Germanic studies

Germanic Studies has a long tradition of distinguished research in German and Germanic Studies and a diverse and active current research profile, extending into comparative topics.

Year abroad in Germany.

The academic interests of staff are exceptionally wide-ranging, but we identify a number of research strands in which several colleagues are engaged:

  • Modern German literary and cultural studies and intellectual history.
  • Modern German politics, society and history.
  • Germanic linguistics, including sociolinguistics and pragmatics.
  • Dutch Studies and Luxembourg Studies, as well as covering Austria and Switzerland within German Studies.

Current Projects

Some examples of current research projects include Dr Seán Williams writing on the hairdresser - and you can read the first article here. In addition, Seán is leading an interdisciplinary, international project on aesthetic labour, and a collaboration with the University of Oslo on wigs and cancer survivorship.


Prof. Henk de Berg is also leading an international comparative project. In the past, he has published on a variety of French thinkers who converse with the tradition of German thought, such as the neo-Hegelian Alexandre Kojève (1902-1968).

Now, collaborating with Dr Karine Zbinden, he is editing a collection of essays entitled Todorov: Thinker, Critic, Humanist, the first-ever single-volume examination of Todorov as a cultural critic. It’s written by a worldwide team of experts in the fields of Enlightenment studies, Holocaust and memory studies, literary and cultural studies, critical theory, and intellectual history.

The volume will offer both an introduction to one of today’s leading thinkers and discussions of some of the most hotly debated topics in cultural theory. You can watch an interview with Todorov in French here.


And Dr Anna Geurts is a visiting fellow of the National Railway Museum in York. Anna aims to discover the links between railway travel and country house tourism from the nineteenth century to the present day - as revealed in guidebooks, magazines, posters, and merchandise such as railway puzzles and games.

In doing so, Anna is collaborating with Dr Oliver Betts and the Yorkshire Country House Partnership. Anna records her own 'undisciplinary thoughts' on her weblog: Historian at Large


Of course, German Studies also more obviously means debating German topics, and we do so in a prize-winning and prominent way. You can read Dr Caroline Bland writing about the early generations of German university women here.      


Researchers in Germanic Studies write not only in English, but in German and Dutch as well. You can read the latest article in Dutch by Professor Roel Vismans, on terms of address, here.

Dr Henriette Louwerse writes among others on contemporary Dutch literature and culture in an international context. And Dr Kristine Horner is our expert on Luxembourg and multilingualism generally.

These projects are simply a selection of many. If you'd like to hear more about what we get up to, and about the field of Germanic Studies nationally and internationally. The School of Languages and Cultures holds regular Research Seminars and you are welcome to attend.

Everybody with an interest in Germanic Studies (broadly conceived) is welcome to attend! Contact Dr Seán Williams if you have questions about coming along.

Research Centres

Germanic Studies hosts two of the University's Research Centres, the Centre for Luxembourg Studies, the Centre for Dutch Studies. It also supplies the Directors of two further interdisciplinary Research Centres, the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies, the Centre for Gender Studies in Europe, as well as the Co-Director of the Prokhorov Centre.

  • Centre for Nineteenth Century Studies
  • Centre for Dutch and Flemish Studies
  • Centre for Luxembourg Studies
  • Centre for Gender Studies in Europe
  • Prokhorov Centre

The Department of Germanic Studies organises regular Research Seminars that are open to the general public. They usually take place on a Wednesday at 4pm.  

Our research

The School of Languages and Cultures boasts a thriving research community of academic staff, postdoctoral research fellows and postgraduate students. 

Research in the School