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While numbers of students of German at British universities fell by 30% in the last decade, Korean saw an increase of 300%. In response, University Council of Modern Languages called for a transformation of the discipline by diversifying the research and teaching landscape. Dr Watroba's project addresses this call through a case study on the wide-ranging creative reception of the landmark German modernist writer Franz Kafka in contemporary Korean culture to investigate how literary brands such as the ‘Kafkaesque’ and the ‘Korean Wave’ interact. 

Dr Watroba is using her British Academy Talent Development Award to further develop her Korean language skills through an intensive language course in Seoul, significantly expand her network of research contacts in Korea, advance the emerging field of Asian German studies, and further the methodology of comparative Modern Languages through various research outputs and teaching activities, including: 

  • Ann Moss Early Career Keynote Lecture at the conference ‘Where Are We Now? The Location of Modern Languages and Cultures’, Durham University (April 2023);
  • paper at the Korean Kafka Society conference in Seoul (September 2023);
  • lectures and seminars at Yonsei University and Ewha Womans University in Seoul (September 2023) and University of Oxford (February 2024);
  • chapter in Metamorphoses: In Search of Franz Kafka (London: Profile, forthcoming in 2024), an unconventional biography which tells Kafka’s story through the stories of his readers around the world, focusing on Oxford, Berlin, Prague, Jerusalem, and Seoul.