William Ohm

Ph.D. Candidate


Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in German Studies, with High Distinction, University of Toronto, May 2010

Research topic

The motive that drives my research is a fascination with the beauty and power of thought and its channel, language. In pursuit of this interest, I found my way to the 19th century German writer Heinrich Heine and his treatise "On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany."

My dissertation will argue that the "History" contains a pattern of ideas about literary style that link Heine's sensualist world-view and revolutionary political programme to his own manner of writing; a constellation centred upon the thought that an idea, if it is to shape society, must be given physical body, and that the body of thought is a sensualist style, a language that gives flesh to thought. This perspective illuminates Heine's own style both within and beyond the History and deepens our understanding of the nature of the "new literature" developed by Heine and other politically and socially engaged writers of the 1830's and 40's; perhaps it can also provide theoretical and practical inspiration for those writers of the present age who seek to diffuse complex ideas among the general public.


  • “Charlotte Schillers Briefwechsel mit Goethe.” Überlieferung und Geschlecht: Probleme der Briefedition. Freie Universität, Berlin, 2015.

Teaching and Research Positions

  • Junior Researcher, Women’s Epistolary Culture in the Age of Goethe, June – July 2015
  • Course Instructor, University of Toronto, 2013-16
  • Research Assistant to Professor John Noyes, 2013-15
  • Research Assistant to Professor Christine Lehleiter, June – August 2009
  • Research Assistant to Professor Angelica Fenner, June – August 2009

Courses taught

  • Introduction to German I (2 sections, enrolment 30)
  • Introduction to German II (1 section, enrolment 18)

Honours and Awards

  • Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral, 2015-2018
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (full-year award), 2014
  • Katie Keeler Fellowship, University of Toronto, 2013
  • Dean's List scholar, University of Toronto, 2010
  • The J A Surerus Memorial Scholarship, Victoria College, 2010
  • The Elizabeth Ann Highet Scholarship, Victoria College, 2010
  • The Jackman Humanities Institute Undergraduate Fellowship (full-year award), University of Toronto, 2010
  • The Elizabeth Ann Highet Scholarship, Victoria College, 2009
  • The Dr. Goldwin S. French Scholarship, Victoria College, 2008
  • “Vic One” Program (“Pearson” Stream), Victoria College, 2007

Institutional Services

  • Member, UofT Department of German Graduate Education Working Group, 2015-2016
  • Social secretary, German-Yiddish Graduate Students’ Association (GYGSA), 2015-2016
  • Departmental Steward, CUPE3902 Unit 1, 2014-2015
  • Course Union Representative, University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union, 2013