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Personal profile

Biography

I was born in Germany to expellee parents who settled in Franconia, just south of what would become the Iron Curtain. The political tensions, fault lines and catastrophes of Central European history run deep in my family, and this biographical vicissitude has come to inform much of my research. I am interested in the cultural ramifications of military conflict, in the history of travel and migration, in hybrid and emigrant identities, and in the ways in which cultural production engages with these topics.

I received an MA in English and Modern German Literature from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich before coming to the United Kingdom in 1997 to study for a PhD at UEA. I then taught for the Open University and subsequently for eleven years at the University of Portsmouth. From 2012-2020 I taught in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing.

Key Research Interests and Expertise

My key research interest are literature (and film) about war, fascism and forced migration; creative non-fiction; travel writing; memory studies; and Anglo-German literary and cultural relations. Much of my work is comparative and interdisciplinary and focuses on the political aspects of cultural representation. 

My first book, English Modernism, National Identity and the Germans (Ashgate 2009), dealt with perceptions of, and responses to, Germans and Germany in modernist literature as well as their complex role in the construction of English identity and the negotiation of modernity. My second monograph, Our Nazis: Representations of Fascism in Contemporary Literature and Film (Edinburgh 2013), offered a closer look at one of the more perturbing legacies of modernism, the appropriation of fascist aesthetics in contemporary cultural production; in it I challenge the often rather facile way in which fascism is “remembered” in Anglophone cultures. In two edited collections I focused more closely on discourses about the ramifications of military conflict: Conflict, Nationhood and Corporeality in Modern Literature (Palgrave 2010) dealt with the body-at-war. Long Shadows: The Second World War in British Fiction and Film (Northwestern UP, 2016) includes essays by eminent scholars on the literary and cinematic afterlife of the Second World War.

I have also written articles and chapters on trauma and photography, postwar travel writing and decolonisation, Freudian poetics, war film, war in popular fiction, film and contemporary British fiction, and on teaching contemporary fiction after the referendum. 

Conflict-induced flight and forced migration in Central Europe preoccupy me in two current pojects: an academic monograph and a piece of narrative non-fiction. The monograph examines this theme in postwar German literature and film and was supported by a British Academy mid-career fellowship throughout 2018. I am also writing a non-fiction book about the amazing women in my family and their working-class lives throughout Germany's turbulent twentieth-century. This project, entitled Hinterland, was supported by a Leverhulme Fellowship throughout 2020.

A third project will be an essay collection, co-edited with my colleague Will Rossiter, for Cambridge University Press for their newly commissioned series Themes in British Literature and Culture. This volume, entitled Europe in British Literature and Culture, will feature 25 essays on the range of relationships and cultural contexts in which British literature engaged with its continental neighbours from the Renaissance to the post- Brexit era.

 

External Funding:

Hinterland (Leverhulme Fellowship 2020)

The Aesthetics of Loss: Flight and Expulsion in Postwar German Literature and Film (British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship 2018)

English Modernism, National Identity and the Germans, 1890-1950 (AHRC leave scheme 2007/8 & 

British Academy small research grant 2008)

Research Group Membership

I am a member of the War-and-Representation network, WaR-Net: https://war-net.org/

 

Administrative Posts

From 2013 - 2017 I was Director of Postgraduate Research for the School, looking after a cohort of just under seventy doctoral students. 

External Activities

I peer-review submissions to Modern Fiction Studies, Modern Language Notes, Critical Inquiry, and Studies in Travel Writing. I review books for Women: A Cultural Review, Comparative Critical Studies, The D.H. Lawrence Review, Literature and History, and The European Journal of English Studies.

I was external examiner for two MA programmes (2016-2019):

MLitt Women, Writing and Gender (St Andrews)

MA Anglo-German Cultural Relations (University of London, Queen Mary)

PGR Opportunities

PhD supervisions:

Dr Maria Fritsche, Associate Professor at the University of Trondheim (2008-12; ESRC-funded PhD in Film Studies). Masculinity in Postwar Austrian Cinema. Published as Homemade Men in Postwar Austrian Cinema (Berghahn 2013)

Dr Lucy Ball, (2009-2013, AHRC-funded PhD in English Literature): Memory, Myth and Forgetting: The Transatlantic British Slave Trade

Dr Judith Vonberg (2012-2017; LDC school studentship, PhD in Comparative Literature): Mutual Represenatations of Britons and Germans in Popular Fictions, 1945-65.

Dr Sara Sha'ath (2012-2017; LDC school studentship, PhD in creative-critical writing): Voice in British Fiction of the General Strike

Dr Debra Isaac (2014-2018; LDC school studentship; PhD in creative-critical writing): Fiction of the French Wartime Experience

Paul M Cooper (2015-19; AHRC-funded PhD in creative-critical writing): Ruins in Iraqi Literature and Film

Jennifer Calleja (2019-2021; LDC school studentship; PhD in creative-critical writing): The translator is present.

Professional Activities

I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, the international AHRC Peer Review College, and I peer review submissions for the British Academy.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

external examiner MA in Anglo-German Cultural Relations, Queen Mary, University of London

3 Nov 201630 Sep 2020

external examiner (M Litt) Women, Writing and Gender, University of St Andrews

8 Sep 201630 Oct 2019