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Research in German studies – University of Reading

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  • Political discourse

    Investigating silence and concealment in political discourse
    Project lead: Dr Melani Schroeter

Research in German studies

The main strands of research in German Studies within the Department of Modern Languages and European Studies cover German film, East German Studies, Translation Studies, travel writing, Critical Discourse Analysis and German political and media discourse, including silence and absence in discourses.

Research centres

German Studies is host to the Archive for East German Studies, which has acted as a centre of excellence for the study and research into the politics and culture of the former GDR and post-unification East Germany for several decades. Staff actively collaborate with the University's Special Collections as well as with the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM) and with the Departments of English Language and Applied Linguistics, Film, Theatre and Television, and English Literature.

Staff research interests

The main areas of staff research activity in German Studies are given below. These are the main areas in which we provide postgraduate research supervision, but do get in touch if you are interested in a related topic, as supervision can be arranged jointly with other departments or one of our partners.

 Dr Alison Martin

  • Comparative Literature (particularly Anglo-German cultural relations)
  • Translation Theory
  • Publishing History
  • Travel Writing
  • Literature and Science
  • Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Anglo-German Cultural Transfer
  • European Modernism.

Dr Melani Schroeter

  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Political Discourse
  • Media Discourse
  • Silence and Absence in Discourse and Communication
  • Counter Discourses
  • Comparative Approaches to Discourse
  • Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies.

Dr Ute Wölfel

  • German Film
  • War Cinema and East German Cinema
  • Childhood and Film
  • GDR Literature and Culture

 Staff research activities and collaborations

Dr Alison E. Martin
Dr Alison E. Martin is the author of Moving Scenes: The Aesthetics of German Travel Writing on England, 1783 - 1830 (Legenda, 2008) and Nature Translated: Alexander von Humboldt's Works in Nineteenth-Century Britain (EUP, 2018). She co-edited Travel Narratives in Translation, 1750-1830: Nationalism, Ideology, Gender (Routledge, 2012) and Travel Writing in Dutch and German, 1790-1830: Modernity, Regionality, Mobility (Routledge, 2017). She is currently researching the European reception of the British modernist writer Vita Sackville-West and has co-edited a special edition (2018) of Modernist Cultures. Dr Alison Martin is the lead of the 'Intellectuals and Networks' research cluster. 

Dr Melani Schroeter

Dr Melani Schröeter is the author of Silence and Concealment in Political Discourse (John Benjamins, 2013) and co-editor, with Charlotte Taylor, of Exploring Silence and Absence in Discourse: Empirical Approaches (Palgrave, 2017). She publishes about comparative approaches to keywords in public discourse, partly following her AHRC-funded project Researching and Documenting Key Words in European Migration Discourses (2012) and partly looking at the use of German Nazi vocabulary in other languages. Her publications also deal with German political discourse more widely, and also focussing on German anti-political correctness discourse. Dr Schröeter is also a member of the Centre of Multilingualism and Literacy (CeLM). Dr Schröeter's research contributes to the activities of the 'Corpora, Manuscripts, and Archives' and 'Identity, Migration, and Conflict' research clusters.

Dr Ute Wolfel

Dr Ute Wolfel has published on East German literature and culture, and German film, particularly East German cinema and German war film. Supported by a grant from the British Academy, she has worked on the cinematic representation of children in the context of World War II. Besides the figure of the war child, her research focusses on figures of transgression such as traitors or deserters in war cinema, exploring their potential for cultural regeneration. 

Dr Wolfel is head of the East German Studies Archive which hosts an extensive collection of materials and publications from and about the GDR. 


Past and present research projects

Mediated representations of contemporary feminism in Germany and the UK (ongoing)

  • Sophie Payne (SWW DTP)
  • Supervisor: Dr Melani Schroeter and Dr Virpi Ilänne (Cardiff)

The Works of Christa Wolf (Ongoing)

  • Caroline Rowan-Olive
  • Supervisors: Dr Ute Wölfel and Prof Dennis Tate (Bath)

The misogyny of the Trümmerfilm: space and gender in post-war German film (2017)

  • Richard McKenzie
  • Supervisor: Dr Ute Wölfel

Popular opinion and integration in Post-War Germanies

  • Ronny Heidenreich
  • Supervisor: Dr Ute Wölfel

Recent and on-going PhDs in German Studies span a broad range of periods and topics, and we welcome enquiries and proposals relating both to discrete specialisms and to interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary work.


PhD opportunities


As a PhD student in the Modern Languages and European Studies Department, you will be provided with a desk in a shared office.

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