News and Events

Novelist and writer Miranda CarterMiranda Carter: Three World Leaders and One World Class Spy

Germanic Studies' Henk de Berg has conducted a two-part interview with historian and novelist Miranda Carter.

Miranda Carter has written a best-selling collective biography of King George V, Kaiser Wilhem II, and Tsar Nicholas II, the three world leaders when Britain entered World War I.

Even more fascinating is her study of Anthony Blunt. Blunt joined MI5 during World War II and later, as Surveyor of the King's (and then the Queen's) Pictures, became Britain's most important art historian -- all the while working as a Russian spy.

In addition to her biographical work, Miranda Carter has written three detective novels, the Blake and Avery Mystery Series. 

Miranda Carter on Anthony Blunt  Miranda Carter on her detective novels

Luther and the Reformation

Luther small imageOn 22 and 23 February 2018, Diarmaid MacCulloch (Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford) gave a Prokhorov Centre lecture on "Christianity: The Big Picture" and a masterclass on "Luther and the English Reformation".

The lecture was attended by well over 200 people. Organisers were Profs Henk de Berg (Germanic Studies) and Evgeny Dobrenko (Russian & Slavonic Studies) in the School of Languages and Cultures.

Christianity: The Big Picture

Henk de Berg also conducted a three-part interview with Diarmaid MacCulloch 

Interview 1 Interview 2 Interview 3

Coffee and Poodles and Classical Music

Hairdresser in 18th centuryStaff in Germanic Studies believe in bringing their research to the broader public. So you will be taught by lecturers who regularly feature on the radio and tv — here in the UK, and abroad!

Dr Seán Williams has made a programme on the history of the hairdresser with BBC Radio 3, and is making another on coffee, poodles and classical music in eighteenth-century Germany, too — to be broadcast on 22 October 2017.

Seán has also broadcast on “Sentimentality” - another aspect of German eighteenth-century life that inspired philosophy and literature that you’ll learn about in Sheffield — as well as on Nietzsche, and even the Holocaust. He has been on Swiss Radio, the World Service, and appeared on BBC One and BBC Two.

If you think these are odd subjects for a Germanist, the eighteenth century saw the birth of consumer culture in Europe, which influenced the arts of that age and shaped the world as we know it today. Germanic Studies at Sheffield interrogates these important influences. We appreciate the significance of quirky as much as profound historical phenomena. Who’d have thought that Goethe found coffee consumption so scandalous?

Dr Seán Williams teaches on various modules in Germanic Studies and SLC including the Second Year  “German Literature and Culture” seminar. 

The History of the Hairdresser     Sentimentality

It is all about the Ohrwürmer

Student with flagNathan Wright (BA German and Linguistics) started his own German-English radio show. 

"As a Second Year student of German I motivate myself by listening to German-speaking radio stations. My favourite is an Austrian radio station – think BBC Radio 1. The show combines German and English so it is perfect for German learners, and I noticed I was making Spotify playlists not to lose track of my new favourite "Ohrwürmer".

I decided I wanted to share these songs with course mates and also to discover their very own "Lieblingslieder". So I approached the student-run Forge Radio, part of the University of Sheffield's Students’ Union to help me set up my own show. They were happy to oblige and I was handed the 9 pm Sunday slot.

Work began in earnest. My aim is to cater all those interested in German language and culture so I have angled it to be accessible to beginners but also featuring native material for more advanced speakers.

At the time of writing, several episodes have been made available on the streaming site Mixcloud – as a completely free resource. Also, check out additional posts and visual content on Facebook."


Is the EU Doomed to Fail?

Germanic Studies' Henk de Berg conducted an interview with the Belgian historian David Engels about his book Auf dem Weg ins Imperium. Die Krise der Europäischen Union und der Untergang der Römischen Republik.

