Skip to main content

Workshop 2013-14


Term 3

Collaborative International PhD and Postdoc Workshop: University of warwick and University of Konstanz, 14 May 2014

Academic staff and PhD students of the Department of German Studies were present at the workshop for PhD students and postdoctoral researcher, held ahead of the conference The Longing for Time: Ästhetische Eigenzeit in Contemporary Film, Literature and Art at the University of Konstanz, 15-17 May.

Konstanz group photo

7 May 2014, 4pm, Humanities Building, Room H202

Katharina Forster (PhD student, Department of German Studies, University of Warwick)

The idea of ‘human emergence’ (Mikhail Bakhtin) constitutes a highly influential structural concept within the history of the novel and is emphatically expressed in the bildungsroman in the hero(ine)’s psychological growth and social integration. Dedicated to the intercultural bildungsroman, my project explores contemporary works of migrant and postcolonial literature which highlight the quest for self-discovery in times of mass migration and (post)colonialism, and present human development not only in temporal terms as personal and social transformations within societies but also spatially as intercultural processes.

Aspects of my research are the hero(ine)’s personal and sociocultural development, the genre’s original prerogative of educating the reader and the role of genre traditions. This last aspect (the focus of my presentation) will be explored on the basis of Alev Tekinay’s novel Der weinende Granatapfel, a highly allusive text which overtly engages with and evokes the bildungsroman of the Romantic period.

Hanna E. Schumacher (PhD student, Department of German Studies, University of Warwick)

„Der Mensch, das große Ungedachte“ – Configurations of (Post)Humanity in contemporary German literature

The presentation will focus on theoretical problems of my research, especially on the theory of posthumanism and how (or more precisely if) this theory is applicable on certain texts dealing with posthumanism.

Frederik Frank Sterkenburgh (PhD student, Department of German Studies, University of Warwick)

Upon being proclaimed German emperor in 1871 William I faced the task of staging himself as sovereign of a country unified in three controversial wars and characterized by strong regional political identities, confessional loyalties and political division. By the time of his death in 1888, this staging was not without its success, as was demonstrated by the public’s interest in his funeral and the printed media unanimously hailing him as German emperor. How did this transformation come about? In my research I will use cultural approaches to political history, which underlines the interaction between political practices and Bedeutungsstrukturen, and draw on previously little used archival material to answer this question on the ‘monarchical interpretation of the nation’ (Jakob Vogel). Consequently, my current research project can provide new insights on the transformation of the role of the Hohenzollern monarchy and German national integration after 1871, as well as the political culture of the early German empire.

Term 2

15 January 2014, 4pm, Humanities Building, Room H202

Professor Jonathan Long (University of Durham)
‘The Photographic Book in the Weimar Republic: Response and Intervention’

Jonathan Long is Professor of German at Durham University. He has worked extensively on twentieth-century German and Austrian literature, publishing on Thomas Bernhard, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, Monika Maron, Gerhard Fritsch, Hans Lebert, Dieter Kühn, and W.G. Sebald. His current research focuses on the photographic book in the Weimar Republic. The profound social and political upheavals of Weimar are well-documented, as is the response to these upheavals in the cultural sphere. The photographic book, made possible in part by technical improvements in printing and image reproduction, was a significant cultural form by means of which Weimar photographers, artists, writers, and editors sought to address the problems facing Weimar society. While many producers of photographic books are canonical figures in Weimar cultural history (Moholy-Nagy, Kurt Tucholksy, Ernst Jünger, Albert Renger-Patzsch, Erich Mendelssohn, and August Sander, to name just a few), the genre has itself received little scholarly attention, but provides uniquely illuminating insights into the culture and politics of inter-war Germany.

19 February 2014,4pm, Humanities Building, Room H202

Dr Anna Hajkova (University of Warwick, Department of History)
Speculations about German Jews: People from Germany in Theresienstadt Ghetto

Dr Hajkova’s is Assistant Professor of Modern European Continental History at Warwick. Her dissertation "The Prisoner Society in Terezín Ghetto, 1941-1945" focused on the everyday history of the Holocaust, using the Terezín transit ghetto as a springboard to examine larger issues of human behavior under extreme stress.

She is interested in how people in 20th century Central and Eastern Europe arranged their lives, both during the state of exception and after, transitioning to a new kind of everyday life. She also addresses questions of how groups emerge and interact and what roles gender, ethnicity, and culture played in these processes.

5 March 2014, 4pm, Humanities Building, Room H202

Mario Slugan (PhD student, Department of German Studies and Film Studies, University of Warwick)
Montage in contemporary reception of 'Russian films' and Alfred Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz

Maria Roca Lizarazu (PhD student, Department of German Studies, University of Warwick)
Beyond Postmemory: The Politics of Trauma

Term 1


9 October 2013, 4pm, University of Warwick, Humanities Building, Room H202

Dr Katharina Karcher (MHRA Research Fellow, University of Warwick)
Smashing patriarchy with bombs and poems? Feminist Militancy in the Federal Republic of Germany

This presentation explores notions of feminist militancy in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Although it has played a vital role in protest movements and armed struggles since the 1970s, feminist militancy has been neglected in feminist historiography and research on political violence. Drawing on archival sources and interviews with former members of the militant feminist group ‘Red Zora’ [Die Rote Zora], this talk gives a brief overview of militant feminist activism in the FRG between 1975 and 1995. First I discuss some of the challenges and problems that I faced when I started collecting data on this subject for my PhD and how I dealt with them. Then, I offer some of my findings. Based on a number of case studies including a bombing at the Federal Court of Justice in 1975, a series of attacks against sex shops in 1978, and militant protest against a German clothing chain in 1986 and 1987, I show what feminist ‘counter-violence’ meant to the Red Zora in theory and practice. Finally, I want to discuss some of the questions that I look at in my current research project: What distinguishes feminist militancy from other forms of militancy? And, to what extent can the activities of the Red Zora be compared to militant feminist protest in other geo-political contexts (e.g. suffragette militancy in the UK)?

13 November 2013, 4pm, University of Warwick, Humanities Building, Room H202

Dr Mary Cosgrove (University of Edinburgh)
The Temporality of Boredom in the Age of Acceleration

Mary Cosgrove is Reader in German at the University of Edinburgh. She has published widely on aspects of Holocaust memory and German memory contests. Her monograph Born under Auschwitz: Melancholy Traditions in Postwar German Literature will appear with Camden House in 2014. Her current research interests focus broadly on gendered representations of boredom, laziness, idleness and sloth in German literature and culture since the Enlightenment.

4 December 2013, 4pm, University of Warwick, Humanities Building, Room H202

Professor Sarah Colvin (University of Warwick)
Prison/Writing

Sarah Colvin is Professor of German at Warwick. Before that she was Eudo C. Mason Chair of German at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the DAAD Institute for German Studies at Birmingham. Her research has focused on (mostly) textual representations of self and other in opera, drama, and in writing by German terrorists. Her current research is on prisoner writing, arts in prisons, and the relationship between the arts (primarily literature) and society.