Dr Annie Ring

Dr Annie Ring

Associate Professor


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2015

Research summary

I am the author of two monographs: After the Stasi (Bloomsbury 2015, second edition 2017) and The Lives of Others (BFI Film Classics, 2022). After the Stasi combines close readings of literary works by victims and spies from former East Germany with extracts from the Stasi files. In writing the book, I drew on insights from key works of literary modernism and from cultural theories of the self, surveillance and sovereignty in order to explore the culture of collaboration that existed both in the GDR and in its aftermath.

My 2022 BFI Film Classics volume on The Lives of Others offers a fresh approach to the remarkable German film about a Stasi surveillance officer and the moral and ethical turmoil that results when he begins spying on a playwright and an actress. I introduce the film's formal aspects, trace connections with Hollywood and draw on archival sources, including Stasi files, to interrogate its claims to historical authenticity. And through chapters on each of the main characters, I examine the way the film tracks the world-changing political shift that took place at the end of the Cold War, away from the collective dreams of socialism and towards the dreams of the private individual.

In 2020-1 I was awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Research Fellowship to work on a new book about surveillance in German film and video since 2000.

I am also co-editor of the volumes Architecture and Control (ed. by Ring, Steiner and Veel, Brill 2018), Uncertain Archives: Critical Keywords for Big Data (ed. by Thylstrup, Agostinho, Ring, D’Ignazio and Veel, MIT Press 2021; forthcoming in simplified Chinese translation in 2023), and the forthcoming Citational Media: Counter-Archives and Technology in Contemporary Visual Culture (ed. by Ring and Bollington, under contract for publication in 2023 with MHRA Legenda: Visual Cultures). 

My articles on German and comparative film, literature and digital media have appeared in journals including Surveillance & Society, Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies, German Life and Letters, Forum for Modern Language Studies and Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory, as well as in edited volumes published in the US, UK and Germany.

My work enjoys a public audience too: I have written for the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, and contributed to the blogs of Club des Femmes and the Independent Cinema Office, and I have been invited to speak at the British Film Institute, London Cinema Museum, Hackney Arts Picturehouse, and the Goethe Institut London. I am a founding member and on the steering group of the German Screen Studies Network, which introduces UK audiences to German-language cinema.

Teaching summary

I teach German and comparative film, digital media, literature, cultural theory and translation at UCL. 


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow | 2017
University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2012
University of Cambridge
Other higher degree, Master of Philosophy | 2008
University of Leeds
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 2007


I am Associate Professor of German and Film in UCL’s School of European Languages, Culture and Society. My research focuses on German and comparative film and the politics of subjectivity.  I hold a PhD in German (2012) and an MPhil in European Literature and Culture (2008), both from the University of Cambridge, and a BA (Hons) in French and German from University of Leeds (2007). Before joining UCL, I was Research Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, UK (2012-2015). I joined the editorial board of the Paragraph journal of modern critical theory in 2021.