The next conference of the International Walter Benjamin Society will be held in Oxford at Worcester College and the Taylorian Institute on 24th-27th September 2017. To coincide with the conference, there will be a small exhibition at the Bodleian Library on the theme of “Reading with Benjamin,” which will include Kafka manuscripts, and other Benjamin-related rarities.
To celebrate Oxford’s Bonn Week, Oxford’s Chair of Medieval German Literature and Linguistics, Prof. Henrike Lähnemann, is looking for German speakers who would like to take part in a public reading of Martin Luther’s ‘Sendbrief vom Dolmetschen’ in German which is scheduled to take place on 25 May, 4-5:30pm, at the Taylor Institution Library, Oxford.
“Walter Benjamin and Method: Re-thinking the Legacy of the Frankfurt School”
The conference, at the University of Oxford, 25th-27th September 2017, will be organized in six thematic strands with two convenors each. Panels in each strand will consist of three 20-minute papers. Proposals (250 words) for 20-minute papers in either English or German should be submitted by 7th April 2017.
The University of Oxford has been ranked 3rd in the prestigious QS World University Rankings for Modern Languages, just behind Harvard University and the University of Cambridge, with the coveted top five-star rating for research, innovation, and teaching.
L’idée vient en parlant: These words will serve as a basis for exploring – in English and German – how the debate about knowledge is configured in literary texts, to what extent it determines the poetic reflections of specific authors, and what might be the methodological and theoretical implications.
Women in German Studies is a professional organisation for Germanists in Great Britain and Ireland which was founded in 1988 by Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages. From 22 to 24 June 2017 the conference will come to Oxford for the first time, to explore the topics ‘reform’ and ‘revolt’ across German history, literature and culture.
An interview with Henrike Lähnemann, Professor of Medieval German, was recently published in Letter, the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) alumni magazine. Henrike discusses her reactions to the Brexit vote, and those of people around her in the UK, and thoughts on how it will affect British universities.
On Thursday 1 December 2016, Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly was conferred with an Honorary DLitt by the National University of Ireland in Dublin. She is an alumna of the NUI, having studied German and Spanish at University College Cork for her BA and German for her MA, before taking the degree of Dr. Phil at the University of Basel.
The University of Oxford, founded some nine centuries ago, has enjoyed the closest links, throughout its long history, with the great centres of learning across Europe. The Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages has been in the vanguard of welcoming and integrating students and scholars from the whole Continent to work with its own academic community in promoting knowledge of European languages, cultures and society.
The OUSU Student-led Teaching Awards provide students every year with direct opportunities to recognise excellence in teaching by nominating their tutors and lecturers for awards in various categories, including Most Acclaimed Lecturer, Outstanding Tutor and Outstanding Supervisor. This year there was a record number of nominations from all four Divisions. At the Awards Ceremony at the Town Hall on 3rd May, in the presence of the Vice-Chancellor, the award for Most Acclaimed Lecturer in Humanities was won by Dr Kevin Hilliard, Fellow and Tutor in German at St Peter’s and Hertford.
Oxford University has come top in the 2016 QS World University Rankings for Modern Languages. The annual QS World University Rankings is a comprehensive guide to the world’s top universities in a range of popular subject areas. Using data on reputation and research citations, the rankings highlight the 200 top universities in the world for 30 individual subjects.
Seven UK universities made the top 50 for Modern Languages, with the University of Oxford ranked first.
Oxford alumna Imogen Taylor has won the 2016 Goethe-Institut Award for New Translation. This year’s judges were Anthea Bell, Jens Boyer and Paula Johnson. Imogen Taylor studied French and German at New College, Oxford and the Humboldt University in Berlin. She now works as a freelance translator and academic in Berlin. Her translations include Sascha Arango’s The Truth and Other Lies. Taylor receives an award of €1,000 and will attend the 2016 Leipzig Book Fair between 17 and 20 March, including the International Translators’ meeting on 13 March.
