Dr Helen Finch
- Position: Associate Professor in German
- Areas of expertise: German; Literature and the Holocaust; W. G. Sebald; H. G. Adler; Fred Wander; cultural trauma; gender in German culture; queer studies; postcolonial German studies; cultural memory
- Email: H.C.Finch@leeds.ac.uk
- Phone: +44(0)113 343 3510
- Location: 2.16 Michael Sadler Building
- Website: LGBT+ Role Model Page | Googlescholar | ORCID
I am currently working on literature and memoirs written by surviors of the Shoah in German. I also have a longstanding interest in queer masculinities and utopias in German literature and culture. My monograph on queer masculine identities in the works of W. G. Sebald, Sebald's Bachelors: Queer Resistance and the Unconforming Life, appeared with Legenda in 2013.
I direct the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures’ Centre for Pedagogic Research in the Arts (PRIA), and I am a member of the University’s Centre for Jewish Studies and the Centre for World Literatures.
I was educated at the Universities of Dublin and Glasgow, and taught at the Universities of Dublin, Ulster and Liverpool. I have been teaching at the University of Leeds since 2009, where I have held various teaching, leadership and research roles including Director of Student Education for the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies (2014-2017). I am also active as a member of the LCS Equality and Inclusion committee and in the University LGBT+ staff network.
- Programme Manager for Joint Honours programmes in Languages and Cultures & Arts.
- Director of PRIA (Pedagogical Research in the Arts)
- Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures Student Education Lead for Portfolio
I am currently working on a second monograph, entitled German-Jewish Life Writing in the Aftermath of the Shoah: Beyond Testimony. This monograph focusses on the literary aftermath of witnessing in the wake of the Holocaust. It examines the transnational literary careers of five German-Jewish literary witnesses to the Holocaust, looking at the way that canonisation, exclusion from the canon, and a lifetime of witnessing are reflected in their later literary work. I am also currently writing an article about queer Holocaust memory.
Recent postgraduate projects supervised include:
Min Zou, “Flying off Over the Combat Zone: Queer Aesthetic in David Henry Hwang’s Plays and its Medium Performance” (PhD 2020-present)
Corey Hartley, “ Dismantling the Binary: Exploring the interplay between Literature and the social positioning of gender in postmodern society (PhD 2020-present)
Hannie Phillips, “The poetics of post-Holocaust memorial” (PhD 2018-present)
Pete Freeth, “Look who's back in the frame: The translator's visibility in the digital paratextual framings of translated literary texts” (PhD 2018-present)
Ian Ellison, “Melancholy cosmopolitan novels. Late European fiction at the turn of the twenty-first century” (PhD 2015-2019)
Dominic O'Key: "Creaturely Forms: Encounters with Animality in W. G. Sebald, J. M. Coetzee, and Mahasweta Devi" (PhD 2016-2019)
Alexandru Bar: "The double identity of Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco - the archives of an identity issue" ( Performing the Jewish Archive Project PhD 2015-2018)
John March: "German Exile Photographers in Britain 1933-45" (MAR 2014-2017)
I welcome approaches from students interested in researching the following areas:
- Comparative literature
- German literature
- The representation of the Holocaust
- Queer identities and poetics
- Gender and politics in German literature
- The works of W. G. Sebald and H. G. Adler
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2014)
- PhD in German literature (Trinity College Dublin)
- M. Phil in Modern German Thought (University of Glasgow)
- B. A. in German and Russian (Trinity College Dublin)
- Women in German Studies
- Association of German Studies in Britain and Ireland
- German Studies Association of America
I teach German cultural studies at all levels, and contribute to cross-School and cross-Faculty modules on intercultural studies, world literature, the representation of the Shoah, translation, and visual culture. I direct the Centre for Pedagogic Research in the Arts (PRiA), and support Faculty work on Portfolio (module and programme approvals, design and strategy).
I have authored an article about the critical pedagogy of Peter Handke: Finch, H. On teaching Handke: Canon and curriculum in the wake of the Nobel Prize. Collateral 2021, 31.
I have co-authored a forthcoming article about curriculum diversification and decolonisation in German at Leeds: Helen Finch, Chloé Elliott, Poppy McDonnell, ‘Trying to Be A Bit Radical: Decolonizing the German Curriculum and Empowering Students in German Studies at Leeds’, in Simone Pfleger, Carrie Smith (eds): Transverse Disciplines: Working across and beyond Academic Communities (Toronto: University of Toronto Press).
Research groups and institutes
- Centre for World Literatures
- Centre for Jewish Studies
- Literary studies
- Memory, Trauma and Violence