Publication of Unterwelten – Zu Leben und Werk von Gerhard Roth

Our colleague Uwe Schütte has just published Unterwelten – Zu Leben und Werk von Gerhard Roth, a general introduction to the Austrian author Gerhard Roth who is well-known for being actively engaged in political debates.

Gerhard Roth’s literary works are primarily concerned with the fight against neglecting historical responsibility. Hence they can be read as an alternative to official historical interpretations. His work is a multilayered oeuvre that gives a voice to the persecuted, forgotten and alienated.

Unterwelten – Zu Leben und Werk von Gerhard Roth offers insights into the author’s work and demonstrates its role as an artistic tracing of the dark past. Uwe Schütte is an established expert on Gerhard Roth ever since his PhD thesis Auf der Spur der Vergessenenen – Gerhard Roth und seine Archive des Schweigens was published in 1997.

You can find more details on the book here:

A public launch of the book will take place on 15 January 2014 in the Vienna City Hall.

Uwe Schütte meets Alban Nikolai Herbst to discuss his latest novel, Argo

On the 22nd of October, Uwe Schütte hosted a reading by the German author Alban Nikolai Herbst, followed by a discussion with the author, at the “Literaturhaus Stuttgart”. Alban Nikolai Herbst read excerpts from his latest novel Argo, the grand finale of his Anderswelt trilogy . Alban Nikolai Herbst is a renowned postmodern German writer and won the literary award “Fantastik Preis der Stadt Wetzlar” in 1999 for Thetis, the first book in this series.

The novel follows an author, Hans Deters, who writes a story about the East German Achilles Borkenbrok. The book deals with the DDR and its people, their fears and hopes, and manages to blend Homer’s Ulysses with our world. It challenges our world views, our perception of reality and guarantees a thrilling reading experience.

If you would like to find out more about Alban Nikolai Herbst and get an impression of his works, please visit the website of the Literaturhaus Stuttgart or visit the author’s blog.

Two new Teaching Assistants at the German Department

Liebe Studierende,

this year, two new Teaching Assistants from Germany are joining the German Department at Aston. Our names are Esther and Thoralf and we will be more than happy to help you with improving your German language skills. We are students at the University of Paderborn and while Esther studies English and German, I study English, French and History and both of us aim to become teachers.

Feel free to come and visit us during our Drop-in clinics (Tuesday and Thursday, 11-2) or, in case you cannot make it, send us an e-mail to set up a meeting. You can always come to us if you have any questions or need help, be it concerning vocabulary, grammar, writing skills or other matters. Of course a nice chat about whatever topic you?d like can also be arranged.

Those of you who are on their year abroad right now can also profit from our presence at Aston. Send us your texts (see German Support Materials on Blackboard, in IBML and LSS Year Abroad – Assessment Guides) and we will provide feedback to help you improve your writing skills.

Our e-mail addresses are and We are very excited about our work at the German Department and look forward to meeting you all.

Bis bald,
Esther & Thoralf


Dr Simone Schroth Wins Student Choice Award For “Most Motivational Academic”

As university lecturers, most of our time and effort goes into ensuring that our students have a positive and beneficial learning experience – at least that’s what we would like to be able to say as another mind-numbing admin task rears its ugly head. But in all seriousness, lecturing is a wonderful and rewarding job that allows us to share our knowledge and interact with enthusiastic young people.

Most days, every new lecture gives us a good idea whether we are succeeding at what we are trying to achieve, namely educate the next generation, or if, as may well sometimes be the case, we “must do better”. But even when we are quite certain we’re doing well, it’s always nice to see that subjective impression confirmed. True, there are student evaluation questionnaires that form part of regular quality assurance processes, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not happy to see our work acknowledged in other ways. We therefore very much welcomed the “My Astonishing Aston Academic” awards which were launched by the Aston Students’ Union this year.

