Peter Davies

Professor of Modern German Studies


BA Hons (Manchester), Ph.D (Manchester)

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Chair of Modern German Studies
  • REF Unit of Assessment Coordinator, Modern European Languages and Linguistics

Undergraduate teaching

  • The Third Reich in Literature and Testimony (final year honours option)
  • Literature and totalitarianism
  • Modernism
  • German literature, history and culture

Postgraduate teaching

  • MSc in European Theatre
  • MSc in Comparative Literature (Holocaust writing)
  • MSc in European Studies (Memory and identity)
  • MSc in Translation Studies

Areas of interest for supervision

Prof Peter Davies is happy to discuss supervision of topics in German, Holocaust writing, Translation Studies, comparative literature with German, myth and literature, gender and the body in the period 1880-1945.

Recent and current PhD topics supervised

  • German and Austrian Romani writing and the Holocaust
  • GDR literary responses to the 17 June 1953 uprising
  • Memory and Heimat in the work of Jenny Erpenbeck and Monica Maron
  • Walter Benjamin and Roland Barthes
  • The avant-garde manifesto
  • Heiner Müller's democratic theatre
  • Concentration Camp Poetry in German

Research summary

  • Holocaust testimony and literature
  • Translation and Interpreting studies
  • Myth, modernity and literature
  • Myths of matriarchy in German culture
  • Gender and the body
  • German-language literature and culture, 1880-1945

Project activity

In 2004-5 Research Fellow of the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Stiftung, conducting research into matriarchal myths in German-language culture.

From 2000-2003 he co-directed the AHRB Major Research Project “The Modern Restoration: Re-thinking German Literature, 1930-1960” with Professor Stephen Parker and Dr Matthew Philpotts, Manchester

From 1998-2000 he was Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, conducting research into Stalinism and Literature in the GDR

The Holocaust and Translation Research Network

The Holocaust and Translation Research Network was founded in 2010, supported by a Research Networking grant from the AHRC. The network arose from an understanding that the discussion of Holocaust writing – and in particular of testimonial texts by survivors – very rarely takes into account the fact that such texts are frequently read and discussed through translation. The insights of Translation Studies have shown that translation is a creative process involving processes of negotiation between cultural, linguistic and historical contexts, and that translation and the reception of translated texts are affected by contextual factors as much as other forms of writing. These insights have for the most part been ignored by scholars of Holocaust writing.

The network has brought together scholars of Holocaust writing, literature, autobiography, and translation, in order to discuss points of contact and conflict between these disciplines, to open up new areas of investigation, and to plan further work. Participants in the network have come from universities from the UK, Ireland, Germany, the US and Norway, as well as from institutions such as the Stiftung Denkmal für die Ermordeten Juden Europas, Berlin, and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp museum. Project partners are the Wiener Library, London, the Centre for German-Jewish Studies, Sussex University, the Center for Jewish Studies, University of Edinburgh, and the British Centre for Literary Translation, Norwich.

Under the terms of the Research Networking grant, four interdisciplinary workshops have been held, in Edinburgh, Brighton, Norwich, and London, as well as a public event at the Wiener Library. The discussions from these events have formed the basis of a further project, Translating Holocaust Lives, which will explore the translation of texts into English and German, and a further international conference at the Institute for Modern Language Research, London, in April 2015.

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