Research Awards and Projects

Digital Critical Edition of Middle-Period Works by Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931)

AHRC Funded Project

Dr Judith Beniston (UCL, Co-I), Professor Andrew Webber (Cambridge, PI), Professor Robert Vilain (Bristol, Co-I), Dr Annja Neumann (Cambridge, research associate. Two PhD scholarships (one at UCL and one at Bristol) from October 2014.

Arthur Schnitzler is one of the leading figures in European and German-language Modernism, and unique for a writer of his stature in not having a critical edition devoted to him. Schnitzler's papers were saved from likely confiscation and destruction in Vienna in 1938 and brought to Cambridge, where the larger part of them is now held in the University Library. The archive includes early versions of many published works, and the aim is to make this rich and fascinating resource available to a wide range of users. In the course of this five-year project, scheduled to run January 2014-December 2018, the UK team will produce digital editions of a set of works from Schnitzler's middle period, transcribing manuscript material and developing an extensive critical apparatus. The corpus comprises the novel Der Weg ins Freie, the plays Professor Bernhardi and Das weite Land, and a set of less well-known puppet plays. The edition will be hosted on the website of Cambridge University Library. Alongside open access to the edited works and their apparatus, the findings of the project will be presented through international conferences and workshops, theatre productions and other events, and through publications in book and journal form.

Medical (In)humanities

UCL Grand Challenges

Dr Stephanie Bird, Dr Mark Hewitson and M. Zusi (UCL SSEES)

A multidisciplinary project exploring how medical practice and theory, and its representation, has undermined or consolidated notions of humane behaviour. Key areas include history, human rights, ethics, empathy, discourses of sovereignty, and political theory.

The title ‘Medical (in)humanities’ is a provocative response to the field of medical humanities and is designed to explore the assumptions underlying the very notion of ‘inhumanity’ in order to define what is humane. The concept of ‘inhumanity’ can already elicit objections on philosophical and ethical grounds, just as the naïve postulation of what is ‘humane’ itself reinforces particular constructions of the human and its Other.

The term ‘medical humanity’ readily aligns medical discourses with moral value and notions of the Good, but leaves open the question of whose ‘good’ is at stake. Thus ideas of the bio-political point to the modern state’s claims to control over its citizens – through medicine and medical discourse – as population and as body, whether in the Nazi camps or in the use of torture in the fight against terrorism.

The ideal of ‘the good of the patient’ is inseparable from wider discourses that may directly undermine it, such as the aspirations for the universal healthy body, healthy race or healthy use of social resources. Indeed, as psychoanalytic discourse suggests, what is deemed humane always comes at a high price.

Central to the notion of medical (in)humanity is the role that empathy plays in the definitions of personhood, usually equated with human personhood. The importance of science to the understanding of the body, medicine and diagnosis has frequently displaced the role of empathy in healing.

The objectification of the body as a complex mechanism, pervasive now in the growing trend to reduce the understanding of affect through neuroscience, often runs contrary to concerns in the humanities with understanding the subject’s relation to the other through empathy. This tension is also manifested within clinical practices that are medical and those that insist upon the value of therapeutic interaction to address traumatic symptoms.

The aim of the project is to open up what is already an inter-disciplinary venture to further avenues. Key areas of exploration will be political theory, history, discourses of sovereignty and subjectivity, human rights and security, trauma and empathy, ethics and medical ethics, and the interplay of medicine and culture. 

Current researchers are drawn from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds: history, cultural criticism, political theory, socio-linguistics, psychiatry, psychoanalysis and psychology. The project is being supported by a grant from the UCL Grand Challenges: Human Wellbeing. For further information please contact one of the project co-ordinators: 

Reverberations of War in Germany and Europe since 1945

AHRC Funded Project

Principal participants are Professor Mary Fulbrook (PI), Stephanie Bird (Co-I), Julia Wagner (research fellow), Christiane Wienand (research fellow), Gaelle Fisher (research student), Alexandra Hills (research student).

This collaborative project analyses reverberations of the Second World War across Europe through the Cold War and beyond. It hopes to shed new light on the complex legacies of war for generations of Europeans, and, through coordinated in-depth studies, develop a new theoretical approach. It is generously funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the period 2010-2014.

UCL Research Team

Principal Investigator: Professor Mary Fulbrook Co-Investigator: Dr Stephanie Bird Research Fellows: Dr Julia Wagner, Dr Christiane Wienand Research Students: Gaelle Fisher, Alexandra Hills Associate student: Christiane Grieb.

Alexandra Hills

The starting point of this project is the uneasy self-identification of Italy and Austria as historical perpetrators and victims of the historical legacy of the Third Reich. The project explores representations of war, emotions and gender in films and literature of these states, focussing primarily on the 1970s.

Christiane Grieb

This related project focuses on 'Justice by Judicial Notice: The War Crimes at Nordhausen-Dora Concentration Camp under American review, 1947.'

Research Programme

'Reverberations of war' are complex and multi-facetted, not always adequately captured by a concentration on 'collective memory'. This project focuses on four inter-related themes, selected because each intrinsically connects a later present to a difficult past: reckoning, reconciliation, reconstruction and representation.

