CFP: [EXTENDED DEADLINE] British German Studies and the World Wars, ANGERMION XV/2022 (15.03.2022)

Andreas Schmid's picture
Thematic Focus, ANGERMION - Yearbook for Anglo-German Literary Criticism, Intellectual History and Cultural Transfers (XV/2022)


Proposals: 15 March 2022 (extended)
Final Version: 1 July 2022

Guest Editors
Sophia Buck (Oxford/Berlin):
Andreas Schmid (Oxford/Berlin):

The proposed thematic focus with the yearbook ANGERMION aims to explore avenues of reworking the history of the discipline between 1914 and 1945. We approach this topic with two key questions in mind: First, how did the historical situation of being or having been at war with Germany shape the discipline in its personal, institutional, methodological and self-reflexive dimensions? And, in turn, what role did the British ‘Auslandsgermanistik’ play in the wars and the further trajectory of Anglo-German relations? Thus, we intend to analyse British German Studies as both impacted by and impacting the crisis-ridden times between 1914 and 1945. 

The interwar period and the time of Nazi dictatorship were formative in the history of British German Studies as reflected in various institutional changes. Before the beginning of the First World War, most permanent positions in the discipline were occupied by native Germans, which changed as anti-German sentiments were rising (Flood 2017, 32; Funke 1961, 223 ff.). This change in personnel consolidated in the 1920s and 1930s when key institutions of the discipline were established. To name but a few of the most important ones: ‘The Conference of University Teachers of German in Great Britain and Ireland’ (CUTG) was founded in 1932 and continues to shape the discipline under its new name ‘Association for German Studies’ (AGS, since 2009). With ‘German Life and Letters’, L. A. Willoughby started the most widely received British German Studies journal in 1936. Older institutions, which have suffered from the war, were revitalised, for instance, the ‘English Goethe Society’ (Flood 2017, 39). Beyond the boundaries of German Studies, the establishment of the first DAAD branch office, in London, in 1927 was a decisive step for academic exchange between the countries.

During the Second World War, British German Studies turned into enemy studies. A group of influential Germanists were working together at Bletchley Park, all recruited by Frederick Norman. He should become the kingmaker of Germanists after the war – and having been in his circle at Bletchley helped when applying for a position, at least until the 1970s. John Flood has called this the ‘Bletchley Factor’ (Flood 2003, 255). But it was also during this period when the University of London decided, in 1942, to establish an Institute of Germanic Studies with the brief to ‘promote and facilitate the study of German-speaking cultures’.

The discipline German Studies underwent, at times nationally distinct but often also internationally entangled, historical developments – and so did approaches of historicising and reworking its history (König 2003, xi-xiv). Bio-bibliographical projects like the Internationale Germanistenlexikon 1800-1950 (2003) allow uncovering international connections of individual scholars and institutions. From a more disciplinary perspective, the German ‘Inlandsgermanistik’ and its US counterpart have been widely researched. For British German Studies, John L. Flood has pioneered this area of research, also initiating a significant collection at the Senate House Library. While also drawing attention to the period in question, he has focused primarily on postwar developments.

Recent research has started to pay more attention to the war and interwar period in the history of German Studies in the UK: They explore perspectives such as networks and effects of (academic) mobility and migration and the exemplary impact of individuals on institutional formations and teaching practices. In four case studies, Christopher Husbands (2013) has sociologically analysed the careers of Germanists of German and Austrian origin working in the UK during World War Two. Gisela Holfter and Horst Dickel (2017) have presented a monograph on the German emigrées in Ireland between 1933 and 1945, including a substantial chapter on academics in exile. Dan Wilson (2021) has examined the ambiguous relationship of L. A. Willoughby to Germany during World War Two, shedding new light on the origins of ‘German Life and Letters’ and the development of the ‘English Goethe Society’. Nicola McLelland has investigated the representation of (German) culture as an ideological undertaking or ‘hidden curriculum’ in textbooks for language instruction in the 1920s and 1930s (2015, 251 f.). And Ellen Pilsworth (2021) has engaged exemplarily with personal and scholarly responses to Nazism.