Developing ideas originally put forward by Oswald Spengler (the author of one of the most successful books of the twentieth century, the two-volume "Der Untergang des Abendlandes", 1918/22), Engels argues that the EU is likely to end up with the same kind of strong-man Caesarism as that which followed the downfall of the Roman Republic.

David Engels, a member of the German-speaking community in Belgium, is Professor of Roman history at the Free University of Brussels.

The interview consists of two-parts: the first part looks in some detail at Engels's thesis, while the second part explores possible criticisms of his work.

Interview David Engels Part 1      Interview David Engels Part 2

Prokhorov Centre Lecture: Christopher Clark

Christopher ClarkOn 26 May 2017, Sir Christopher Clark, Regius Professor of History at Cambridge and best-selling author of The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, delivered a public lecture on "The Geopolitics of Revolution in 1848".

Clark explored the European dimension of one of the most momentous series of events of the 19th century, the many national revolts and revolutions of 1848. He paid particular attention to the role of Switzerland, and drew parallels with the Arab spring.

The lecture was part of the Prokhorov Centre conference "Constructing Europe(s)", organised by Henk de Berg and Evgeny Dobrenko in the School of Languages and Cultures.

Full lecture by Christopher Clark

three staff members Germanic Studies

Staff in Germanic Studies are regularly approached by national and international media to share their expertise, offer their opinion, or comment on specific issues. These can be research or teaching related or because their opinion carries weight in the field. Below is a snap shot of the June 2017 media activity.

Professor Michael Perraudin provided a commentary on the UK general elections for Dutch national radio. Perraudin shared his expertise on the high profile current affairs programme Met het oog op morgen. Michael Perraudin is Professor of German and an excellent speaker of Dutch. 

Dr Seán Williams is a BBC New Generation Thinker and a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Germanic Studies. In his article ‘Empathy? Not in my book’, which he wrote for the Times Higher Education, Williams takes issue with the wide-spread belief that reading literature improves one’s capacity for 'fellow feeling'.  

As part their 25th anniversary, the digital journal invited significant people in the field to reflect on the future of (international) Dutch Studies. In her opinion piece, 'Gerard Reve is a Brit', Dr. Henriette Louwerse argues that a Modern Languages degree should recognise the cultural and linguistic specificity and be aware that, in a global and digital age, literature and culture always resonate beyond national borders or language areas. 

Met het oog op morgen

Literature and Empathy

'Gerard Reve is een Brit'

Winners Academic Awards 2017

2017: Two Academic Award Winners in Germanic Studies

Each year Sheffield’s Students’ Union honours those members of the academic community that make a difference to learning, teaching and student life. These special people are nominated and voted for by the student and staff community. Germanic Studies are proud to announce that we have two Academic Award winners in our midst.

Dr Caroline Bland is an award winner in the category Best Personal Tutor. For many years, Caroline Bland has been the figurehead of the Germanic Studies Pastoral Care arrangements. That is just one of the many areas for which we rely on Caroline Bland’s commitment, knowledge and experience.  

The second winner is Cyd Sturgess who took away the Academic Awards for Best PhD Student who Teaches. Sturgess gained the award for her design and delivery of a Final Year culture module for our Dutch Programme. In her teaching, Sturgess wants to unlock the critical creativity of her students. She argues: 'if we want our students to think outside of the box, tutors will have to start teaching more innovatively too.'  

We congratulate our winners!

Video of Cyd Sturgess' Award Winning Teaching

Sheffield victorious at Sauerkraut 2017

From our own correspondent, Peter Sledge (BAML)

Germanic Studies Football team

25 March 2017 saw the return of the most prestigious event of the footballing calendar for our Germanic Studies students – the Sauerkraut Cup. Competed for by university teams from across the country, Sheffield’s Vfb SLOG came out as victors once again, repeating their triumph of last year, though this time away from home.

Manchester was the location of this year’s tournament where Sheffield’s success ran further than simply the winners: the 'Sheffield B Team’ reaching the final and giving 'Sheffeld A’' a real run for their money. The tournament was settled by an excruciating penalty shoot-out.

