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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor Sarah Colvin

Professor Sarah Colvin
Schröder Professor of German
German & Dutch
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 764 881

Jesus College
United Kingdom


Sarah Colvin studied German language and literature at the Universities of Oxford and Hamburg. She was a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, Oxford, a Lecturer and Reader at the University of Edinburgh, a Humboldt Fellow at Potsdam University, and held chairs at the universities of Edinburgh, Birmingham, and Warwick before becoming Schröder Professor of German at Cambridge in 2014.

Research interests: 

Her primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of narrative theory and practice; cognitive and ethical approaches to literature; women’s writing and prisoner narratives; and writing and (political) violence. Her major publications have focused on early German opera and drama (The Rhetorical Feminine: Gender and Orient on the German Stage, 1999), women and theatre (Women and German Drama: Playwrights and their Texts, 2003), and German terrorism (Ulrike Meinhof and West German Terrorism, 2009); she is the editor of the recent Routledge Handbook of German Politics and Culture (2015).  Her current research is on narratives by prisoners and the use and functions of arts in prisons. She is President of the Association for German Studies (AGS), and a steering committee member for the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice (NAACJ).

Professor Colvin welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to her interests.

Published works: 

The Routledge Handbook of German Politics and Culture (editor; Routledge 2015)

Narratives and Identities in the Berlin Republic (edited with Isabelle Hertner, and Joanne Sayner; German Politics and Society Spring/Summer 2015)

The Feminine in German Culture (editor, with Charlotte Woodford; German Life and Letters, October 2014)

Ulrike Meinhof and West German Terrorism: Language, Violence and Identity (Camden House, 2009)

Women and Death: Warlike Women in the German Literary and Cultural Imagination (editor, with Helen Watanabe-O’Kelly; Camden House 2009)

Masculinities in German Culture (editor, with Peter Davies; Edinburgh German Yearbook 2008)

Women and German Drama: Playwrights and their Texts (Camden House 2003)

The Rhetorical Feminine: Gender and Orient on the German Stage (Oxford University Press 1999)

‘Why Should Criminology Care About Literary Fiction?’ in Punishment and Society 17/2 (2015)

‘Dancing Through the Next Minefield, or How and Why Should We Read the Stories of German Women Prisoners?’ in German Life and Letters 67 (2014), 589-603

‘A Guilty Text? Violence as Conceived by a Group aroung Ulrike Meinhof in 1968,’ Tel Aviver Jahrbook für deutsche Geschichte 42 (2014), 181-96