New Weimar Studies Network

March 31, 2011

The Weimar Studies Network (WSN) is an international platform for researchers and academics working on the history of the Weimar Republic. It offers information on recent publications, up-coming events and on-going research projects on the politics, culture and society of the interwar years in Germany. We would like to develop this forum into a permanent platform for scholars working on any aspect of the Weimar Republic. Besides regular postings on new research, publications and conferences, it offers a place for the exchange of ideas, to present current research interests and to draw on the knowledge of colleagues from all over the world. We welcome all contributions, like call for papers, new publications or conferences, as well as specific questions or problems you might have encountered in your research and that you would like to present to the network.The Weimar Studies Network website can be found at you would like to stay updated on the WSN, please subscribe to our Facebook page ( and our Twitter feed (

Good News for Modern Languages at Swansea

March 29, 2011

Swansea’s University Council will not let the University management go ahead with plans to cut Modern Languages staffing by 50%. For further details, see Swansea’s Modern Languages blog.

Swansea University Council to Decide on Future of Modern Languages

March 22, 2011

The Executive at Swansea University have decided to proceed with the proposed cuts to Modern Languages and are taking the proposals to the University Council next Monday (28/3), leaving colleagues little time to respond.

Please support colleagues at Swansea by writing to express concern about the proposals to Sir Roger Jones, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council, c/o Dr. Martin Lewis, secretary to Council, at .
– by signing the petition:

Any other support, such as letters to the press, would also be welcome.

Here is a briefing paper from Modern Languages at Swansea which outlines the situation from their perspective. Further info can also be found on their blog:

English Language Assistantships under Threat

November 8, 2010

The British Council’s English Language Assistantship scheme, which has been running for over 100 years, has been suspended for the current year because of the government’s funding cuts. Whether the scheme will recruit next year is uncertain, but concerned AGS members and followers of this blog are urged to write to Minister Michael Gove at the Department for Education to protest:

The Independent has also covered the story:

The Economic Turn: Politics and the Contemporary Novel in Britain and Germany

November 4, 2010

The Swansea Centre for Research into Contemporary German Culture in conjunction with the Department of English invites all interested parties to the following seminars, taking place from next week. They are at Swansea University in Keir Hardie 250 at 4pm.

Each paper in this series examines one novel published over the last decade which engages with the politics of the Blair/Brown years in Britain (1997-2010) or the SPD coalitions in Germany (1998-2009).

10 November

Julian Preece

‘Diagnosing the Problem in Ulrich Peltzer’s Teil der Lösung’ (2007).

1 December

Joanne Leal, (Birkbeck, University of London)

‘The personal is (not) political: locating the contemporary subject in Katharina Hacker’s Die Habenichtse‘   

David Clarke (University of Bath)

Ghosts in the Machine: Kathrin Röggla wir schlafen nicht

 16 February

Daniel Lea (Oxford Brookes)

The Missing and the Lost: The Empty Space of Politics in Gordon Burn’s Born Yesterday

2 March

Martyn Colebrook (Hull)

‘The fact that there are conspiracy theories does not mean that conspiratorial politics do not also exist’: Eoin McNamee, 12:23 – Paris, 31st August 1997 and the politicization of the contemporary British Novel.   

16 March

Sarah Colvin (Institute of German Studies, Birmingham)

The mythos of winter? The post-capitalist landscape and post-terrorist nonviolence in Lukas Hammerstein’s Wo wirst du sein (2010).

(After Easter)

Katy Shaw (Brighton), Violence as Politics, Politics as Violence in David Peace’s GB84

Shakespeare is German

September 20, 2010

A series of talks, readings, film screenings and discussions
7 October 2010 to 18 November 2010
Goethe-Institut London

“So much has already been said about Shakespeare it might seem there is nothing left to say. But the mind’s chief characteristic is that it will always excite activity in other minds,” wrote Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in his 1815 essay No end to Shakespeare. Right up until the present day countless Shakepearean plays have been produced on German stages, have been filmed by German directors or analysed by German academics. Shakespeare is German – a multi-disciplinary festival organised by the Goethe-Institut London together with the Globe Theatre and the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies of Queen Mary, University of London – reviews this multifaceted history of the reception of Shakespeare in Germany. 