Sheffield’s large crowd of supporters enjoyed a sunny March day in Manchester, and came home cheering; the two Sheffield teams having dominated the tournament. The after-party was in full flow within an hour of arriving back in Sheffield. The success of the both Sheffield teams shows great promise for the coming years.

Germanic Studies at Sheffield has an active and succesful football team (above) as well as a keen and ambitious netball team.


Wunderschönes Wetter im Mai - da heisst's nichts wie 'raus für die deutschsprachige Frühlingswanderung!

Students from all years and the Erasmus exchange had a fantastic day on the lovely route from Hope to Hathersage. We finished our German day out with "Kaffee und Kuchen" – although it was actually tea and Bakewell Pudding, as we were in Peak District after all. We are looking forward to the Herbstwanderung already!

The German Wanderung is one of many co-curricular events we organise in Germanic Studies. We believe that doing things together strengthens our student and staff community, gives us the opportunity to speak (yet more) German, and in this case, gets us to enjoy the beautiful Peak District.

Photos of students on a country walk

Prokhorov Lecture 2017

henk de berg and Marina WarnerIn February, best-selling novelist, short-story writer and scholar Dame Marina Warner delivered the 2017 Annual Arts and Humanities Prokhorov Lecture, entitled “At Home in Your Head: Stories in Times of Displacement”. In front of an audience of nearly 150 people, she spoke about the relationship between the way we tell stories and the refugee crisis. Her key question was: is culture strong enough to help? 

Marina Warner’s work includes ground-breaking studies of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Her most recent book is Once upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale (2014).

The lecture was organized by Professor Henk de Berg in Germanic Studies and Professor Evgeny Dobrenko in Russian and Slavonic Studies.

Full lecture and interview with Marina Warner

Brexit-Schreck in Bochum

Jennifer Frost is currently on her German Year Abroad in Bochum where teaches English in a German School. She joined our Beginners' German course as part of her BA Modern Languages degree. That was in September 2014. Two and a half years later, she is giving an interview in German to a local newspaper in the Rhineland. This is her story:

Jenny Frost'I'm just coming to the end of my half year placement in Bochum as a foreign language assistant working for the British Council. The opportunity for an interview was mentioned by one of my colleagues. He said the local paper would be interested in hearing a native's opinions on Brexit, how/if it had affected my time in Germany and what it could mean for the future. I was also asked to give a brief description of my opinion on Bochum and the surrounding areas and sum up my experience. All in all, it was a great chance to discuss my feelings towards Brexit and talk about my time spent in Bochum. And all in German!'

Beginners German     German Interview with Jennifer Frost

Postgraduate Success: Nina Schmidt

Nina SchmidtPostgraduate study at Sheffield has led to the start of an academic career for German student, Nina Schmidt, who completed her PhD study in the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Sheffield this summer. She is continuing her research having secured a postdoctoral post at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Nina first came to Sheffield in 2007 as an Erasmus student studying for a semester on her BA in English and German Philology degree programme. Her love of the city and her experience of studying at the University inspired her to return in 2012 for her PhD – an interdisciplinary study of contemporary autobiographical illness writings. Nina’s research was funded by a University of Sheffield Faculty Scholarship.

Nina took advantage of the opportunities available to help her develop her career whilst conducting her research. She gained valuable experience teaching German language modules and conversation classes and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant on the award-winning module ‘Interdisciplinary Research in Practice’.

Nina commented, “Sheffield has been a great place for me to start to build my academic profile. The combination of excellent academic supervision across both the English and German departments and the close knit, supportive community of postgraduates from across the School of Languages and Cultures has given me a great start to my career in academia.”

PhD study with Germanic Studies

Prokorov Lecture 2016

Professor T.J. ReedIn December 2016 the world-leading scholar Professor T.J. Reed delivered the annual Prokhorov Lecture. Jim Reed explored the nature of artistic creation and the genius of the great writer in his lecture entitled “Beginning in Their Times: Homer, Montaigne, Shakespeare (and Some Others)”. 

