Questions, question, questions – but then again that is what underpins any research in any field – and one question leads to another and another and another. It fosters the curiosity that drives us onward.
Current Research Project
What is remembered? What is forgotten? Why? What does this tell us about ourselves? These questions are key to my interest in the past, and how it is shaped in the interests of the present. They help inform my current work, in which I’m researching why Germany’s Weimar Republic (1919-1933) appears prominent – both here in the UK and in Germany – right now. Is it the result of mere anniversary patterns? Or does it appear to resonate with our uncertain times – our politically, socially and economically fragile world? Can we use the Weimar period as a means of discussing contentious current issues and can we use those to foster a sense of common good, a means of communication for a greater understanding of one another? I will next be talking about this project in relation to emotionality at the Association for German Studies Great Britain and Ireland Conference (AGS), this September’s virtual conference.
I’ll post updates as the project develops.
Current/ Related Areas of Interest
At the present time I am particularly interested in the ways in which right-wing discourses, particularly those of the far/populist right impact on trends and tendencies in remembering, in how narratives are co-opted and reshaped to fit a populist agenda. I explore some of these in my current article in the journal German Life and Letters, examining the 75th anniversary commemoration of the 1943 Rosenstrasse Protest. This is a follow-on piece from my 2018 monograph (details below)
I am also working on the popular series Babylon Berlin and transnational TV (see podcast page)
On a practitioner level I am collaborating with Dr Elizabeth Ward, University of Hull, on an online teaching workshop – exploring the opportunities and challenges the virtual classroom presents us with, and how we can gain from the experiences, helping to influence future practice. We’ll be hosting this workshop as part of the Women in German Studies Conference (WIGS) in November.
Previous Research Projects
Remembering Rosenstrasse: History, Memory and Identity in Contemporary Germany
What was the Rosenstrasse Protest? It was a seemingly spontaneous gathering of intermarried German (Christian) spouses in response to the arrest, detention and feared deportation of their Jewish spouses/ children on Berlin’s Rosenstrasse between February-March 1943.
My research used history, popular history, biography, film and memorialisation to examine the ways in which this particular protest has been remembered, primarily post-1990, how its various representations intersect with notions of what it means to be German and what these indicate about the trends and tendencies within memory culture.
My monograph was published by Peter Lang in 2018: https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/36631
Kriegsgefangen in Skipton German World War 1 POW Memoir Translation Project, led by Anne Buckley at the University of Leeds
I had the privilege of taking part in this project whilst a member of the German team at the University of Leeds. The project, led by Anne Buckley, initially sought to translate a once forgotten World War One multi-authored memoir. It was written in secret by around 50 of the prisoners of war, detained in the Raikeswood Camp at Skipton, North Yorkshire. The project developed beyond the translation with numerous public engagements events from talks to community archaeology on the former site and educational outreach initiatives. I assisted with the student translators and their work, contributed my own translation of a section of the memoir and also gave talks. The memoir will be published in February 2021:
Buckley, A. ed. German Prisoners of the Great War. Life in a Yorkshire Camp, Barnsley, Pen and Sword Books (in press)
You can also read about it on the dedicated website: https://kriegsgefangen.leeds.ac.uk/
Arminius – A Subtitling Project
This project combined my research and my translation/subtitling skills. It involved subtitling videos/ interactive digital museum content on the topic of Arminius, otherwise known as Hermann the German, the Cherusci tribal chieftain famed for defeating the Roman legions at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. Each video explored Arminius’ legend anew, from differing perspectives and across different eras, demonstrating how ideas about him have changed over the centuries. This project required historical research, attention to detail and precision with regards to historical accuracy, balancing this with the features and traits of the diverse characters narrating each story and all within the spatial constraints required in subtitling.
On the Year Abroad and positive mental health
As the Year & Term Abroad Coordinator for German (2017-19) my interest in mental health and the transformative experiences of living, working and or studying in another country was piqued by my interactions with my students over the course of their placements. Their experiences varied. As I looked further into the topic I noted several contradictions in the way in which the Year Abroad was described and the actual experiences and university practices that go with it. I also observed a considerable shift in a number of students with regard to their mental well-being. This led to a research project and accompanying paper, presented at the inaugural Year Abroad conference hosted by Newcastle University in 2018. A publication followed, which I also helped peer-review.
The article is open-access and can be found here: https://research-publishing.net/manuscript?10.14705/rpnet.2020.39.1048