Our research

We concentrate our research in three areas:

German pasts and futures / Vergangenheits- und Zukunftsbewältigung

Our strength is in researching the multifaceted ways in which Germans have imagined, remembered and come to terms with their pasts. Leeds has become a centre for transnational Holocaust memory studies.

  • We have a particular interest in memory of German colonialism, the two world wars, the Holocaust, 1968, RAF terrorism and other traumatic pasts in a variety of genres and practices (film, literature, art, historiography).
  • This focus on German and transnational Vergangenheitsbewältigung is complemented by an interest in the imaginations of German futures and utopian thinking (Zukunftsbewältigung).

Violence and Resistance / Peace and Reconciliation

We lead interdisciplinary and transnational research projects into the repercussions of violence in German and global history. These include

  • German prisoners of war in Britain during World War I
  • Women’s peace movements and female revolutionaries after World War I
  • German protest movements from ‘1968’ to the Greens
  • German terrorism in film; trauma and reconciliation in Germany and South Africa; film production in the former GDR.

German-speaking Cultures in the World / Borders and Cultural Exchange

We research the ways in which people, ideas and cultural products cross borders into and out of the German-speaking world.  Projects include:

  • studies of literature, film and theatre representing experiences of migration to and settlement in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
  • explorations of ‘transnational’ writing and filmmaking
  • the translation of German-language literature and historical texts.

Impact and engagement

We are excited to work with and share our research with a wide range of community, arts and other partners. Recent and ongoing projects include:

  • education and outreach with the South African Holocaust and Genocide Foundation and the Yorkshire Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association;
  • projects on peace activism with Gateways to War Engagement Centre; Everyday Lives in War Engagement Centre; The Peace Museum Bradford;
  • performance productions about revolutionary women and about the Holocaust with local companies including Bent Theatre Company, RJC Dance Company and Blah Blah Blah;
  • a film production project in the former East German prison of Bautzen
  • a travelling exhibition on 'Germany's Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context', displayed in the South African Holocaust and Genocide centres, the UK National Holocaust Centre, and many other locations in the UK, South Africa, the USA, and Ireland
  • community engagement work including talks and archaeological digs surrounding the First World War prisoner of war camp in Skipton.

Our expertise

Anne Buckley
Paul Cooke
Ingo Cornils
Helen Finch
Frank Finlay
Chris Homewood
Corinne Painter
Stephan Petzold
Hilary Potter
Ingrid Sharp
Caroline Summers
Stuart Taberner
Jane Wilkinson

Research Projects

  • Kiel Uprising: Women's activism and the German Revolution November 1918, AHRC 2017-2018 (Ingrid Sharp)
  • ‘Mobilising Multidirectional Memory to Build More Resilient Communities in South Africa’, AHRC 2017-2018 (Stuart Taberner)
  • Social Attitudes to Conscientious Objection with English Heritage, October 2016-2017 (Ingrid Sharp)
  • Using Digital Tools to Challenge Xenophobia and Support International Development in South Africa, AHRC 2016-2018 (Paul Cooke, Stuart Taberner)
  • Performing the Jewish Archive, AHRC 2014-18 (Helen Finch)
  • Traumatic Pasts, Cosmopolitanism, and Nation-Building in Contemporary German and South African Literature, Leverhulme Trust 2014-2018 (Stuart Taberner)
  • Cosmopolitan Memory in Literature from Germany and South Africa, British Academy, 2014-2018 (Stuart Taberner)
  • AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with Imperial War Museum, AHRC 2014-2017 (Ingrid Sharp)
  • Engaging Young Black Britons with the Relevance of The Holocaust, AHRC 2015-2016 (Stuart Taberner)
  • ‘Kriegsgefangen in Skipton: History of a Local POW Camp’, University of Leeds Ignite 2015-2016 (Caroline Summers)
  • ‘German-Language Literature and Transnationalism’, AHRC 2013-2016 (Stuart Taberner)
  • Germany’s Confrontation with the Holocaust in a Global Context, AHRC 2014-2015 (Stuart Taberner)
  • Transnational Holocaust Memory: an international network (World University Network, 2014)
  • ‘The politics of transmission of Holocaust testimony in the German cultural field’, AHRC 2013-14 (Helen Finch)
  • Women's Organisations and Female Activists in the Aftermath of War: International Perspectives 1918-1923, AHRC 2012-2013 (Ingrid Sharp)
  • Legacies of War 1914-18/2014-18, AHRC 2012-2013 (Ingrid Sharp)
  • Difficult Pasts in Germany and South Africa (British Academy, 2012)
  • ‘From Victims to Perpetrators - German Wartime Suffering’, AHRC 2005-2008 (Stuart Taberner)
  • Centre for Translation Studies
  • Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures
  • Centre for World Literatures
  • European Popular Musics
  • Family Sagas in World Literatures and Audio-Visual Cultures
  • The Eighteenth Century Studies Seminar
  • Language at Leeds
  • Orcit.eu
  • Using Digital Tools to Challenge Xenophobia and Support International Development in South Africa
  • Using Film to Examine Heritage, Identity and Global Citizenship: supporting the work of the Bautzen Memorial to Engage New Audiences.