T.J. Reed, emeritus Taylor Professor of the German Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, is the President of the English Goethe Society and a Fellow of the British Academy. 

The lecture was organised by the Prokhorov Centre, which is directed by Prof Henk de Berg in Germanic Studies and Prof Evgeny Dobrenko in Russian and Slavonic Studies.

The Prokhorov Centre is the only research platform in the UK with a combined focus on Western and Eastern Europe. Its main areas of interest are the intellectual and cultural histories of Germany and Russia.

Prokorov Lecture 2016 YouTube    T.J. Reed on Goethe YouTube

On Swissness

Swiss author with studentIn October 2016 staff and students in Germanic Studies met with Swiss author Martin R. Dean for a translation workshop. A section from Dean’s novel Ein Koffer voller Wünsche (2011) formed the basis for an exploration of 'Swissness': What is it and how can we translate it into English?

Swiss literature in German is becoming increasingly diverse. In recent decades the label 'Swiss literature' has come to cover writers in local Swiss German dialects as well as Swiss authors who discuss the themes of immigration, multiculturalism and post-colonial culture. The writing of Martin R. Dean, born to a Swiss mother and a father from Trinidad, is an example of the latter.

Translating a literary text rich in 'Swissness' for a contemporary English readership brings considerable challenges. What to do with the intricacies of traditional costumes specific to individual Swiss cantons and how can the translator signal to an English-language reader that cultural clichés are, in the context of the novel, intended ironically?

Martin Dean's translation workshop formed an exciting addition to our German BA-programme. It not only offered the opportunity to work with our MA Translation Studies students but, above all, to exchange thoughts and suggestions with the author himself. 

Martin Dean’s visit was organised by Dr Seán Williams and supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK.

More about Swiss Studies in Sheffield

Social life in Germanic Studies

In Germanic Studies we take great pride in our community atmosphere: our German Wandertag, the Dutch borrel, our sporting events to name a few. Here are some social traditions of Germanic Studies that took place in May and June 2016.


Students and staff at busstop after walking in the Peak DistrictSunday 8 May 2016 students and staff from the Germanic Department met for their traditional hike in the Peak District, challenging the German folksong “Das Wandern ist des Müllers Lust”, which claims that hiking is particularly enjoyed by millers.

We started at Fox House, climbed down to Grindleford Station and continued an easy stroll to Hathersage. The weather was terrific as was the mood. This photo taken at the Hathersage bus stop gives evidence: “Das Wandern ist auch des Deutschstudierenden Lust”.


Netball and football teams 2016

Once a year, student of Germanic Studies engage in a battle of the sexes: SLOGIN, our Germanic Studies netball team, challenges SLOG, our football team. For this special occasion only, these normally mixed teams return to their single sex history in a winner takes all game. On 13 May 2016 the encounter was as charged and exciting as ever. SLOGIN nearly won.

Dutch Borrel

Students of Dutch at drinks party

In our last teaching week, it is another good tradition within Germanic Studies that students of Dutch gather for the yearly Borrel. This annual drinks event takes place in early May and whereas in previous years the Sheffield weather did not always play ball, the 2016 edition was a glorious event. With over seventy students spread over the four years of study, the Dutch section at Sheffield is not only the biggest in the country but perhaps also the liveliest. 

More Dutch news

Prokhorov Lecture 2016: Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

German-born American scholar Hans Ulrich GumbrechtOn 5 May 2016, the German-born American scholar Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht from Stanford University delivered the Annual Prokhorov Lecture. He spoke about “The Past and Future of the Humanities”.

Gumbrecht, one of today’s most eminent public intellectuals, explored the various ways in which the humanities give us a more nuanced view of the world, from literature to international relations. He analysed what makes the top-ranked universities in the world so successful, and made a plea for “riskful thought” (thinking outside the box) in the study of cultures and languages.

