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Identity-Formation in Political, Historical, Cultural and Linguistic Contexts

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Mark Allinson in the Department of German researches in the area of political culture and everyday life in postwar East Germany; Debbie Pinfold in German explores the relations between modern German politics and literature, and is the co-investigator on an AHRC-funded Network ‘After the Wall: Reconstructing and Representing the GDR’. These two researchers have attracted a Leverhulme Research Fellow, also working on the GDR.

Russianist Claire Shaw specialises in the formation of Soviet identity and the history of marginal groups. Her current research focuses on the history of the deaf community in Soviet Russia, contemporary Russian fashion, and Soviet public space including parks.

Martin Hurcombe in the Department of French specialises in the interface between politics and literature especially French representations of the First World War and Spanish Civil War. Hurcombe is Editor of the Journal of War and Culture Studies. Paco Romero Salvado in the Department of Hispanic, Portuguese and Latin American (HiPLA) is a political historian of the Spanish Civil War. Caragh Wells in HIPLA specialises in post-war Spanish narrative and urban fiction in Spain and Catalonia.

Ruth Glynn in the Department of Italian works on trauma, terrorism and the anni di piombo. Gino Raymond in French researches the politics of France with particular focus on the political parties and contemporary political issues.

Research in Germanic linguistics in the School of Modern Languages is represented by Nils Langer in German, who writes on historical socio-linguistics, focusing recently on non-standard (‘bad’) German, the fruit of an AHRC-funded project. Langer is co-founder of the international Historical Socio-Linguistics Network (HiSoN).

Research in the transmission of language and culture is foregrounded by the AHRC French in Russia Project, which runs from August 2011 to July 2014. Its aim is to produce the first large-scale, multidisciplinary history of the French language in Russia. The research team (Principal Investigator, Derek Offord, with Vladislav Réjoutski and Sarah Turner) is exploring the impact that French had not only on the use of Russian, but also on Russians' thinking about their own language and, more broadly, on Russian social and political attitudes and on the formation of a sense of national identity. Their findings have resonance in the fields of social, political, cultural, and intellectual history as well as sociolinguistics. The project will also contribute to a field of historical scholarship which is still in its infancy: by treating language as not merely a useful tool for historians but also a subject worthy of historians' attention in its own right, the team will demonstrate that language is itself an aspect of culture, a social institution, a key factor in the conceptions that peoples or groups have of themselves, a political instrument, and a potent force in national life.