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Impact of German Studies research

German Studies at Warwick is consistently ranked as one of the top departments in the UK, producing internationally-recognised research with demonstrable impact. Our work engages with the diversity of German language culture from 1750 to the present from a range of theoretical perspectives, always with a strong sense of how culture reflects the differing historical contexts that gave rise to it, be they social, political, intellectual or aesthetic.

Our research has enhanced the experience of contemporary theatre and film goers and the knowledge and cultural awareness of professionals in the theatre and film industries. Our research has inspired new forms of artistic expression and supported the development of artistic productions which engage the public with the themes arising from the research. The research has enhanced learning of the national curriculum for A-Level students in Law, History and Languages and Literature

Transnationalizing Faith.Re-thinking UK Cross-Community Relations through Historical German-Islamic Encounters

banner_1.jpgJames Hodkinson
Department of German Studies

The Transnationalizing Faith project is a multi-dimensional outreach project, which takes key aspects of James Hodkinson's research into Islam in German history and culture (1770-1918) and finds multiple pathways along which to communicate this material meaningfully to varying non-academic publics.

The programme of events and activities includes public lectures, accompanied by a mobile exhibition, which take place in faith forums, religious and civic centres. The Two Chairs Exchange wing of the project reaches out into schools, were it impacts and enriches the delivery of the Key Stage 4 and 5 curriculum across a number of subjects, and also underpins a sequence of community events and projects designed to promote sociability, intergration, dialogue and more nuanced mutual understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in towns and cities across the UK. The project is enhanced by a range of digital media, including a documentary film shot in Vienna, Austria.This work has been generously funded since 2015 by the Warwick Impact Fund and the Warwick Public Engagement Fund to the sum of £16K. These webpages not only chronicle the project and disseminate its materials, but also offer an insight into how the 'impactful' dimension of the project is being tracked and evaluated in both quantitative and qualitative terms.

Kleist, Education and Violence

kleist.jpgSeán Allan
Department of German Studies
How we think about violence, punishment, law and order, and justice is influenced by our education and the environment in which we live. Seán Allan has demonstrated that Enlightenment debates about the connection between education and violence, and aesthetics and ethics, can provide insights into contemporary thinking about these issues.

He has explored, in particular, the work of the 19th-century German novelist Heinrich von Kleist (1777–1811) who saw violence as integral to the modern state. Seán also explores Kleist's reception in the second half of the 20th century by German filmmakers who exploited Kleist's life and works as a means for reflecting on the violent clashes which marred the student protests of the 1960s and the government's use of violence to suppress them.

These ideas about the role of aesthetics and education in violence, justice and law and order has been used to help A-Level Law students better understand the social and cultural influences which affect judicial decision-making. It has also helped the public reflect on contemporary artistic performance in its historical context.

Béla Balázs: The Spirit of Film

balzs.jpgErica Carter
Department of German Studies
Research on 20th-century German cinema has recovered Hungarian Béla Balázs (1884–1949), one of the earliest film critics in Europe who lived and worked most of his adult life in Germany.

Read outside of his context, which was influenced by the café culture of central Europe and the Jewish community to which he belonged, Balázs's overall contribution to film theory is often over-looked. Balázs wrote at a time of accelerated technological development which led to sound and colour films, which parallels today's digital revolution changing production processes and consumption patterns.

A public presentation on Balázs by Erica Carter inspired Hungarian-born artist Zsuzsanna Ardó to create an exhibition using film stills, photographs and posters alongside text from Balázs's writings. On display to over 30,000 members of the public in cinemas throughout London, the exhibition has served to bring Balázs's work back to life.

Our impact

Enhancing cultural knowledge and understanding

Using schools events, public lectures and exhibtions we have enhanced understanding of German cultural history from the Enightenment to the Age of Empire (1770-1900) amongst different sectors of the public. This will enhance their experience of contemporary performance arts and enrich their knowledge and impact their thinking on multicultralism, East-West relations and the place of Islam European in modernity.

Inspiring new forms of artistic expression

Research by Erica Carter inspired and informed an exhibition on Hungarian film critic Bela Balázs on display at BAFTA and cinemas throughout London. James Hodkinson is running a theatre workshop, fine arts projects and a poetry competition that will stimulate cross-confessional and transnational creativity.

Enriching learning and interpreting cultural capital

Themes from German culture (1770-1900) have enhanced learning within the national curriculum for GCSE students in German, Religious Studies and History, and 'A' Level students in Law, Religious Studies, German, Sociology and Philosophy. This has alo resulted in project work that is both extra-curricular and super-curricular.

I think that through the exhibition you have managed to capture incredibly well the ideas that Balazs was trying to communicate. Using the images from Un Chien Andalou works so well in this respect.

Mark Stanton, Berghahn Books, on the Bela Balazs exhibition