Daljit Nagra – Radio 4 & 4 Extra’s Poet in Residence – has selected Karen Leeder’s ‘Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus — Dancing the Orange’ for Radio 4 Extra’s ‘Poetry Extra’ slot on Sunday 24th April 2016 at 5.00pm, with a repeat the next morning.
Bids are invited for EHRC small grants (£2,500) that enhance the visibility of research in Modern Languages. This challenge stems from the idea that there is much going on in Modern Languages which would profit from showcasing.
The challenge should be to encourage everybody working in Modern Languages (faculty, librarians, students) to:
think about the visibility of their research in ways which profit their ongoing work
share best practice in documenting outreach, using social media
link up within the university as much as with external partners
6 January 2016: More than 100 students and academics from Oxford University have translated extracts from great French writers of the eighteenth century to demonstrate the importance of freedom and tolerance in French literature and thought.
A book of these translated quotations is to be published tomorrow to mark the one-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
It is targeted at the general public and the authors hope it will be used for teaching in schools.
Dr Caroline Warman of the Faculty of Medieval & Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, who led the project, said: ’We hope people will be excited by the texts and that it will help them to reflect on the world we live in now.
‘We want this book to reach people thinking about tolerance and intolerance, and to inspire them to connect with our history, as they discover that major European thinkers of the past also wrote passionately about these topics.
Professor Karen Leeder has been awarded a year long Knowledge Exchange Fellowship for the Mediating Modern Poetry: Reception and Dialogue project. She will be working with the Southbank Centre, London to curate a series of events exploring aspects of modern European poetry and its transmission. A first focus is a specially curated evening exploring the reception of Rainer Maria Rilke for the biannual festival ‘Poetry International’ (July 2014). Rilke’s influence on modern culture is inescapable and has inspired poets from Auden to Zwetayava along with filmmakers, thinkers, composers and artists. An evening will be given over to events ‘After Rilke’ featuring major English-language and German poets and their wide-ranging responses to the poet and his life (translations, versions, new poems). This will feed into Leeder’s own project on ‘An English Rilke’, which teases out what makes an author travel like this and what happens to them en route (tackling a wide range of issues along the way). Thereafter a series of further events in Autumn 2014 will explore aspects of contemporary poetry in dialogue with major English and…
Annette Volfing has been elected to the ‘Kommision für Deutsche Literatur des Mittelalters’ (Committee for German literature of the Middle Ages) of the Bavarian Academy of Science and Humanities. This body has oversight of a number of prestigious research projects, notably the monograph series MTU (Münchener Texte und Untersuchungen) and a project devoted to the cataloguing of German-language illustrated medieval manuscripts. The committee, chaired by Professor Jan-Dirk Müller, has a small and very distinguished membership. In recent years, Nigel Palmer has been the only non-German member. For further details, see http://www.badw.de/orga/klassen/kl_phil/k_23_dlma/index.html
We are delighted to announce that Henrike Lähnemann, currently Chair in German Studies at the University of Newcastle, will be joining us as the Chair of Medieval German. This is one of the eight statutory chairs of the Faculty for Medieval and Modern Languages — and the first to be taken up in German by a woman in the 150 years of history of Modern Languages at Oxford. Her predecessors are Peter Ganz, the famous medievalist and editor, among other texts, of the Tristan by Gottfried of Straßburg, and Nigel F. Palmer, one of the best known academic British figures in German medieval Studies. She will start her new job on 1 January 2015.
Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly, FBA, learned on 3 May 2013 that her application for a collaborative research grant to HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) was one of 18 successful projects. The 3-year grant of almost 1 million Euros will enable her to work with colleagues in Germany, Poland and Sweden on ‘Marrying Cultures: Queens Consort and European Identities 1500-1800’. The focus of the project is the foreign consort as agent of cultural transfer. Among the case studies to be investigated are the Polish princess Katarzyna Jagiellonka, Duchess of Finland and Queen of Sweden (1526-83); Hedwig Eleonora, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp and Queen of Sweden (1636-1715); the Portuguese princess Catarina of Braganza, Queen of Great Britain (1638-1705); and Maria Amalia, Princess of Saxony, Queen of the Two Sicilies and Queen of Spain (1724-1760).
