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 | Twitter | Googlescholar | ORCID
I am currently working on a book project provisionally entitled 'Holocaust Literature in German: Canon, Witness, Remediation'. 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 major second monograph, entitled 'Holocaust Literature in German: Canon, Witness, Remediation'. 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 completing an article about queer Holocaust memory.
Recent postgraduate projects supervised include:
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-)
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 Student 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
Book reviews include:
- David Kim, Cosmopolitan Parables: Trauma and Responsibility in Contemporary Germany, German Studies Review 42 (2019), 201-203
- Claudia Öhlschläger and Michael Niehaus WG Sebald-Handbuch. Leben–Werk–Wirkung Monatshefte 111 (2019), 168-169
- Leanne Dawson (ed), Queering German Culture. (Edinburgh German Yearbook 10) (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2018), Modern Language Review Vol 114, No. 3 (July 2019), 608-609
- Nikolas Jan Preuschoff, Mit Walter Benjamin. Melancholie, Geschichte und Erzählen bei W G Sebald (Heidelberg: Winter-Verlag, 2015), Germanistik in Ireland (2018)
- Espen Ingebrigtsen, Bisse ins Sacktuch. Zur mehrfachkodierten Intertextualität bei W.G. Sebald (Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2016), Monatshefte 110:2 (2018)
- Thomas Krämer, Die Poetik des Gedenkens. Zu den autobiographischen Romanen H. G. Adlers (Würzburg: Königshausen and Neumann, 2012), Modern Language Review Vol. 109, No. 1 (January 2014), 295-296
- Emily Jeremiah,Nomadic Ethics in Contemporary Women's Writing in German. Strange Subjects (Rochester: Camden House, 2012), Journal of Contemporary European Studies 21:3 (2013), 467-469
- Stephan Seitz, Geschichte als bricolage -- W.G. Sebald und die Poetik des Bastelns (Göttingen: V & R Unipress, 2011), Gegenwartsliteratur 12 (2013), 358
- John R.W. Speller, Bourdieu and Literature (OpenBook Publishers, 2012), Journal of Contemporary European Studies 20:4 (2012): 555-556.
- Gert Hofmann, Rachel MacShamhráin, Marko Pajevic & Michael Shields (eds), German and European Poetics after the Holocaust: Crisis and Creativity (Camden House, 2011), Forum for Modern Language Studies 48:4 (2012), 489.
- Markus Zisselsberger (ed.) The Undiscover'd Country. W.G. Sebald and the Poetics of Travel (Camden House, 2010), Journal of Contemporary European Studies 20:3 (2012), 410-412.
- J. J. Long, W. G. Sebald: Image, Archive, Modernity (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), Studies in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature
- Monika Shafi, ed., Approaches to Teaching Grass's The Tin Drum (New York: MLA, 2008), Journal of European Studies 2009 39, pp. 256 - 258
- Günter Grass, Beim Häuten der Zwiebel, in Focus on German Literature 16
- Bruce Duncan, Goethe's Werther and the Critics (Camden House, 2005), in Goethe Yearbook 14, pp. 224-226
- Gisela Febel; Cerstin Bauer-Funke, eds. Menschen-Konstruktionen - Künstliche Menschen in Literatur, Film, Theater und Kunst des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts(Göttingen: Wallstein, 2004), in: Focus on German Literature, Summer 2005, pp. 164-167
- 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
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 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