Tara Windsor 

PhD title Dichter, Denker, Diplomaten: German Writers and Cultural Diplomacy after the First World War (1919-1933)

Supervisors Professor William Dodd and Professor Corey Ross

Academic background

I completed my BA in Joint Honours German Studies and History in 2006 and an MPhil(B) in Modern European Cultures in 2008, both at the University of Birmingham. My MPhil thesis was entitled ‘The Politics of Anglo-German Academic Exchange, 1919-1932’ and was awarded the Constance Naden Medal for the best MPhil thesis in the former Faculty of Arts in December 2008 (see below).

Doctoral research

My doctoral thesis examines the role played by German writers as intercultural ambassadors after the First World War. It focuses, in particular, on the activities of the German branch of the International PEN Club and the international engagement of four writers from across Weimar Germany’s cultural and political spectrum: Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Ernst Toller, and Hans Friedrich Blunck. The thesis places these case studies in the context of broader developments in state and non-state cultural diplomacy, at a time when culture was seen as increasingly important in Germany’s international endeavours, and as both a means to and an end of national and international reconstruction.

My research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. I spent the academic year 2009-2010 on an AHRC-funded Overseas Study Visit in Germany, researching in various archives and libraries in Berlin, Marbach and Kiel.

From September 2011 to June 2012 I will be a doctoral research fellow at the Institute for European History in Mainz.

Other activities

Beyond my research, I have taught tutorials on the course ‘German History and its Images’ for first year undergraduates, run generic study skills sessions for undergraduates in German Studies, and delivered Subject Enrichment Master Classes offered by the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music for school pupils in Years 10 to 12.

In the academic year 2008-09, I was Chair of the Steering Committee of the Graduate Centre for Europe. My responsibilities included organising a Postgraduate Conference entitled ‘Europe: A Continent of Paradoxes’. In the academic year 2009-10, I served as Vice-Chair and was joint General Editor of the first volume of the Birmingham Journal for Europe.

I am a member of the German History Society and Women in German Studies, and am also an affiliate graduate student of the University’s Centre for Contemporary History and Institute for German Studies. 

Constance Naden Medal for German Studies

Tara completed an MPhil in Modern European Cultures in September 2008. Her thesis was entitled The Politics of Anglo-German Academic Exchange, 1919-1932

Tara’s thesis was highly commended by both the internal and external examiners. The external examiner commented: ‘the dissertation itself is an impressive piece of scholarly research. It draws extensively on both print and archival resources, synthesises a large body of material very succinctly, and adopts a meticulous approach to the documentation and presentation of the argument. I have rarely seen such an excellently presented piece of work, even at PhD level’. Tara is now working on an AHRC-funded PhD on the topic of German Writers and Cultural Diplomacy, 1919-33 under the supervision of Professor Bill Dodd and Professor Corey Ross.