The lecture was organized by Professor Henk de Berg (Germanic Studies) together with Professors Evgeny Dobrenko (Russian and Slavonic Studies) and Phil Swanson (Hispanic Studies). You can watch the full lecture as well as an interview with Hans Gumbrecht conducted by Henk de Berg.

For an overview of the riskful and the traditional within Germanic Studies, please check our full list of undergraduate modules.

Sauerkraut Cup Back in Sheffield

sauerkraut cup

student and staff at football tournamentGermanic Studies were proud to host the annual Sauerkraut Cup football tournament at the Goodwin Sports Centre on 23 April – and even prouder to win it! Excitement reached fever-pitch during a hotly-contested semi-final which went to a penalty shoot-out, and although Leeds did not make it through to the final, their pitch-side support and chanting were second to none. In the final, Sheffield proved too strong for a worthy Nottingham: 4-1. 

The Sauerkraut Cup is now in its thirteenth year and has become a much-loved tradition for German departments all around the country, being hosted by the students and the DAAD-Lektoren. A very special feature of the Sauerkraut Cup is its popularity with alumni: Sheffield and Leeds put forward alumni teams every year, which may explain why the final can often turn into a Yorkshire derby (with four Cups for Leeds and now five for Sheffield).

Many thanks go to all the competitors, to our fantastic local supporters who turned out on a chilly day and especially, of course, to this year’s organizers Mathias Schäffer and Sarah Pogoda!

The Sauerkraut Cup 2016 was sponsored by Euro London Appointments, Henderson's Relish and Ohyo.

sponsor logos Sauerkraut

Exclusive interview with Tzvetan Todorov

Todorov with De berg, ZbindenProfessor Henk de Berg (Germanic Studies) and Dr Karine Zbinden (French) managed to secure an exclusive interview with renowned French thinker and public intellectual Tzvetan Todorov. Todorov, who received de Berg and Zbinden in his Paris home, has worked extensively on issues of memory and the Holocaust. He is also the author of many books and essays in the broad area of literary and cultural studies.

Henk de Berg, an expert on German and French thought, is currently co-editing a collection of essays on Todorov. Within the Germanic Studies Henk de Berg offers undergraduate modules on Freud (Year 2) and Modern German Thought (Year 3).

The full French-language interview, which was conducted in Paris in March 2016, can be viewed here.  

Book Donation Swiss EmbassyBook cover Swiss Lit

The Embassy of Switzerland has generously donated a new collection of contemporary Swiss Literature in German to Germanic Studies. It comprises the latest literary works emerging from the country.

Dr Seán Williams FRSA, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at Sheffield and formerly a lecturer in Bern, Switzerland, emphasises that this collection offers both undergraduate and postgraduate students an excellent entry-point into Swiss contemporary culture, an area that we tend to stereotype as simply the land of Alps, fondue and debates about the EU.

“The arrival of these books complements existing opportunities to study German, Austrian, Dutch and Luxembourgish cultures in our School", according to Willams, "so Sheffield’s Germanic offering is true to the breadth of that adjective, and is remarkably rich in its variety”.

The collection will soon be searchable and available on loan via the university library’s central catalogue, and is perfect for those who are curious about exploring Swiss literature beyond Heidi!

Sheffield's Swiss connection goes beyond the book collection: Sheffield students can now spend their 3rd Year Abroad at the University of Bern on a new exchange programme. Plans are in progress for a visiting Swiss author for autumn 2016, and Germanic Studies collaborates with Applied Languages programmes in Sheffield to support those who wish to translate Swiss literature into English.

Post-GCSE and Beginners’ German: 'Tonnes of improvement'

In September 2014 Germanic Studies welcomed the first post-GCSE and Beginners’ German students. Eighteen months later Oliver Pilcher and Jennifer Frost reflect on their progress.

