The Department of German fosters world-leading research in the language, literature, history and culture of Germany and of German-speaking regions and countries, and in contemporary German, Austrian and Swiss culture and society. Academic colleagues publish their work in the most prominent journals and with highly respected publishing houses. Fields for current cutting-edge research include exile studies, modern and contemporary literature, sociolinguistics, memory studies, transnational and comparative studies, comparative literature, poetry, film and translation.

The German Department has often been the proud host to externally funded post-doctoral researchers (Marie-Curie Fellowship, Humboldt Fellowship, Leverhulme EC Fellows) and we welcome inquiries about such positions. We have a thriving community of MPhil and PhD students, self-funded or in receipt of support from the SWW DTP, the AHRC and the University. Together the postgraduate and postdoctoral communities create a lively intellectual atmosphere which takes the shape of regular workshops, conferences, and staff-student research seminars, as well as friendly social events. We are experienced in advising applicants on possible funding sources and work closely with them to maximize the potential of their bids.

Research areas

Within the department there are particular specialisms in:

  • transnational and comparative German-language studies;
  • Anglo-German and German-American relations:
  • German literature since the Goethezeit;
  • memory studies;
  • historical sociolinguistics;
  • German exile literature;
  • the history and memory of the GDR;
  • translation studies.

Current and Recent Projects

Collaborations and activities

Bristol’s Germanists are regularly involved national and international research projects in the areas of German and 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; we have collaborated with the British Library, Shakespeare's Globe, the National Theatre, and locally with Myers-Insole Local Learning and the Upfest street art festival. 

Bristol colleagues are actively involved in national and international scholarly associations and civil society initiatives, with current or recent 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, and collaborations with A Soul for Europe, the European House for Culture, and the European Commission and European Parliament. Ben Schofield is currently editor of Transnational Modern Languages (Liverpool University Press); Transnational Approaches to Culture (De Gruyter); and Studies in Modern German & Austrian Literature (Peter Lang), and German Co-Editor for the journal Modern Languages Open. Steffan Davies is one of the editors of German Life and Letters. These are amongst the most significant journals and book series 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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