Academics in the Department of German are focused on fostering research in the language, literature and culture of Germany and German-speaking regions and countries, and in contemporary German history and society.

The department is a proud host to externally-funded post-doctoral researchers (Marie-Curie Fellowship, Humboldt Fellowship, Leverhulme EC Fellows) and postgraduates (with AHRC and Alumni Foundation funding). Together they create a lively intellectual atmosphere which takes the shape of regular workshops, conferences, and twice-termly staff-student research seminars.

Research areas

Within the department there are particular specialisms in:

  • comparative literature;
  • German literature since the Goethezeit;
  • memory studies;
  • historical sociolinguistics;
  • German exile literature;
  • the history and memory of the GDR;
  • translation studies.


Collaborations and activities

Bristol’s Germanists are regularly involved national and international research projects in the areas of comparative literature, historical sociolinguistics, and social and cultural history. The department has hosted AHRC funded networks on the interdisciplinarity of linguistics and history and on the memory of the GDR. 

Bristol colleagues are actively involved in national and international scholarly societies, with representation on the committees of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland, the Internationale Alfred-Döblin-Gesellschaft, and the English Goethe Society. Professor Vilain is principal editor of Studies in Modern German and Austrian Literature (Oxford: Lang). Steffan Davies is one of the editors of German Life and Letters, one of the most important journals for German Studies in the UK.

Research in the Faculty

Our research forms part of the overall research activities and strategies of the Faculty of Arts.

Research events

We run a regular research seminar series and are frequently involved with one-off research events.

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