Dr Sara Jones

 

Birmingham Fellow

Department of Modern Languages

Sara Jones

Contact details

Department of Modern Languages
School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

About

Sara Jones is a Birmingham Fellow working across the Colleges of Social Science and Arts and Law. Her current research analyses the political, social and cultural processes of remembering state socialist dictatorship.

Feedback and office hours

Feedback and Office Hours:

Monday 11.30-12.30

Wednesday 10.30-11.30

Qualifications

  • PhD in German 2009
  • MA by Research (German) 2005
  • BA in Modern Languages (French and German) 2003
  • PCAP (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice) 2013

Biography

Sara Jones completed her BA in Modern Languages (French and German) at the University of Bristol in 2003 and her MA and PhD in the Department of German at the University of Nottingham (2004-2008). After a year of teaching in the Department of European Studies at the University of Bath (2008-2009), she was awarded a 3-year Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, the first two of which were held at the University of Bristol (2009-2011). She joined the University of Birmingham in September 2011 as a Birmingham Fellow, and was appointed cross-College to the Institute for German Studies (POLSIS) and the Department of Modern Languages.

Teaching

In the Department of Modern Languages, Dr Jones teaches and convenes the module From the Stasi to the Sandmännchen: Remembering the GDR in the United Germany (Final Year) and contributes to Texts in Context (Year 1), Approaches to European Cultures (Year 1) and Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (MA).

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Jones currently supervises four doctoral and two MRes research projects:

Ivor Bolton (with Jonathan Grix): The Implementation of German Heritage Policy and the Representation of "Inner Unity" through Memorials and Museums

Josefin Graef (DAAD, with Isabelle Hertner): The Dynamics of Narrating Criminal Violence: The National Socialist Underground and the (Re-) Negotiation of Germanness

David Zell (AHRC, with Joanne Sayner): Major Cultural Commemorations and the Construction of Cultural and Political Identity in the GDR, 1967-1987

Marlene Schrijnders (AHRC, with Joanne Sayner):  From London to Leipzig and back: youth scenes in the divided Germany between Endzeitstimmung, revolution and global culture

Alexander Brown (DAAD): The Red Resistance? Communist Opposition in the Early GDR

Rosemary Campbell: Gendered Representations of the Past? An Investigation of the Representation of Women in Post-Wende Museums

She has also supervised MA Dissertations on representations of the GDR opposition in museums, and on GDR samizdat publications and Romanian and Bulgarian immigration to the UK and Germany.

She is always happy to hear from potential postgraduate students looking to work in her areas of expertise.

Doctoral research

PhD title

Room for Manoeuvre: Negotiating Space in the Life and Works of Hermann Kant, Stefan Heym and Elfriede Brüning

Dr Jones’s doctoral research analysed literary production in the GDR and considered the complex and ambiguous position of socialist writers from across the spectrum of conformity and dissent. The thesis takes an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, combining extensive archival research with literary analysis of autobiographical texts and fiction.

Research

Sara Jones has recently completed the project "Reconstructing the Stasi: Remembering Secret Police Repression in the United Germany", funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2009-2012). This has included a series of journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers that consider the representation of the Stasi in different media forms (literature, film, autobiography and museums). The research has culminated in a monograph in Palgrave Macmillan's Memory Studies series with the title: The Media of Testimony: Remembering the East German Stasi in the Berlin Republic (August 2014). Dr Jones’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach to the processes of remembering dictatorship, combining cultural, media and memory studies with sociology and political science.

In the context of this work, Dr Jones also led on an initiative bringing together researchers working on memories of state socialist dictatorship from different disciplinary perspectives, and across Eastern Europe. She was co-organiser of the international conference, "Remembering Dictatorship: State Socialist Pasts in Post-Socialist Presents" (2011), including a series of public engagement events (theatre performance, literary reading and film showing). A selection of essays emerging from this project was published in a special issue of Central Europe (May 2014).

Dr Jones was co-project lead (with Felix Heiduk) on the Institute for German Studies's major research project: "Worldviews/Weltanschauungen: The German Past and the Contemporary World" (2013-14). This interdisciplinary visiting scholars' network aims to investigate the continuing impact of 20th-century German history, particularly the legacy of fascist and communist dictatorships, on 21st-century political decision-making in four areas: immigration; European integration; foreign and security policy; and cultural policy. She is now co-investigator and lead on the ‘culture’ strand of the IGS’s current project and visiting scholars network: “(Not) Made in Germany? Imagining Germany from the Outside” (2015-2016). This research seeks to analyse how images of contemporary Germany are constructed “from the outside” in the areas of economics, politics, education, history and culture.

Dr Jones is currently developing a new comparative project looking at how memories of dictatorship are negotiated across borders in political, cultural and social processes. She is particularly interested in the intersections between transitional justice and memory studies and the function of memorialisation in processes of reconciliation.

