Award for staff publication: “Constructing a German Diaspora”

Aston Reader in German Dr Stefan Manz’s book on German emigration has been named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2015. The book has been reviewed in a number of highly regarded academic journals as being ‘a very significant contribution to the field of breathtaking scope’, ‘essential’, ‘a model of historical scholarship’, ‘pioneering’, ‘innovative’, ‘unique’, ‘fascinating’, and ‘important.

From the publisher:

“This book takes on a global perspective to unravel the complex relationship between Imperial Germany and its diaspora. Around 1900, German-speakers living abroad were tied into global power-political aspirations. They were represented as outposts of a “Greater German Empire” whose ethnic links had to be preserved for their own and the fatherland’s benefits. Did these ideas fall on fertile ground abroad? In the light of extreme social, political, and religious heterogeneity, diaspora construction did not redeem the all-encompassing fantasies of its engineers. But it certainly was at work, as nationalism “went global” in many German ethnic communities. Three thematic areas are taken as examples to illustrate the emergence of globally operating organizations and communication flows: Politics and the navy issue, Protestantism, and German schools abroad as “bulwarks of language preservation.” The public negotiation of these issues is explored for localities as diverse as Shanghai, Cape Town, Blumenau in Brazil, Melbourne, Glasgow, the Upper Midwest in the United States, and the Volga Basin in Russia. The mobilisation of ethno-national diasporas is also a feature of modern-day globalization. The theoretical ramifications analysed in the book are as poignant today as they were for the nineteenth century.”

Test Dept symposium a great success

The launch of the Test Dept book attracted about 40 visitors to Aston. The audience heard five speakers from various UK universities talking about the band.


Apart from a Q&A panel with original band members Paul Jamrozy and Graham Cunnington, the highlight of the event was the talk by Stephen Mallinder, formerly frontman of Cabaret Voltaire. His presentation about the role of radical music during the Thatcher years was accompanied by a slide show including a number of iconic images and photographs.

 C360_2015-05-28-16-23-25-854There was also an after event party at Vividworks wich was well attended. It included DJ sets from Test Dept, Stephen Mallinder and Alexei Monroe.

Kraftwerk conference at Aston resounding success


The Kraftwerk conference held at Aston University on 21/22 January 2015 was a resounding success, attracting an audience of over 160 participants. Particular highlights were the keynote address given by Dr Steven Mallinder (formerly of Cabaret Voltaire) and a lively presentation by DJ Rusty Egan (formerly of Visage) who also DJed at the after conference party in the student union bar. The conference attracted considerable media coverage by a number of publications and on several BBC radio channels as well as the BBC Breakfast TV programme.

Aston to host first ever academic conference on Kraftwerk

Kraftwerk performing their retrospective at MOMA Photo: ©BOETTCHER
Kraftwerk performing their retrospective at MOMA Photo: ©BOETTCHER

On 21 and 22 January, 2015, Aston University is hosting the first-ever academic conference on the groundbreaking German electronic band Kraftwerk. Uwe Schütte, organiser of the conference: “I think Kraftwerk are fascinating, and deserve critical, scholarly attention. They’ve received that, but only a little.”

Founded in the early 1970s, they were ahead of their time with regard to the use of technology in producing music. To quote the conference website,

Kraftwerk have long been recognised as major pioneers of electronic music. The group attracted keen interest particularly in the UK, where their innovative sound had a decisive influence on the development of 1980s synth pop.

Over two days, a diverse group of scholars will speak about such diverse topics as “Fun Fun Fun on the Autobahn: Kraftwerk Challenging Germanness”, “We Are the Robots! On the Cultural-Historical Origins of the Man-Machine” and “Cabaret Voltaire and Dada Modernity”. And instead of the usual sit-down conference dinner, participants will get the chance to shake it up at the Kraftwerk Disco.

The conference has garnered great international attention, with a host of international speakers and more than 200 registered participants from across the world. It has also been reported on in the national and international press, for example in The Guardian, leading music magazine NME and German music platform Ampya.

PhD Studentships in German Studies at the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham’s Department of Modern Languages (German Studies) and Institute of German Studies have announced a range of AHRC-funded studentships for September 2014, through their involvement in the Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership. They will consider applications for PhD study in all areas relevant to their research. Queries can be addressed to Dr Nigel Harris ( (Department of Modern Languages) or Dr Sara Jones ( (Institute of German Studies).

These scholarships are open to applicants from the EU, including the UK. They will enable the recipients to undertake meaningful and stimulating research under the guidance of a supportive and distinguished group of academics. To apply for funding, students must have applied for a place to study at the University of Birmingham and have already provided two academic references via the university’s application system. The deadline for funding applications is 12pm, Thursday 9 January 2014.

For further information, please visit:

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Book launch Uwe Schütte: Urzeit, Traumzeit, Endzeit. Versuch über Heiner Müller

Do you remember the last staff publication we presented to you on the 5th of October?

Uwe Schütte’s new book “Urzeit, Traumzeit, Endzeit” will be envisaged by himself, tonight. Following Dr. Schütte will discuss his new cultural anthropologic essay with B. K. Tragelehn. This event is a prelude to the series “Müllermontag” which is dedicated to Müller’s work.

Agenda of the opening event:

  • Buchvorstellung
  • Weiterer Gesprächspartner: B.K. Tragelehn
  • Moderation: Falk Strehlow
  • Eine Veranstaltung des Literaturforums im Brecht-Haus

The event is taking place tonight at 8pm in the Palais am Festungsgraben in Berlin

Address: in the premises of the Saarland gallery, Am Festungsgraben 1, 10117 Berlin

New book publication by Uwe Schütte

Following his recent major study of Heiner Müller’s hitherto much neglected prose works, Uwe Schütte revisits key texts by this controversial East German writer in his latest book. Schütte shows how concepts of cultural anthropology can serve to open new perspectives on Müller’s works, providing a fresh analysis of some of his most influential plays as well as a fruitful exploration of his less familiar short prose and poetry.

Click here for more details.