The proposed thematic focus in one of the leading journals for British-German relations, ANGERMION, aims to build on this research by providing additional perspectives on the period. In particular, it wants to shed further light on the reshaping of the discipline, its practice and self-perception that precedes the more prominently researched postwar trajectories.

Potential topics of papers include but are not limited to: 

Subject Identity – Canon, Education, Teaching 

  • Restructuring of German language education (schools, universities, military) 
  • University curricula and their representation of German Culture 
  • Social backgrounds of university staff 
  • Research practice and publication (methods and concepts, editions projects, translations, standard reference books, anthologies) 
  • Institutional comparison between UK and Germany (teaching and research methods, syllabi, university structures)
  • Autobiographical accounts and self-fashioning of Germanists (conceptualisation, reflection, and criticism of the subject and their own role) 

Interdisciplinary Profile – Methods, Purpose, Contexts

  • Relation to other university disciplines (philology, language education, cultural studies, social anthropology, history, political science, war and military studies) 
  • Dimensions of ‘Feindanalyse’ (German Studies as an ethnography of Germany) 
  • Relation to politics and military (intelligence service and Bletchley Park) 

International Encounters – Networks, Transfers, Intercultural Diplomacy

  • Role of institutional networks as sites for discourse on Germany (journals, yearbooks, conferences, associations) 
  • Infrastructure of academic mobility and migration: exchange schemes, exiles and refugees 
  • Personal and Scholarly treatments of (Nazi-)Germany (British stereotypes of German culture, implicit/explicit positioning towards Nazi ideology) 
  • Biographies and careers of individual Germanists involved in British-German relations and cultural diplomacy 

The thematic focus is planned to be published in late 2022. We welcome contributions both in English and German. Please submit your abstract (up to 500 words) and a short bio until 15 March 2022 to the Guest Editors of this volume of ANGERMION (Vol XV/2022), Sophia Buck ( and Andreas Schmid ( You can expect feedback within two weeks time. The length of the papers will be handled flexibly. Their final submission is due on 1 July 2022 for consideration in Vol XV.



Funke, Otto (1961), ‘Zum Aufbau der Germanistik in England’, in Österreich und die angelsächsische Welt, ed. Oskar Hietsch (Vienna: Braumüller), pp. 223-231.

Flood, John (2003), ‘Die beiden Weltkriege und die Folgen für die Entwicklung der Germanistik in Großbritannien’, in Akten des X. Internationalen Germanistenkongresses Wien 2000, Bd. 11: Übersetzung und Literaturwissenschaft – Aktuelle und allgemeine Fragen der germanistischen Wissenschaftsgeschichte, ed. Peter Wiesinger (Bern: Peter Lang), pp. 251–56.

Flood, John and Anne Simon (2017), Glanz und Abglanz: Two Centuries of German Studies in the University of London (London: Institute of Modern Languages Research).

Holfter, Gisela and Horst Dickel (2017), An Irish Sanctuary: German-speaking Refugees in Ireland 1933-1945 (Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter). 

Husbands, Christopher T. (2013), German-/Austrian-origin professors of German in British universities during the First World War: the lessons of four case studies, available online: (Accessed: 19 January 2022).

König, Christoph (2003), ‘Einleitung’, in Internationales Germanistenlexikon 1800-1950, ed. Christoph König, 3 vols. (Berlin/New York: De Gruyter).

McLelland, Nicola (2015), German Through English Eyes: A History of Language Teaching and Learning in Britain 1500–2000 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz).

Pilsworth, Ellen (2021), ‘Four responses to Nazism’, Journal of the British Academy, 9, 59-72.

Wilson, Daniel W. (2021), ‘Willoughby, Blunck, and their Jewish Critics: The English Goethe Society and Anglo-German Relations in the Nazi Period’, Publications of the English Goethe Society, 90:3, 167-213.




Redaktion: Constanze Baum – Lukas Büsse – Mark-Georg Dehrmann – Nils Gelker – Markus Malo – Alexander Nebrig – Johannes Schmidt

Diese Ankündigung wurde von H-GERMANISTIK [Constanze Baum] betreut –