Prof Mererid Puw Davies

Prof Mererid Puw Davies

Professor of German Studies


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
1st Sep 1998

Research summary

My research covers modern German literature from the eighteenth century to the present day, German film and cultural studies, and comparative literature.

I have worked extensively on gender issues, women as writers and producers of culture, violence and representation, political writing, and the complex relationships between art, literature, theory and history.

These themes are reflected in my academic publications, including two books. The first, The Tale of Bluebeard in German Literature from the Eighteenth Century to the Present (2001) explores violence and gender in the German fairy tale. The second, Writing and the West German Protest Movements: The Textual Revolution (2016; and 2020 in open access) examines unorthodox text and protest cultures around 1968, from flyers to fast poetry to graffiti.

These interests are central to my current interdisciplinary, collaborative research project too, on 'Violence Elsewhere: Imagining Violence Outside Germany Since 1945' (2018-21). This project examines representations of global violence as seen through German eyes, and it asks what such visions can tell us about Germany itself today, and ways in which it is haunted by a history of violence. I am Co-Principal Investigator on this project with Dr Clare Bielby at the Centre for Women's Studies (CWS), University of York, and it is generously funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). In this project, we work both on academic events and publications, and public events and activities such as our project website and blog.

In addition, I have co-edited books on autobigraphy by women in German, and on 'Medical In/Humanities', that is, ways in which ideas about the human and humane, and the inhuman and inhumane intersect in thinking and artworks about medicine. 

Finally, I have always been deeply interested in Welsh literature, and now, and increasingly, in comparative approaches to the literatures of Wales and Germany. This exploration has led me to think critically about what we suppose to be the 'centres' and 'peripheries' of culture, and why. I am looking forward to ongoing and future work on these questions.

Teaching summary

I teach undergraduate modules in German language, translation, modern literature, culture, thought, theory and film at all levels. I have also taught comparative undergraduate modules in European Language and Cultural Studies (ELCS). 

I very much enjoyed my former role as Convenor of Graduate Studies in Comparative Literature at UCL and I teach extensively on the MA in Comparative Literature. MA dissertation supervision is important to me, and I regularly supervise students in the MA Comparative Literature, MA European Culture and Thought, MA Film Studies, MA in Gender, Society and Representation, MA Language Culture and History, and the MA and MSc in Translation Studies / Specialist Translation. Students interested in dissertation supervision are very welcome to get in touch.

I have supervised or co-supervised numerous successful PhDs, in German and comparative literature, film, culture and visual arts, and I am always very happy to hear from prospective research students.


University of Oxford
Other higher degree, Master of Studies | 1996
University of Oxford
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 1996
University of Oxford
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 1993


I studied German and French as an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford, and I was a graduate student in German and North Senior Scholar at St John’s College, Oxford. As a graduate student I also held the Hanseatic Scholarship at Hamburg University for two years, and the Richard Alewyn-Forschungsstipendium at the Freie Universität Berlin. I was a Prize Fellow at Magdalen before coming to UCL as Lecturer in German.

I have also been an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow at the Freie Universität Berlin, and a Leverhulme Research Fellow at UCL. My book on Writing and the West German Protest Movements: The Textual Revolution won the annual 'imlr books competition', and in 2019 I was honoured to be elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales. In 2018-20, I was Head of German at UCL.

I'm also a former Secretary of Women in German Studies (WIGS), and   past organiser of the WIGS Annual Conference at UCL.

One of my favourite activities is to communicate our academic interests outside the university, both my own and those of UCL's German Department and School of European Languages, Cultures and Society (SELCS) more generally. Over recent years, I've had the great pleasure of initiating and / or speaking about matters German, Welsh, literary, filmic and cultural at many public events. The events I organise often aim to showcase the quirky, the unexpected and the little-known, and make the most of striking venues when possible. I am also a regular contributor to radio.

I have published very widely in Welsh, as a critic, essayist, translator and poet. I am excited to be a Contributing Editor of a Welsh-language quarterly, O'r Pedwar Gwynt, a literary review which situates Welsh writing in a world context, and vice versa.

My poems have been published in several anthologies, including the Bloodaxe Book of Modern Welsh Poetry, and translated and published into languages beyond English too, such as Czech and Galician. I have read my work internationally, for example at the Leipzig Book Fair and the Vilenica International Literary Festival in Slovenia. I'm also very interested in the translation of poetry, especially between lesser-used languages, and I have worked with poets and translators in lesser-used languages across Europe. Finally, I'm also co-author of two children's books in Welsh.