On Tuesday 18 June languages teachers from across Oxfordshire joined languages lecturers from Oxford University to share their expertise in Oxford’s first ever MFL teachmeet. A teachmeet is a bit like a conference but each presentation lasts for a short period of time – usually two or five minutes. Each presenter explains an activity or technique which has worked well for them. It’s about sharing best practice, inspiring others and making connections with other educators.
The event was organised by Helen Swift, University Lecturer in Medieval French and Schools Liaison Officer for the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, and the heads of languages in the OCL (Oxford City Learning) schools: Cheney, Wheatley Park, Matthew Arnold, St. Gregory The Great and Oxford Spires. These schools work together to share ideas, challenge and support each other. 35 teachers and lecturers attended the event. Most of the teachers were from OCL schools but there were also representatives from Henry Box, Bartholomew and Didcot Girls.
The impact of the introduction of the EBacc performance measure can be felt in this year’s GCSE numbers, with modern foreign languages up by 15.8%.
French numbers are up from 153,436 to 177,288 (up 15.5%). German up from 57,547 to 62,932 (up 9.4%). Spanish up from 72,606 to 91,315 (up 25.8%). Other languages up from 29,843 to 31,368 (up 5.1%).
The figures show a change in market share: Spanish now represents over a quarter of GCSE entries (25.2%), taking one percentage point each from German (17.3%) and other languages (8.6%), while French retains just under half of total entries (48.9%).
The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities – Taylor InstitutionNovember 1-2, 2013Conveners: Martin McLaughlin and Javier Muñoz-Basols
The first of three annual EHRC workshops on translation will be held on 1-2 November 2013 in TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities), Woodstock Rd, and in the Taylor Institution, St Giles.
Conveners: Martin McLaughlin and Javier Muñoz-Basols, with the assistance of Dr Elisabetta Tarantino
If you are interested in studying Modern Languages at Oxford, and would like to get a taster of what it would be like, why not apply to take part in a UNIQ Summer School?
UNIQ Summer schools are for UK students from state schools, currently studying for AS Levels (lower sixth form). The courses for 2012 will include French, German, Spanish and a new course in Beginners’ Languages. As well as engaging in an intense academic programme which will give you a good idea of what studying at Oxford is like, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in a varied social programme including theatre trips, sports activities, and drama workshops.
Alex Rawlings, a second-year student reading German and Russian at St Catherine’s College, has won a national competition to find the UK’s most multilingual student. To hear him speak all eleven languages, go to:
On Friday 4 May 2012 the Deputy Director of the Bodleian, Dr Richard Ovenden, launched the Early Modern Festival Books Database in the Divinity School in Oxford. The database is a freely available online resource to enable researchers to access more than three thousand descriptions in twelve languages of early modern festivals at courts and cities throughout Europe (http://festivals.mml.ox.ac.uk).
These works are often splendidly illustrated accounts of coronations, christenings and weddings, of tournaments, ballets, and operas and are a vital source of information for art historians, musicologists and historians of the period. Dr Ovenden commented: ‘How wonderful to be standing in a 15th century building, launching a 21st century research tool that will enable scholars to use 16th, 17th and 18th printed books!’
Fortunately Marie Antoinette and Maria Amalia, Queen of Naples (Charlotte Marshall of St Catherine’s and Nicola Deboys of Pembroke, both Second Year students of German sole, were able to attend.
Professor Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly is Chair of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and a fellow of Exeter College, specialising in German literature and culture in the period 1450-1750. She has worked extensively on the culture of the European courts, on writing by women and on the representation of women in German literature from 1500 to the present.