These are often in some tension with one another: a search for 'reckoning', for example, may preclude openness to overtures of reconciliation. Each of these terms implies – despite the linguistic connotations of 'return' – an attempt to build anew out of the ruins, under changed later circumstances.

Such attempts are coloured by later social, political, and also emotional and cultural contexts, in which imaginative engagements in film and literature play a powerful role in shaping aspirations and perceptions; hence the involvement of literary scholars as well as historians in the project.

The project challenges collective memory approaches that assume lines of continuity between earlier 'communities of experience' and later 'communities of remembrance'. 

By contrast, we seek to explore the relationships between 'communities of experience' and later 'communities of identification', which may not be closely related to communities of origin. The focus is also shifted from the nation state 'container' of remembrance practices to a comparative and trans-national European level of shifting identifications. 

A part of the project entails inter-disciplinary collaboration with colleagues across Europe, including a series of informal workshops and international conferences. 

Interrelated Strands of the Project

The project is also being carried out through a number of interlinked in-depth explorations of different facets of the wider set of questions, of which some details are provided below.

Professor Mary Fulbrook

‘Hitler’s War’ was distinctive in its deeply ideological character and extraordinary brutality. This part of the project explores representations of the past among different communities of experience, and patterns of transmission across generations, in the context of public confrontations with the legacies of Nazi terror - trials, official rituals of commemoration, memorials, media and historical debates, informal social relations - in five rather different post-war states: Austria, East and West Germany, France and Poland.

In all cases, survivors among Jewish and political victims of Nazi terror had divergent post-war experiences of ‘return’ or unwilling relocation, shaping strategies of coping and bearing witness (or not) under later circumstances; former collaborators, facilitators and perpetrators developed varying responses to political, social and juridical challenges. Systematic comparisons are undertaken in the light of wider debates about a possible ‘hybridisation’, ‘cosmopolitanisation’ or ‘Europeanisation’ of ‘collective memory’ in a context of population mobility, European division and integration.

Dr Stephanie Bird 

This part of the project looks at the emotional legacies of war and how traumatic and devastating effects of conflict are transformed into cultural products that elicit pleasure. It focuses on texts that are particularly concerned with suffering and victimhood but which incorporate a comic or humorous dimension, understood broadly.

The relationship of suffering to humour is particularly interesting because it crystallizes the question of how far the representation of trauma produces pleasure and how the ethical significance of that pleasure can be understood. Anxiety around the pleasurable and entertaining dimensions of fiction is particularly acute in relation to the role of comedy in the representation of traumatic events. 

Dr Julia Wagner

Julia Wagner is working on 'Reconstruction and the ‘Memory’ of the Occupation: Germany – Italy – Greece after WWII'. Through the comparative analysis of three interrelated national case studies she is exploring long-term effects of occupation politics during World War Two on both former occupiers and occupied.

The selected countries are particularly interesting as Greece was at times occupied and governed jointly by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy (as well as Bulgaria), before Italy changed from occupying power to occupied country in 1943, subsequently itself becoming the object of ruthless economic exploitation and terror of Nazi occupation.

The post-war regimes of Italy and Greece were keen to distance themselves from charges of collaboration with the Germans, and to portray themselves as heirs of resistance movements.

This project explores the impact of the occupation on cultural, social and political developments in Greece and Italy during the post-war period, as well as analysing public discourses on German and Italian occupation (including local collaboration, resistance and restoration and, in the case of Italy, the war crimes committed in Greece); it also looks at the long-term effects on individuals and families in terms of psychological after-effects and memory-constructions.

Conversely, it examines the experience of the German occupying personnel themselves and how earlier occupation experiences were reflected upon in public and private discourses (for example, on restitution, rearmament, tourism, labour migration) in the FRG and the GDR, themselves subject to Allied occupation after 1945. 

Dr Christiane Wienand

Christiane Wienand is undertaking research on ‘Reconciliation after 1945 – experiences, ideas, practices'. 

Reconciliation projects, whether initiated by the state, by non-governmental organisations or at the grass-roots level, were rooted in various sets of experiences: the shock of the Holocaust, the war as an experience of mutual killing, as a civilian experience, and mass migration and occupation as results of the war.

On the state level, these experiences influenced official West German policies of reconciliation and compensation, such as ‘Wiedergutmachung’ with Israel, German-French friendship, or Chancellor Brandt’s ‘Ostpolitik’. They also stimulated the establishment of transnationally active non-governmental organisations, such as the religiously motivated Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste and the Maximilian-Kolbe-Werk, as well as war veterans’ associations.

Further campaigns evolved to promote international understanding through town twinning schemes or church partnerships, as well as the more controversial activities of German associations for refugees and expellees. Furthermore, these experiences fostered non-institutional personal connections. At all levels, reconciliation efforts aimed at integrating the younger generations, who became the core reconciliation activists.

