School of Modern Languages

Staff Profiles

Dr Hilary Potter

Lecturer in German

Background

Lecturer in German Studies (Culture, Translation, Language).

My current project Weimar 1919-1933: Dancing on a Volcano explores the Weimar period and its perceived contemporary resonances. I'm creating a photo exhibition, which will be on display at the Lit & Phil Library, Newcastle -19th June-4th July 2020. It will be accompanied by a public lecture series. Further details coming soon. 


Recent Monograph:  Remembering Rosenstrasse: History, Identity, Memory in Contemporary Germany (Peter Lang) 
https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/36631

I had a less than straightforward academic journey – I consider this a great strength. It has shown me importance of a rounded education that pushes us to be our best, recognise the value to be gained from challenge and the importance of treating people well. 

I started off at university with a degree in French, German and European Studies, during which time I also successfully completed a CELTA qualification on the side. After graduating I went to Munich and taught English in a private language school, before returning to start my PhD, taking on multiple roles in the process. I completed my PhD in 2014 and have since worked on temporary contracts at the universities of Cardiff, Leeds and Newcastle. 

I research on memory and identity. I am currently developing a project exploring contemporary representations of Weimar Germany from both German and British perspectives. In addition, I work on translation and was involved in the Skipton POW First World War diary project, run by Anne Buckley, during my time at the University of Leeds. I have also written on historical anniversaries in an age of right-wing populism, on the year abroad and mental health and on Babylon Berlin (all forthcoming).  

I was a Recruitment and Admissions Tutor (Cardiff, Leeds). Between 2017 and 2019 I was the Year Abroad Coordinator for German at the University of Leeds. I have an interest in mental health and the year abroad, and in particular the role of language and identity in this process.  

In teaching and  scholarship I believe in the importance of challenging our students to be the best they can be, involving them in the co-creation of their education, making them part of the wider academic community from the outset, trying out innovative approaches to learning and teaching, moving them towards a holistic enjoyment of learning for knowledge,, and nurturing life skills including critical employability, encouraging students to think about the values they take forward into the workplace and most importantly, to value themselves and those around them.  
#memory #identity #research #Weimar #German-Jewish #interdisciplinary #teachingandlearning #innovation #mentalhealth #yearabroad #memoryculturesandpopulism #writing

Research

 

My research focuses on cultural representations of the past, the way in which memories and identity are constructed in national and transnational contexts. My research interests are interdisciplinary, located in Cultural Studies, primarily German and Anglo-German focused, but also links to Film, Holocaust, Memorialisation and Translation Studies.

 

At the present time, my research interests focus on the intersections of identity in culture both in the German and in Anglo-German contexts in this age of right-wing populism. The project currently focuses on representations of the Weimar Republic, with a particular emphasis on crime fiction, its adaption from page to screen in the national and international perspective.


In addition, my research interests have extended out to include translation in the context of memory and identity as well as inter-cultural transfer, having become a member of the team on the Kriegsgefangen in Skipton project (University of Leeds). 


On a scholarly level, I am also interested in the impact of the Year Abroad on positive mental health in conjunction with intercultural and linguistic competence.

In the longer term I intend to focus on questions of gender around the Rosenstrasse protest, coinciding with its 80th anniversary in 2023. The focus of this research will be on exploring the dominant female-centric narratives of opposition, to the near exclusion of male-centric narratives. This research will examine the lacunae in the protest’s representations, focusing on female transgressions from the accepted norms, and what these indicate about Germany’s relationship to its past.

The above plans build on gaps identified from my previous research. This focused on the 1943 Rosenstrasse protest and German-Jewish intermarriage, the surrounding historical debates and cultural representations as a prism though which to analyse shifting patterns of memory, remembering and identity in post-unification Germany. In so doing my research challenges dominant understanding in this area, revealing the fraught, complex and politicised dynamics of Germany’s historical memory, which is characterised by tension between the wish for normalization and the desire to maintain a critical awareness of the past in which opposition and resistance may be recognised but accountability is not relativized. Yet, at the same time, it suggests that remembering and identity in unified Germany are in fact very much in the West German tradition to the exclusion of the former East.

 


Teaching

2019/20 

Ger4014 German Representations of the Holocaust 

Ger4081 German General Language (Translation, Semester 2) 

TRI4002 (Language Specific Translation - (DE>EN)

Ger2011 M for Murder

Ger2061 German Grammar Level C

SML1018 Introduction to Literature


Publications

  • Potter HJ. “Man kann der Verantwortung nicht entrinnen.” Remembering Rosenstrasse 75 Years On. German Life and Letters 2020, (3). In Preparation.
  • Potter HJ. On the Year Abroad Experience and Positive Wellbeing. research-publishing.net, 2020. In Preparation.
  • Potter HJ. Transnationalism, Reflection and Projection in Babylon Berlin. Special Issue Watching the Transnational Detectives Conference Proceedings. 2020. In Preparation.
  • Potter HJ. Remembering Rosenstrasse: History, Memory and Identity in Contemporary Germany. Oxford: Peter Lang, 2018.
  • Cornils I, Potter H, Summers C. German Teachers' Resources. Teaching Film and Literature for AS and A2. 2017. University of Leeds, Teaching resource pack.
  • Potter HJ. Rosenstrasse: A Complex Site of German-Jewish Memory. In: Niven,B; Paver,C, ed. Memorialisation in Germany since 1945. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, pp.214-223.