Sir Adam Roberts, President of the Academy said: “The new Fellows, who come from 23 institutions across the UK, have outstanding expertise across the board – from social policy and government, to sign language and music. Our Fellows play a vital role in sustaining the Academy’s activities — from identifying excellence to be supported by research awards, to contributing to policy reports and speaking at the Academy’s public events. Their presence in the Academy will help it to sustain its support for research across the humanities and social sciences, and to inspire public interest in these disciplines.”
The network is an initiative of the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, with the support of the Founding Partners Jesus College, Oxford, Magdalen College School, Oxford, and BMW Group Plant Oxford. It is designed to encourage and promote the study and enjoyment of German-language culture in the Oxford area and beyond, and will work closely with schools of all types as well as university departments, organisations and companies at a local and national level.
Alongside the website, the network’s core activities will include facilitating workshops and events for learners of German and running a national competition: the Oxford German Olympiad.
The 2011 Sylvia Naish Lecture will be held on Thursday, 24 March 2011 and will be given by Alexandra Lloyd (Wadham College, Oxford) on ‘Zeitzeugen’ and ‘Sachzeugen’: the Physical Legacy of Third Reich Childhood.
The Sylvia Naish Lectures were launched in memory of Sylvia Naish, an accomplished linguist, translator, Friend of Germanic Studies and benefactor of the former Institute of Germanic Studies.
Each year, research students registered for higher degrees in the field of Germanic studies at Universities in the United Kingdom are invited to submit proposals for the next lecture. The event forms part of the Institute’s programme of activities, open to the public. The theme of the lecture should be related to the student’s topic of research. Modest travel and/or accommodation expenses as appropriate will be covered by the Sylvia Naish Bequest. The lecture is published in abridged form in the next issue of the Newsletter, annual magazine of the Friends of Germanic Studies.
A memorial service for Gudrun Loftus, Senior Language Instructor in German, will take place in St John’s Chapel on Friday 6 May 2011, 11am, followed by a reception in the Garden Quad Reception Room, St John’s College.
All friends, colleagues, and students past and present are welcome to attend (there is no need to RSVP).
Ritchie Robertson, MA Edin, MA D.PHIL Oxf, Official Fellow in German, St John’s College, and Professor of German, has been appointed to the Taylor Professorship of the German Language and Literature in the Sub-faculty of German, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, with effect from 1 October 2010. Professor Robertson will be a fellow of Queen’s College.
The Chair of the Faculty Board is sad to announce that Mrs Gudrun Loftus, the Senior Language Instructor in German, died as the result of a tragic accident on Tuesday. Colleagues and students past and present will share our sense of loss, and our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time. Funeral arrangements will be circulated in due course and the Faculty hopes to arrange an occasion later in the academic year at which we can remember her.
Many of those who were shocked by the untimely death of Gudrun Loftus in a tragic accident have expressed the lasting importance which her teaching has had for them: for almost twenty years, she had been at the heart of German language teaching at the University of Oxford. When she took up her post in 1990, this marked a new departure for her as well as for the university, which created her post in response to the fact that the teaching of Modern Languages at schools had changed significantly. The shift in emphasis towards fluency in the spoken command of a foreign language had improved the ability of school-leavers to hold a conversation, but for many, writing in German and expressing themselves with accuracy was an increasingly unfamiliar and rather daunting task. Gudrun Loftus was a vigorous advocate of teaching grammar systematically in order to enable students to aspire towards speaking and writing like native speakers, and she was instrumental in putting together a course that helped students to achieve this. She was famously strict in her marks; students knew that the standards she expected were high, and that she had very clear views on what was and…
“Gerry, Oliver and family would like to sincerely thank Oxford University’s German Faculty staff and students and St John’s College for the many warm tributes to Gudrun as a much valued colleague and teacher, following her untimely death in Oxford recently.
Our sincere thanks also go to those who attended her requiem mass in St Bernardine’s Church in Buckingham, and to those who sent cards, flowers and donations in Gudrun’s name for World Villages for Children.”