Ashley E. Clark is a PhD candidate in History of Science at the University of Chicago. She earned a BA with high distinction in German Literature and Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley (2008) and an MA in History from the University of Chicago (2012). She has been a Visiting Researcher at the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Forschungstelle in Berlin (summer 2011) and participated in the Ischia Summer School on the History of Life Sciences in Italy (summer 2012). Ashley has worked as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Chicago and Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. In her spare time, she post-processes Polynomial Texture Mapping images for the Persepolis Fortification Archive Project at the University of Chicago Oriental Institute.
Ashley’s research, for her dissertation, is on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s career as Director of the Weimar Court Theater from 1791–1817. During the 1790s, Goethe’s opinion of the potential for stage performance, particularly German stage performance, pivoted dramatically from something mechanical and lifeless to something of epistemic value. She hypothesizes that this pivot hinged on the systematic method of experimentation that could allow a glimpse of the reine Phänomen. By the turn of the century, the precepts undergirding that experimental method also gave rise to a new directorial method and even unique considerations of the nature of music.