skip to content


Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Catriona Corke

Catriona Corke





Prof. Sarah Colvin


My research focuses on how public intellectuals intervened in debates on left-wing political violence in West Germany. During the 1970s, public intellectuals such as Heinrich Böll were often labelled as sympathisers by the right-wing CDU/CSU parties and the media for entering these debates. Yet comparatively little research has looked beyond this controversy to explore what motivated these intellectuals (including authors, academics, defence lawyers and religious leaders) to intervene in the first place. I argue that they often had a heightened sense of responsibility to defend civil rights due to their prominent roles in the public sphere as intellectuals. This project therefore situates discourses on left-wing political violence within a much longer history of the public intellectual in West German society.


  • Newnham College Major Studentship for PhD, 2018-21
  • German Department Tiarks Fund for PhD, 2018-21

Conference papers

  • ‘Party politics, public intellectuals and West German left-wing terrorism during the 1970s,’ given at the Women in German Studies Conference, University College Dublin in November 2019
  • ‘West German left-wing terrorism, political prisoner rhetoric and the assertion of international significance (1971-96),’ given at the White Rose International History and International Relations Seminar, University of Leeds in March 2019
  • ‘The 2nd June Movement and Inge Viett’s self-identification as a political prisoner (1971-96),’ given at the Contemporary History Workshop, Faculty of History, Cambridge in March 2018
  • ‘Frauenmacht und Feminismusverdacht: How the Rote Zora resists and enlightens our post-9/11 understanding of terrorism,’ given at the Cambridge Undergraduate German Conference in January 2016.


  • Double book review of Marco Abel and Christina Gerhardt (eds.), Celluloid Revolt: German Screen Cultures and the Long 1968 (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2019), and Christina Gerhardt and Sara Saljoughi (eds.), 1968 and Global Cinema (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2018) in German Studies Review, Volume 43, Issue 1 (2020).
  • Book review of Mia Lee, Utopia and Dissent in West Germany: The Resurgence of the Politics of Everyday Life in the Long 1960 (London: Routledge, 2019), in The Modern Language Review, Volume 115, Issue 2 (2020).
  • Book review of Kimberly Mair, Guerrilla Aesthetics: Art, Memory, and the West German Urban Guerrilla (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016) in German Politics and Society, Volume 36, Issue 3 (2018).


  • Lecturer and supervisor for the ‘Red Decade’ module on paper Ge13: Aspects of German-speaking Europe since 1945
  • Translation teacher on paper GEB2

Other activities and roles

  • Co-convenor, German Graduate Research Seminar (2019-20)
  • Mentor for speakers at the Cambridge Undergraduate German Conference