French/Francophone | German | Italian | Spanish | Latin American
Literature | Translation studies | Cultural studies | History of ideas | Comparative studies | Memory studies

The Institute provides first-class PhD supervision and guidance from academics who are leaders in their field, in collaboration with specialists at other institutions where appropriate. Distance-learning and part-time study options are available.

The Institute’s research strength lies in the combination of the study of several language fields: French, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Our academic staff specialise in literature, cultural studies, history of ideas and comparative studies: the city (especially Berlin, Trieste), borders, the body, psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality, feminism, women's writing, Jewish writing, exile writing, and children's literature.

Because of its function as a centre for academic events in European culture, the Institute has national and international contacts with researchers in its fields. The Institute is thus particularly well placed to offer supervision for projects that cross national and disciplinary boundaries.

Students have access to networks associated with the Centres for German and Austrian Exile Studies, Contemporary Women’s Writing, Cultural Memory, Quebec and French-Canadian Studies, Ernst Bloch, and Austrian Literature and Culture. Supervision is available in Francophone/North African Studies through the Centre for Postcolonial Studies.

Research degrees can be completed on a full-time basis (up to four years) or on a part-time basis (up to seven years). The Institute can also offer students the opportunity to undertake their PhD by distance learning.

Projects undertaken by research students at the Institute include:

  • Reading Clarice Lispector through the work of Toni Morrison and Bessie Head (with the Department of English, Birkbeck, and the Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, KCL)
  • The cultural re-cycling of Spanish historical women: Juana la Loca and Mariana Pineda
  • Memory and the city in the Chilean transition to democracy
  • The role of the mid-18th-century German court in the development of the 'ballet d'action'
  • The polarization of surface and depth in Heinrich Heine's Buch der Lieder
  • Martin Heidegger as a reader of Rilke
  • Hölderlin's and Celan's schizopoetics
  • The relationship between Richard Gerstl and Arnold Schönberg
  • Generational discourse in post-war journals of the young generation, 1945-1949
  • Discourses of democracy, consumption, youth and women in the Weimar Republic newspaper, Tempo, 1928-1933
  • Stefan Zweig and China
  • Lower Silesia in historiography, geography and literature
  • Hans Sachs and satire
  • Nostalgia, hope and longing in American culture: a Blochean perspective
  • Literature of the Kindertransport

Enquiries about research supervision should be addressed to the Director, Professor Catherine Davies, sending a cv and a research proposal (catherine.davies@sas.ac.uk).

 

Supervisors

Professor Catherine Davies

Professor Davies has published widely on 19th- and 20th-century Spanish and Spanish American literature, history and culture. She specializes in the following fields: women's writing; historical fiction; intellectual history; gender studies; the political essay, and poetry. She is particularly interested in the cultures, histories and literatures of Spain, Galicia, Cuba, Argentina and Colombia. Professor Davies has successfully supervised a large number of PhD theses on, for example: Rosa Chacel, Diamela Eltit, Silvia Galvis, Spanish Romantic literature, Galician women's writing, Cuban crime fiction,  African-Cuban poetry, Colombian literature, Women novelists in 20th-century Spain, and Latin American women's Testimonio. She has also examined many PhD theses in the UK and internationally. Her recent co-authored book, South American Independence: Gender, Politics, Text (2006)  is on the literature and culture of the Independence period in early 19th-century Spanish America and Spain explored from a gender inflected perspective.  

 

Dr Dominic Glynn

Dr Glynn has wide-ranging research interests, but his main area of scientific enquiry is contemporary French theatre and literature. He has written about the work of writers and directors active in the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st. His book (Re)telling Old Stories honed in on two landmark productions by directors Peter Brook and Ariane Mnouchkine, in order to outline general characteristics of the theatrical field in the 1980s and 1990s. His latest research project addresses the central question of the writer’s standing within French theatre over the last 30 years. The specific objectives of this multi-annual research venture are three-fold. First, to identify the emergence of new authorial voices and to reflect on opportunities available for living writers. Second, to consider the strategies used by writers to promote their work and to establish themselves. Third, to highlight how these strategies relate to the emergence of un- or post-dramatic forms of writing for the stage. Dr Glynn’s expertise in contemporary French theatre and literature has been honed not only by his academic research, but also by working as a dramaturge and translator in France. Moreover, he is the author of a short work of fiction, Lignes de fuite.