The reconciliation efforts are analysed as transnational activities which established formal and informal contacts and networks across Europe and elsewhere, including Israel. Using selected case studies, Wienand’s study examines the concepts of reconciliation developed by activists; the practices of reconciliation initiatives; the motives behind different reconciliation activities; the reception and evaluation of reconciliatory efforts by participants and critics; and the broader political, societal and intellectual impact on post-war Europe.

Gaelle Fisher

'From Survival to Belonging: The case of German-speakers from Eastern Europe relocating to Germany after the end of the Second World War.' The focus of this project is displacement; the project involves comparing systematically two communities which were uprooted as a result of the Second World War. 

Medieval Francophone Literary Culture Outside France

AHRC Funded Project with King's College London and Cambridge

Two postdoctoral Research Associates are associated with the project, of whom one at UCL (Dr Dirk Schoenaers), the other at Cambridge University.

Dr Jane Gilbert, Co-Investigator

The Violence of War: Images and Experiences of Conflict

AHRC Funded Project

The project comprises both individual research and collaboration between different institutions.

Dr Mark Hewitson

Copernicus's Library

Wellcome Trust Pilot Grant

The project has been deferred following Knox's appointment as the UoA's Director. He intends to take it forward once he has stepped down from this post. The project aims to provide a comprehensive online catalogue of the so-called Copernicana (books that were or have been thought to be owned or annotated by Copernicus) held mainly in Uppsala, together with transcriptions of the annotations, full bibliographical information and scholarly commentary. The project includes colleagues from the British Library, Kraków, the USA and Germany.

Dr Dilwyn Knox

Philemon Foundation Critical Edition of Unpublished Works of C. G. Jung

German edition with English translation, with further editions in other languages, founded in 2004. Since 2008, Princeton University Press and W. W. Norton have published 4 vols, with one in press and one in submission. Collaborating institutions include the Swiss Federal I of Technology, Zurich.

Professor Sonu Shamdasani and Dr Martin Liebscher

Open Learning Environment Early Modern Low Countries History

UK Open Educational Resources initiative, led jointly by JISC and the Higher Education Academy

Ulrich Tiedau (Principal Investigator) with An Vanderhelst (Dutch, research fellow)

Open Educational Resources (OER) Digital Humanities Project

UK Open Educational Resources initiative, led jointly by JISC and the Higher Education Academy

Ulrich Tiedau (Principal Investigator) with C. Warwick (UCL Information Studies, Co-Investigator) and S. Mahony (research fellow)

Sustainable Texts and Disciplinary Conversations

UK Open Educational Resources initiative, led jointly by JISC and the Higher Education Academy

Ulrich Tiedau (Principal Investigator) with J. Hughes and C. McKenna (CALT)

CPD4HE Open Resources for Teachers in HE

UK Open Educational Resources initiative, led jointly by JISC and the Higher Education Academy

Ulrich Tiedau (Co-Investigator)

The above projects have researched the Open Educational Resources (OER) process from creation to curation and has released many OER themselves. The UKOER programme is a HEFCE funded programme (2009-1012/13), managed by JISC and the HE Academy to ensure the UK's preeminence in this area.

Asymmetrical Encounters: E-Humanity Approaches to Reference Cultures in Europe, 1815-1992

Cultural Encounter - A collaborative project in the HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area)

Principal participants: Ulrich Tiedau, J. van Eijnatten (Utrecht University), C. Sporleder (University of Trier, T. Pieters, J. Verheul (both Utrecht University).

The project employs multilingual text and sentiment mining technologies in large collections of digitised newspapers to address the question of how the large and cultural powerful countries Britain, France, and Germany influenced public debates in smaller countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg in the past two centuries.


Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire

The project was a major Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project to investigate, examine, and make available the films representing the British Empire held in the National Film Archive, the Imperial War Museum, and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum. The project was co-directed by Lee Grieveson and Colin MacCabe and produced a major website resource as well as two collections edited by Grieveson and MacCabe.

Visit Colonial Film website

Reading & Reception seminars

As part of a collaboration with the UCL Arts & Humanities, the Reception of British Authors in Europe (RBAE) and the Institute of Modern Languages Research (IMLR) will be holding its programme of Reading & Reception seminars at UCL.

The RBAE is a research project dedicated to exploring the reception of British and Irish authors in Europe, and intercultural dynamics involved.

These informal seminars consider both critical approaches (all varieties of reader-response theory and critical reception in books, periodicals and the work of other authors) and material approaches (history-of-the-book topics relating to publication, distribution and circulation).

Translation is a major concern, and historical, textual and theoretical case studies of all kinds are welcome. The seminar is also open to those working on European as well as non-European authors in Britain.

The Reading and Reception seminars attract academics nationally and internationally to speak on a wide range of topics related to inter-cultural reading. These have included encountering ‘savages’, the translation of WG Sebald, Dickens and Flaubert, inter-medial translation in response to Nooteboom, interpreting Oscar Wilde on stage, and German Modernism and vampirism.

The collaboration between the RBEA and UCL A&H also marks the foundation of a new strand of seminars exploring relations between science and literature. It will consider the interface between scientific and literary texts, the manner of their reception, and the possibilities of reading and critical response generated by these considerations.