Hg.), Andere Ökologien. Transformationen von Mensch und Tier, Paderborn 2017

25 June 2018
  • Lecture
Julian Baller


Spiel und Tod erweisen sich als Schlüsselkategorien im modernen Nachdenken über Subjekte und ihr reflexives Selbstverhältnis. Doch warum wird gerade Russisch Roulette zu einer ludischen Praxis, dessen symbolische Bedeutung und popkulturelle Prominenz weit über die überschaubare Zahl realer Begebenheiten hinausreicht