Oli PilcherOliver Pilcher:

'I’ve always wanted to learn German but had thought that not doing it at A-Level would stop me doing it at University. However, at Sheffield I was able to take up Beginners’ German. The tutors and lecturers have shown their flexibility again and again, adapting to my learning style. In addition to our language classes we were tutored by final year German students, giving us a one-on-one environment to go over points we had found difficult in class.

I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to study in Germany for a month over the Summer 2015. This was one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had, allowing me to expand my language skills hugely and make international friends! After my First Year, I changed my degree programme to make German as my major language in Second Year!'

Jennie FrostJennifer Frost:

'I decided to take up something completely out of my comfort zone- having only studied Spanish at College. At first I found German for Beginners challenging but the subject tutor, Sarah Pogoda, was always willing to go over anything I didn't fully understand in class and always provided support when I needed it. I, personally, find it difficult to form spontaneous sentences and pieces of writing, but the beginners’ course ensures that you get the writing practice you need, with feedback from your tutor the next week. Now in the Second Year of the course, I can definitely see tonnes of improvement.' 

MA Graduation 2016

MA graduation 2016Congratulations to all our Masters Graduates! At the ceremony on Friday 15 January 2016, we were delighted to see several of our previous Germanic Studies undergraduates receiving a second degree from Sheffield, in Germanic Studies, Dutch Studies, European Gender Studies and Translation Studies.

Pictured here are Christina Barningham (Dutch Studies), Ben Lewis (Germanic Studies) with his family and supervisors, Prof Henk de Berg and Dr Caroline Bland, and Amy Sheffield and Philippa Gregory (European Gender Studies) with supervisor Prof Jan Windebank.

This year’s graduates have found work in their chosen fields or are moving on to doctoral study. Well done everyone!

Research Seminar: Georg Büchner

Georg BuchnerThe first presentation in our annual Germanic Studies Research Semniar Series will take place on Wednesday 21 October at 4pm in Jessop West, Seminar Room 3.

Everybody is welcome to attend and use this opportunity to hear guest speakers, colleagues and postgraduate researchers present and discuss their research. There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion. Drinks will be served.

Our first speaker will be Professor Michael Perraudin (Sheffield). The title of his presentation is 'Büchner: Empathy and Revolutionary Optimism'. 

The full schedule of talks that will take place in 2015-16 will follow later. 

Prokhorov Prize for Joanna Kremer

Joanna KremerThe Graduate Committee of the School of Languages and Cultures has awarded this year's Prokhorov Prize to Joanna Kremer. The Prokhorov prize recognises "outstanding contribution to research culture and life of the School by a final year research student.'

We could not wish for a more rewarding winner. Joanna Kremer has had wide-ranging impact on the research culture and life of the School. She served on the editorial board the Faculty-wide journal Track Changes and contributed to The Image Speaks. Joanna is gifted at presenting her research to a wider audience and was selected to represent our Faculty at the 'Three Minute Thesis' competition in 2014. She also co-organised various conferences for the Department. 

Joanna has contributed enormously to the research and teaching at the Centre for Luxembourg Studies. She headed up organisation of the 20th Anniversary Colloquium - attracting some eighty participants - and she received the university-wide Academic Award for Best Postgraduate Teacher of the Year in 2015. Moreover, Joanna has published on language testing and citizenship in Luxembourg and on discursive approaches to language policy and language ideologies to.

We offer our warm congratulations to Joanna!

Drawing a Map: Postgraduate Colloquium

Organising committee

Our Germanic Studies students go in many different directions after graduation. Some opt for translation or education, others for business, media, or postgraduate study. Whatever their future, we are proud to see our graduates take the lead in their chosen field.

Here is a prime example: our graduates Richard McLelland (PhD KCL), Jenny Watson (PhD Swansea) , Aimée Hardy (MA UCL) and Cyd Sturgess (PhD Sheffield) formed the organising committee of the Inaugural Postgraduate Colloquium: Drawing a Map which took place in London on 2 and 3 July 2015.