Other activities

Membership of Professional Organisations:

  • Association of German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland (panel convenor for "History and Remembrance")
  • Women in German Studies
  • German Studies Association
  • British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies
  • Council for European Studies

Publications

Single-authored books

Jones, S. (2014), The Media of Testimony: Remembering the East German Stasi in the Berlin Republic Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (Memory Studies)

Jones, S. (2011), Complicity, Censorship and Criticism: Negotiating Space in the GDR Literary Sphere, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. (Interdisciplinary German Cultural Studies).

Edited books

Jones, S. and Pinfold, D. (eds) (2014), Remembering Dictatorship: State Socialist Pasts in Post-Socialist Presents =Central Europe, 12.1.

Jones, S. and Nehru, M. (eds) (2011), Writing under Socialism, Nottingham: Critical, Cultural and Communications Press. (Studies in Post-Conflict Cultures).

Journal articles

Jones, S. (2015), (Extra)ordinary Life: The Rhetoric of Representing the Socialist Everyday After Unification, forthcoming in German Politics and Society

Jones, S. (2015), "'Simply a little piece of GDR history'? The Role of Memorialisation in Transitional Justice in Germany", forthcoming in History and Memory

Jones, S. (2013), "Catching Fleeting Memories: Victim Forums as Mediated Remembering Communities", Memory Studies, 6.4: 390-403

Jones, S. (2013), "Memory on Film: Testimony and Constructions of Authenticity in Documentaries about the GDR", European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16.2: 194-210

Jones, S. (2011), “Staging Battlefields: Media, Authenticity and Politics in The Museum of Communism (Prague), The House of Terror (Budapest) and Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen (Berlin)”, Journal of War and Culture Studies, 4.1: 97-111.

Jones, S. (2011), “Touching on Taboos: Elfriede Brüning and the Reception of Partnerinnen in the GDR”, German Life and Letters, 64.1: 71-82.

Jones, S. (2009), “Conflicting Evidence: Hermann Kant and the Opening of the Stasi Files”, German Life and Letters, 62.2: 190-205.

Book chapters

Jones, S. (2015), "Uneasy Heritage: Remembering Everyday Life in Post-Socialist Memorials and Museums". In Robinson, M. and Silverman, H. (eds), Encounters with the Past: Heritage and Popular Culture, New York: Springer (forthcoming)

Jones, S. (2012), "Why Stay? Shifting Perspectives on 'Inner Emigration' and Resistance in the Works of Elfriede Brüning". In Clarke, D. and Goodbody, A. (eds), The Self in Transition: East German Autobiographical Writing Before and After Unification. Essays in Honour of Dennis Tate, Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 71-84

Jones, S. (2012),“Community and Genre: Autobiographical Rememberings of Stasi Oppression”. In Saunders, A. and Pinfold, D. (eds), Remembering and Rethinking the GDR: Multiple Perspectives and Plural Authenticities, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 67-82.

Jones, S. (2011), "Writing in Ambiguity: Negotiating Censorship in the GDR". In Jones, S. and Nehru, M. (eds), Writing under Socialism, Nottingham: Critical, Cultural and Communications Press, pp. 11-27.

Jones, S. (2011), “At Home with the Stasi: Gedenkstätte Hohenschönhausen as Historic House”. In Clarke, D. And Wölfel, U. (eds), Remembering the German Democratic Republic: Divided Memory in a United Germany, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 211-22.

Jones, S. (2010), “‘Ein reines Phantasieprodukt’ or ‘Hostile Biography’? – Günter de Bruyn’s Vierzig Jahre and the Stasi files”. In Dahlke, B., Tate, D. and Woods, R. (eds), German Life Writing in the Twentieth Century, Rochester, NY: Camden House, pp. 196-207.

Jones, S. (2010), "Wie man 'das Gruseln' lernt: Stefan Heym, Autobiographie und die Stasi-Akten". In Preusser, H.-P. and Schmitz, H. (eds), Autobiographie und historische Krisenerfahrung. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, pp. 117-26

Review articles

(with Martin Modlinger) "German Studies: Literature and Film, 1945 to the Present Day", The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies 2012, 74: 361-391

(with Catriona Firth) "German Studies: Literature and Film, 1945 to the Present Day", The Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies 2011, 73: 376-403

(with Catriona Firth) "German Studies, Literature and Film 1945 to the Present Day", The Year’s Work in Modern Language Studies 2010, 72: 432-58.

New media

Sara Jones in discussion with Kostas Nikolopoulos as part of the Birmingham Fellows Full Circle series.

Sara Jones discussing eyewitness testimony as part of the ideaslab 'Predictor Podcast' series.

Expertise

Post-socialist memory politics, particularly remembering East Germany; history and memory of the East German State Security Service (Stasi); transitional justice in Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on memorialisation in Germany and Romania, East German literary and cultural history.

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