University of Birmingham

Institute for German Studies (IGS), University of Birmingham

Summary of the project: Shifting Constellations: Germany and Global (Dis)Order

This DAAD-funded research project seeks to analyse, from a range of disciplinary and geographical perspectives, how Germany is navigating significant disruptions to the “liberal international order”. The project seeks to explore Germany’s roles in response to these disruptions, to understand self-perceptions, expectations and contestations within Germany and from its partners in global politics, and explore how Germany negotiates and enacts its various roles and its relations with some of its key partners and challengers in these turbulent times.

The project will explore Germany’s roles in, and responses to, shifting global constellations in four core research strands: 1) Institutions; 2) People; 3) Media; 4) Ideas and Identities.

Focused around these core research strands, the project will bring staff and early career researchers to the IGS from DAAD German and European Studies Centres in China (Peking University), Japan (University of Tokyo), Poland (University of Wroclaw), the Russian Federation (St. Petersburg State University), and the USA (Brandeis University), as well as from universities in Germany and the UK, for two interdisciplinary research workshops and a concluding international conference.

The project’s collaborations with partner institutions in key regions across the globe will facilitate the exchange of expertise on shifting constellations in the world today and consolidate the role of IGS Birmingham as a primary hub for the support and inspiration of German Studies in the United Kingdom, as well as its reputation as a leading global research centre.

Contact: Dr Nicholas Martin –

University College London and University of York

Summary of the project: ‘Violence Elsewhere’: Imagining Violence outside Germany since 1945

This two-year interdisciplinary project (2018-20) is led by Dr Clare Bielby of the Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS), University of York and Dr Mererid Puw Davies, Department of German, UCL, alongside an expert group from the Universities of Cambridge, Birmingham and Utrecht, Kings College London and the House of the Wannsee Conference, Berlin.

We will undertake critical analysis of ‘violence elsewhere’ in different cultural forms, from an interdisciplinary and gendered perspective. That is, we investigate constructions in recent German culture of violence taking place in distant, imagined or temporally distinct times and places. This enquiry matters because today, discourses and images of violence proliferate and circulate transnationally in unprecedented ways. ‘Violence elsewhere’, we propose, offers a stage where violence can become imaginable, representable and doable in very clear and specific ways. Moreover, in contemporary Germany, constructions of violence committed outside the country’s borders hold particular significance because of Germany’s history of violence and war in the twentieth century. Imagining, representing and perpetrating violence since 1945 in German culture has been especially fraught, and this case demands distinctive attention.

Our group, along with invited speakers, will explore ‘violence elsewhere’ through four themed workshops and public events in the UK leading to an international conference on this field since 9/11. Publications and online resources follow.

The project founds a new, inter/multi-disciplinary field of academic enquiry which will help illuminate Germany’s recent history and its present. It therefore raises the profile of German Studies and issues in contemporary Germany in UK universities and beyond.


Dr Clare Bielby, Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS), University of York

Dr Mererid Puw Davies
Department of German / School of European Languages, Cultures and Society (SELCS), UCL