During a committee meeting of the Association for Low Countries Studies (ALCS), Jenny launched the idea of an international colloquium for MA and PhD candidates and early-career researchers and she wrote the Call for Papers. Richard teamed up with Aimée and they secured financial support from the Netherlands Embassy and they arranged for sessions at UCL and Senate House. They also ensured that the Institute for Modern Language Research (IMLR) came on board. Cyd supported by reading the abstracts and putting together the programme.

The result was a two-day event with over twenty participants from the UK, the Low Countries and Germany. For a report of the Colloquium and the full programme, check here.

Rich, Jenny, Aimée and Cyd all combined their BA in German with Dutch Studies.

Department Appoints Prestigious VCF FellowSean Williams

In October 2015, Dr Seán Williams will be joining the Department as one of the University’s sixteen new Vice-Chancellor’s Fellows. The VCF scheme, which is highly competitive, aims to attract the most promising international young scholars to the University of Sheffield.

Seán holds BA/MA, MSt and DPhil degrees from Oxford and currently teaches Germanistik at the University of Bern. Before moving to Switzerland, he lived, studied and worked in Germany, the Netherlands and the US as well as the UK.

Seán is a specialist in German literature and culture from the 18th century onwards and has worked on topics as diverse as Hegel’s philosophy, Hoffmann’s novels and novellas and contemporary satires of Hitler.

Research Interests of Staff in Germanic Studies

Summer Open Days 2015: Why study German at Sheffield?

For the Summer Open Days 2015 we decided to ask our current students about why they study German (or Dutch) at Sheffield. Their responses vary from practical to passionate, from personal to strategic. 

Please come and see for yourself what studying with us is like. During our Open Days we offer general and Departmental Talks as well as various Taster Sessions. Also, you will meet the staff and students: hear the stories and ask the questions. 

In addition to German and Dutch, we are the only place in the UK that offers courses in Luxembourg Studies

Summer Open Days 2015

Joaana Kremer and Nina SchmidtNomination for Best Postgraduate Teacher of the Year: Joanna Kremer and Nina Schmidt

Warm congratulations to Joanna Kremer for being awarded Best Postgraduate Teacher at this year’s Academic Awards Ceremony on 21 May 2015. It was fabulous that we had two nominees in this category, as Nina Schmidt was also nominated.

Joanna Kremer teaches weekly Luxembourgish conversation classes at beginners and advanced levels alongside her PhD work. As a researcher Joanna aims to identify links between language and notions of identity and citizenship in contemporary Luxembourg.

Nina Schmidt teaches German language classes for our post A-Level course. Her research focuses on contemporary autobiographical illness writings.

With over 350 nominations for various categories this year, it is phenomenal for two nominees from one department to be shortlisted, so very well done to both of you for showing Germanic Studies in its best light!

More information on the event may be found here.

Celebrating 20 Years of Luxembourg Studies in Sheffield:
Multilingual Encounters and ‘New Speakers’ of Luxembourgish

lux colloquiumMarking the 20th anniversary of the Centre for Luxembourg Studies, the colloquium held on 8 May 2015 attracted 80 people, including staff, students and members of the general public. It was a great honour that the Luxembourg Ambassador to the Court of St James’s, H.E. Mr Patrick Engelberg, formally opened the event and took part in discussions over the course of this special day.

The programme showcased work by undergraduate Sheffield students as well as former and current Erasmus students from the University of Luxembourg. Two PGR students, Joanna Kremer (Sheffield) and Annie Flore Made Mbe (Luxembourg) also presented findings on language testing and citizenship and family language policy in Luxembourg. The keynote speaker, Dr Kasper Juffermans (Luxembourg), discussed his current project (STAR), which focuses on the theme of crossing borders and is informed by the sociolinguistics of globalisation. Following the closing of the colloquium by Prof Penny Simons, participants enjoyed a traditional Luxembourgish wine reception, which was generously sponsored by Caves Ries.