 

Dr Katia Pizzi

Dr Pizzi specializes in modern Italian studies, with particular interest in the literature of the inter-war years. Her books A City in Search of An Author: The Cultural Identity of Trieste (2001) and Trieste: triestinita`, italianita` e male di frontiera (2007) explore cultural identity and memory in Trieste and the north-eastern borders in Italy. Her research further encompasses the European and Futurist avant-garde, especially the relation with machine culture and technology, as well as children’s literature, illustration and comics in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Publications in this domain range from Pinocchio Puppets and Modernity: The Mechanical Body (2011) to numerous articles and chapters on children’s literature and nationalism, the Unification, Antonio Rubino’s illustrations and European comics. Dr Pizzi has supervised doctoral theses on as broad a range of subjects as modern and contemporary Italian writers, the concentration camp Risiera di San Sabba, Pinocchio, fable and myth.

Dr Johan Siebers 

Dr Johan Siebers (Associate Fellow, IMLR/Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Middlesex University) is available for dissertation and thesis supervision in the area of post-Kantian German philosophy. His own work investigates the possibilities of metaphysical thinking today and he is committed to the idea that the purpose of philosophy is the liberation of the mind. His research interests include critical theory; German idealism; metaphysics; being and speculative philosophy; aesthetics; philosophy of language, dialogue and communication; religious experience; temporality and futurity; existentialism and psychoanalysis. He is also interested in the relations between German and classical American thought (Transcendentalism, Emerson, pragmatism, Whitehead and process philosophy). He has a special, but not exclusive, interest in the philosophy of Ernst Bloch and lead the Ernst Bloch Centre, to be establised at the IMLR.

Dr Anne Simon 

Dr Simon specializes in German Studies in the mediaeval and early modern periods, with particular reference to the impact of these periods on subsequent eras. Her book The Cult of Saint Katherine of Alexandria in Nuremberg: Saint and a City draws on a wide variety of textual and visual sources to explore interrelated themes: the shaping of urban space through the cult of Saint Katherine, her role in the moulding and advertising patrician identity and alliances through cultural patronage; and patrician use of the saint to showcase the city's political, economic, cultural and religious importance at the heart of the Holy Roman Empire. Her research and publications also encompasses travel literature from all periods; Early Modern women’s letters; the history of the book; didactic literature for women; and the relationship between text and image. Dr Simon has supervised work on a wide range of topics from the Middle Ages to the present, including artistic and cultural patronage; the Reformation; Hans Sachs; travel literature; publishing history; marginal groups; the National Socialist use of the Middle Ages; and Nuremberg’s contemporary self-marketing.

Dr Godela Weiss-Sussex

Dr Weiss-Sussex's main research interests lie in the culture and literature of the 20th and 21st centuries in the following areas: women’s writing, the works of German-Jewish writers produced in Germany and in exile; modernism, the city in literature and the visual arts; biology and literature. Her main current research projects focus on German-Jewish women’s writing in the 20th and 21st centuries as ‘minor literature’; metropolitan consumer culture and the literary imagination; translingual writing. Her recent publications include the monograph Jüdin und Moderne. Literarisierungen der Lebenswelt deutsch-jüdischer Autorinnen in Berlin, 1900-1918 [The Jewish Woman and Modernity. Literary reflections on Jewishness, femininity and urban life by female German-Jewish authors in Berlin, 1900-1918] (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016), and (co-edited with Ulrike Zitzlsperger): Tales of Commerce and Imagination: Literary and Cinematic Contributions to the Department Store Debate in the Early 20th Century (Frankfurt/Main: Lang, 2015).