They provide a chance for students to nominate and celebrate their favourite academics in the following student elected categories:

–          Most motivational academic

–          Best personal tutor

–          Academic who made the most difference

–          Academic who inspired your career choice

–          Outstanding feedback

–          Most engaging use of learning technology

At the awards ceremony, held on 1 March, the winners were announced, and German at Aston is very proud to say that our sessional lecturer Dr Simone Schroth was presented with the award for Most Motivational Academic in the School of Languages and Social Sciences.

Simone, whose background is in comparative literature and translation studies, has only been with us since the beginning of the academic year. An accomplished translator, she is currently working on translations from English and Dutch into German, including writings by world-famous diarist Anne Frank. But above all, she is a very experienced lecturer who has previously taught at universities in Dublin and Newcastle. Simone was delighted to receive the award last night and to see her work appreciated in this way. She says: “Being nominated was a lovely surprise, as was being presented with the award. Now I feel even more motivated myself – thank you very much and my best wishes to you all!”

A full list of winners and nominees from all four Schools at Aston can be accessed here.

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.

German Reasearch at Aston

The summer  provides us with time to relax and reflect on the events of the past academic year – but it is also a good time for research. Here are some examples of recent publications by German at Aston staff:

Claudia Gremler:

“Utopien, Epiphanien und Melancholie : Der Norden als Erfahrungs- und Imaginationsraum in der deutschsprachigen Gegenwartsliteratur.” IN: Martin Huber (ed), Literarische Räume. Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2012.

“‘Warum bleiben wir eigentlich nicht immer hier?’ Schweden als Projektionsraum für deutsche Sehnsüchte in Kurt Tucholskys ‘Schloß Gripsholm’ und seinen beiden Verfilmungen”. Text und Kontext, 33 (2011) , pp. 21-47. (Full text available here.)

Stefan Manz:

“Intercultural transfer and artistic innovation: German musicians in Victorian Britain.” German Life and Letters, 65,2 (2012), pp. 161-180.

“Expellees, counterfactualism and potatoes : enlargement and cross-national debates in German-Polish relations.” IN: Ljiljana Šarić (ed.),  Contesting Europe’s Eastern Rim. Bristol: Multilingual Matters 2010.

Gertrud Reershemius:

“Research cultures and the pragmatic functions of humor in academic research presentations: a corpus-assisted analysis.” Journal of Pragmatics, 44, 6-7 (2012), pp. 863-875.

“Reconstructing the past? Low german and the creating of regional identity in public language display.” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 32, 1 (2011), pp. 33-54.

Uwe Schütte:

“Gegen die Welt wie sie ist. Versuch über Thomas Bernhard als Realist.” Manuskripte, 93 (2011), pp. 150-157. (Full text available here.)

Arbeit an der Differenz. Zum Eigensinn von Heiner Müllers Prosa.  Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter. (Introduction available here.)

German@Aston at LLAS Conference

From 4-5 July, the Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies (LLAS) hosts their annual conference in Edinburgh. This year’s theme is “Language Futures: Languages in Higher Education”. This is of course a topic very close to German@Aston’s heart and two of our colleagues, Elisabeth Wielander and Dr Claudia Gremler, will be there to give papers and to live-tweet from the conference.

Elisabeth will be sharing first results from her PhD project on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), a teaching method which is applied widely here at Aston, where almost all teaching takes place in the target language, and Claudia will speak about the educational benefits of student video production projects for foreign language learning.

The full conference programme can be downloaded here.

Professor Pam Moores Lends Support To New Language Learning Campaign

Speak to the future is a new campaign which is highlighting the importance of languages, language learning and professional language activities for the UK. Targeting the public, media and government, its initiatives are raising awareness of the issue – and aim to bring about a step-change in attitude and policy in favour of languages.

The campaign is backed by leading professional and business organisations who are convinced of the importance of language learning for the future of our society, our citizens and our economy.

Professor Pam Moores OBE, Executive Dean of the School of Languages and Social Sciences at Aston and former Chair of the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) writes about the campaign and about the many opportunities language study offers in the April/May edition of The Linguist (pages 8-9).