Further details, including photos and media coverage, may be found here.

Official opening Prokhorov Centre

Opening Prokorov centreOn 15 May 2015 the prominent cultural historian and publisher Dr Irina Prokhorova performed the official opening of the Prokhorov Centre for the Study of Central and Eastern European Intellectual and Cultural History. The Centre is led by Profs Henk de Berg (Germanic Studies) and Evgeny Dobrenko (Russian & Slavonic Studies).

The histories of Central Europe and Eastern Europe have been intertwined for centuries – in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, for example, or in the creation, development, and eventual demise of the GDR. Thinkers such as Kant, Schopenhauer and Freud were born in Eastern Europe, and major ties continue to exist in the form of cross-fertilisation and collaboration as well as, at times, conflict.

The Prokhorov Centre studies the various interconnections between Central and Eastern Europe from a scholarly perspective.

For more information and to keep informed about the events and activities of the Centre, please check the Prokhorov Centre website.

Animatograph: Germany Surrenders

Event germany Remembers

BananasAt the end of the happening German Surrenders on 10th May the audience were given a banana. This was a symbolic gift on behalf of the German people to the, predominantly, British audience. After all, in 1945 the British craved the exotic fruit they had been deprived of during the war years.

Is this serious? Is this a suitable symbol to commemorate something so emotional (and political) as the victims of World War 2?

Dr Sarah Pogoda and students put together a thought-provoking remembrance ceremony at Furnace Park. All commemoration elements were there: a procession, speeches by politicians, the symbolic planting of a tree, the national anthems, and the reading out of names. Yet these familiar rituals were challenged by the setting, the megaphone interruptions, the presence of too many cameras. Germany Surrenders was more than just another commemoration: this was a creative and artistic examination of commemoration itself, both at a personal level and as a tool for nation building.

Germany Surrenders was the first event of the Sheffield Animatograph Project: an investigation into how collective memory and commemoration rituals reflect our nations and affect our identities. The next event in this series, Memory and Commemoration as Social Sculpture, will be on 22 May, 6pm in Sheffield.

Gender and European History Colloquium

logo festival of Arts aand Humanities

In collaboration with the Centre for Gender Studies in Europe, Germanic Studies PhD students Nina Schmidt and Cyd Sturgess, alongside Dr Caroline Bland, have put together an afternoon of talks and discussions on the theme: ‘Gender and European History’. The colloquium will take place on Monday 18 May from 1.30- 6.15 pm.

The Gender and European History Colloquium forms part of the Festival of the Arts and Humanities, and will include a series of papers exploring the implications of gender within historical research. Our guest speakers will be Laura Doan (Manchester), Claire McCallum (Exeter) and Louise Johnson (Sheffield). Following this, there will be a break-out reading session focused on twentieth century German contexts and its various waves of feminism.

Attendance is free, but please register your interest with Cyd Sturgess ( by 1 May. Registration for the whole or parts of the day possible. If you register to attend the workshop, you will automatically receive the preparatory reading.

Author Visitors Germanic Studies Spring 2015

$ german and Dutch authors

At Sheffield we believe that meeting practising artists inspires our students and enriches the curriculum. The Department of Germanic Studies boasts a healthy history of author and artist visits and Spring 2015 was no exception.

We welcomed German and Dutch speaking authors from no less than four countries. The Austrian author Susanne Scholl and the German author Ulrike Almut Sandig both visited Sheffield in February. The Belgian author and performer Maud Vanhauwaert spent a week in Sheffield in March and in April we welcomed the Dutch author Vrouwkje Tuinman.

During their visit the artists and authors work closely with our students on a specific project. This can take the shape of a 'book club', a translation project or creative (writing) workshops. In addition we organise informal meetings between artists and students as well as a Reading or a Talk for the general public.

We receive support for our activities from various funding bodies including the German DAAD, the Austrian OEAD and the Dutch and Flemish Taalunie.