The season opens on 7 October 2010 with a book launch at the Globe Theatre: for the first time ever both of Goethe’s essays on Shakespeare are united in a bilingual edition entitled Goethe on Shakespeare. On 14 October to commemorate the day Goethe delivered his In Celebration of Shakespeare lecture, actor Sebastian Koch (The Lives of Others, The Black Book, Effie Briest,) reads extracts from texts by Shakespeare, Goethe, Schlegel and Tieck, together with Germanist Martin Swales and accompanied by extracts from German films on Shakespeare. The festival continues with discussions and lectures: actor and director Norbert Kentrup proposes the bold thesis that “Shakespeare is much better in German”, and Rüdiger Görner, literary scholar and founding director of the Centre for Anglo-German Cultural Relations, who wrote the afterword to Goethe on Shakespeare, reflects on Germany’s passion for Shakespeare from the 18th century to the present day.

The Goethe-Institut addresses the widely-different ways that Shakespeare is produced on German and English stages: on 13 November Thomas Ostermeier, artistic director of the Berlin-based Schaubühne and David Lan, artistic director of the Young Vic, talk about Thomas Ostermeier’s radical production of “Hamlet”. On 18 November Herbert Fritsch presents his multi-media art project hamlet_X, for which the theatre-maker carved the Hamlet text into 111 individual sections and then, using famous German actors, turned them into short films. The 1923 film Der Kaufmann von Venedig (The Jew of Mestri) by Peter Paul Felner starring Werner Krauss (Dr. Caligari) and Max Schreck (Murnau’s Nosferatu), and Helmut Käutner’s post-war Der Rest ist Schweigen (The Rest is Silence), filmed in 1959, are good examples of how German directors adapt Shakespeare’s plays and give them a contemporary interpretation.

The programme is rounded off with two further lectures: Ray Ockenden, lecturer at Oxford University talks about how Shakespeare was viewed by Stefan George and his friends (George-Kreis), Manfred Pfister, Emeritus Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin, talks about Shakespeare’s sonnets.


AGS Chair Frank Finlay enourages AGS members to protest over threatened Swansea cuts

September 4, 2010

AGS President Professor Frank Finlay has encouraged AGS members to write in protest at the proposed redundancies at Swansea University. The University’s proposal, which amount to a halving of the current academic staff on Modern Languages programmes will ‘seriously endanger modern language provision at Swansea’, writes, Brigid Haines, Head of Modern Languages at Swansea:

‘Swansea Modern Languages Department is the leading third-level language provider in Wales and has an outstanding reputation for undergraduate teaching, postgraduate teaching, and research. In RAE 2008, Modern Languages at Swansea was ranked first in Wales in terms of research power. In the latest National Student Survey French, German and Hispanic Studies at Swansea each scored over 90% for overall student satisfaction, earning the accolade ‘Top Performing Subjects’ in Swansea University publicity. Modern Languages staff contribute extensively to the highly successful MA in Translation with Language Technology. The Department is particularly proud of its Welsh-medium provision, which is supported by the Welsh Assembly, and its contribution to the University’s internationalisation agenda.
Over the course of the last year we have lost staff who taught Russian, Portuguese and Catalan, for financial reasons; we have also just lost our Austrian language tutor. The current proposals will quite simply devastate the Department, leaving it unable to fulfil its core functions adequately. They will severely damage the provision of language degrees in Wales . We are particularly concerned that Italian degrees may yet be withdrawn as a result of the lack of lecturing staff. Needless to say, we reject the concept of compulsory redundancies absolutely.’

To protest, please write to

Professor Richard Davies
Swansea University
Singleton Park

Raymond Ciborowski
Registrar and Head of Administration
Swansea University
Singleton Park
NB Please send a copy of any e-mail to

Times Higher reports Swansea cuts

September 4, 2010

The Time Higher also has a report on the threatened Swansea cuts:

Modern Languages in Swansea threatened with cuts

September 3, 2010

Swansea University has announced plans to halve the number of academics teaching Modern Languages, including German. You can see a full report at

The Guardian on the Threat to Languages

August 26, 2010

The Guardian has published an article investigating the decline in language learning in the UK, focusing particularly on the threat to German: