Postgraduate studies at the IGES

IGES scholars supervise doctoral research projects across all disciplines represented in the institute (history, history of art, literature, translation studies, political science). IGES has a strong tradition of providing an intellectually stimulating and supportive home to its vibrant community of postgraduate researchers. Our doctoral researchers are in close intellectual exchange with each other, with senior IGES scholars and with the Graduate Centre for Europe (GCfE).

The IGES belongs to a dynamic worldwide network of twenty Centres for German and European Studies supported by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). IGES students network and interact with their counterparts at other DAAD Centres at postgraduate conferences, at summer schools and on study trips. IGES students also have the opportunity to conduct research at other DAAD Centres, and many benefit from DAAD scholarships to carry out research in Germany. IGES funding is available to attend academic conferences and conduct fieldwork.

The IGES has an outstanding track record of successful PhD supervision. Many current and former IGES students have secured research council funding for their doctoral study. IGES graduates are regarded as highly employable by the academic and business communities.

If you would like to discuss your postgraduate research proposal informally with us, please get in touch with Dr Jost-Henrik Morgenstern-Pomorski ( or with the IGES scholar thematically closest to your field of interest. We are also delighted to help you formulate an application and funding proposal.

The IGES and the Department of German Studies at the University of Birmingham are part of a DAAD-sponsored UK postgraduate training consortium, providing summer schools for postgraduates in German Studies together with the Universities of Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, and Oxford, and the IGRS in London.

Our postgraduate researchers

Graham Cox

Graham Cox

Doctoral researcher

PhD title: From the Great Migration to the Great War: The Re-Creation of a Polish State and the Question of Causality
Supervisors:  Dr Klaus Richter, Dr Simon Jackson and Dr Thomas Brodie
PhD History

My project objective is to identify and analyse the agency of the Polish diasporas in America, Britain and France during the long nineteenth century in the restoration of Poland by ...

Jared Feuerstein

Jared Feuerstein

Doctoral researcher

PhD title: Makkabäer: Jewish German and Austro-Hungarian Officers in the First World War
Supervisors:  Dr Jonathan Gumz and Dr Klaus Richter
PhD History

I am pursuing a study of Jewish German and Austro-Hungarian soldiers in the First World War. The two main European partners of the Central Powers each had sizable Jewish populations ...

Frank Gerards

Doctoral researcher

PhD title: Luftwaffe Pilot training in WW II
Supervisors:  Dr Armin Grünbacher and Dr Jonathan Boff
PhD History

My PhD project started in October 2020 and the working title for now is: Why did Luftwaffe pilot training in WWII fail? The defeat of the Luftwaffe is generally attributed ...

George Gibson

George Gibson

PhD title: Letters without signatures: An analysis of the anonymous letters written by citizens of the German Democratic Republic to the BBC German Service circa the construction of the Berlin Wall, 1960-1962.
SupervisorProfessor Sara Jones and Professor Corey Ross
PhD in German Studies

My research analyses a selection of a previously unresearched collection of letters written by citizens of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) to the BBC German Service’s weekly ‘Letters without Signatures’ ...

Owen Grey

Doctoral researcher

PhD title: From Entente to Axis: Romania and the Crisis of Europe
SupervisorDr Klaus Richter and Dr Jonathan Gumz
PhD History

The purpose of my research is to examine Romania's foreign policy during the interwar period and determine why Romania, having entered the Great War on the side of the Entente ...

Imran Hashmi

Imran Hashmi

Doctoral researcher

PhD Title: Nietzsche and Adorno as Critics of Enlightenment
Supervisors: Dr Nicholas Martin and Dr Elystan Griffiths
PhD German Studies

My project is a comparative study of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) as critics of enlightenment. Both thinkers held ambivalent views of enlightenment its lasting legacy, focusing ...

Matthew Hines

Doctoral researcher

PhD Title: Writing a New Society: Aufbau in East German Literature 1945-1961
Supervisors: Professor Sara JonesDr Monica Jato and Dr Ute Hirsekorn (Nottingham)
Wolfson Scholar

Research profile

My thesis reappraises the early years of literature in the German Democratic Republic, starting from its foundations in the Soviet Zone (SBZ) until the building of the Berlin Wall, called ...

Aleksandra Koluvija

Doctoral researcher

PhD title: The human rights-based approach to refugee integration: Understanding the role of civil society organisations in refugee integration in Berlin, Germany
SupervisorDr Julian Pänke and Professor Nando Sigona

In my dissertation research, I am investigating the inclusion of human rights values in refugee integration practices from the bottom up – from the perspective of refugee integration practices on ...

Mireya Toribio Medina

Doctoral researcher

PhD Title: The Discursivisation of Basque Terrorism
Supervisors: Dr Katharina Karcher  
PhD Modern Languages

My project is a comparative study of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) and Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) as critics of enlightenment. Both thinkers held ambivalent views of enlightenment its lasting legacy, focusing ...

Marta Starostina

Marta Starostina

Doctoral researcher

PhD title: The All-Union Join-Stock Company “Intourist” in the 20th cet. Baltics
Supervisors:  Dr Klaus Richter and Dr Jonathan Gumz
PhD History

The purpose of the research is to explore the effect of the Soviet tourism operator “Intourist” on the development of tourism as well as on economic, ideological and tourist mobility ...

Recent PhD successes

Tim Dowdall (2021): The Relationship between Max Stirner’s Thought and Nihilism (Nick Martin and Elys Griffiths)

Helen Tatlow (2021): Encountering Heinrich von Kleist in the works of John Banville and David Constantine (Elys Griffiths, Hilary Brown and Maike Oergel)

Maren Rohe (2019): Constructing the Other: Polish and Russian Perceptions of Germany between Media Influence and Individuality (DAAD, with Julian Pänke)

Alexander Brown (2019): Rethinking the GDR Opposition: Reform, Resistance and Revolution in the Other Germany (AHRC, with Joanne Sayner)

Marlene Schrijnders (2019): From London to Leipzig and Back: Post-Punk, Endzeit and Ostgoth (AHRC, with Joanne Sayner)

David Zell (2018) Major Cultural Commemorations and the Construction of National Identity in the GDR, 1959–1983 (Sara Jones and Joanne Sayner)

Josefin Graef (2017) Narrating violent crime and negotiating Germanness: the print news media and the National Socialist Underground (NSU), 2000-2012. (Sara Jones and Isabelle Hertner)

Primrose Young (2017) Bourgeois ambivalence: A comparative investigation of Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (Nick Martin and Steve Ellis)

Jessica Wood (2016) Portraits of the Artist: Dionysian creativity in selected works by Gabriele D’Annunzio and Thomas Mann (Nick Martin and Clodagh Brook)

Helen Hunter (2015) Literary uses of biblical imagery in Hartmann von Aue’s Gregorius, Kafka’s Die Verwandlung and Thomas Mann’s Der Erwählte (Nick Martin and Nigel Harris)

Leila Mukhida (2015) Politics and the moving image: contemporary German and Austrian cinema through the lens of Benjamin, Kracauer and Kluge. (Sarah Colvin, Sara Jones and Elystan Griffiths)

Charlotte Galpin (2014) Euro Crisis…Identity Crisis? The Single Currency and European Identities in Germany, Ireland and Poland. (Tim Haughton and Isabelle Hertner)

James Green (2014) Nietzsche, Goethe and the nineteenth-century tradition of Bildung (Nick Martin and Elystan Griffiths)

Emily Oliver (2013) Shakespeare and German reunification: The interface of politics and performance (Nick Martin and Kate McLuskie)

IGES supervisors

Thomas Brodie would be delighted to hear from students intending to work on any aspect of Modern German history, as well as those with thematic interests in the histories of religion, war and memory in any European context since 1800.

Charlotte Galpin Charlotte Galpin is particularly keen to supervise projects on European and national identities, European public sphere and media, Euroscepticism, EU citizenship and social movements, the role of Germany or Britain in Europe, Brexit, and gender and feminist approaches to these topics.

Elystan Griffiths supervises postgraduate projects on German literature of the period 1750-1850, with a particular interest in how social and political tensions manifest themselves in German culture. He is also interested in German-language film and has supervised doctoral research in this area.

Armin Grünbacher is happy to discuss supervision of postgraduate research in the areas of German post-war social, economic and political history.

Jonathan Gumz supervises postgraduate research in the fields of the history of the late Habsburg Empire and of modern Central and Eastern Europe as well as the history of war in the 20th century to the present, of international law and of state collapse.

Timothy Haughton is particularly keen to supervise students wishing to study the domestic politics of East-Central Europe, party politics and political campaigning.

Julian Hoerner is keen to (co-)supervise PhD students on topics relating to political behaviour and public opinion, Germany and the European Union, the far-right in Germany, and the impact of the past and culture of memory on contemporary German politics.

Sara Jones explores how memories of dictatorship are negotiated across borders in political, cultural and social processes. Sara would welcome applications from candidates interested in post-socialism, memory politics (especially of Central and Eastern Europe) and cultural policy under state socialist dictatorships.

Deema Kaneff is happy to supervise doctoral research that uses ethnographic methods on a variety of topics, including migration and citizenship, cross-border trading and identity, as well as post-socialist reforms and emerging inequalities.

Katharina Karcher is happy to supervise students with a research interest in political violence and terrorism, gender and conflict, feminist protest and European women’s movements, Feminist Theory, 1968 and its legacy, political extremism and contemporary German culture and politics.

Simone Laqua-O’Donnell is particularly interested in gender history, the history of children and childhood, the history of migration and the history of modern missions.

Nicholas Martin welcomes applications from prospective postgraduate students keen to research modern German intellectual history and/or the cultural history of war and political violence in twentieth-century Germany. He is currently supervising 4 PhD students. He has supervised 8 PhD projects to successful completion.

Julian Pänke is happy to supervise postgraduate students in the following areas: EU-rope’s external relations, the European Neighbourhood Policy, German foreign policy and Berlin’s role in Europe.

Klaus Richter supervises postgraduate students exploring the modern history of Central and Eastern Europe (especially of Poland, the Baltics, the Russian Empire), of Germany’s relation with Eastern Europe, and the history of nationalism and ethnic conflict.

Corey Ross is happy to offer postgraduate supervision in a number of areas, including various aspects of European and global environmental history since the late 19th century, the history of the media and publicity in twentieth-century Europe, and the social and cultural history of Germany since the late nineteenth century.

Graham Timmins is available to supervise in areas related to the external relations and foreign policy role of the European Union with specific reference to EU-Russia and German-Russian relations.

Funding Opportunities

Master’s Studentship at the Institute for German Studies, University of Birmingham 

The Institute for German Studies (IGES) at the University of Birmingham invites applications for a Master’s studentship, which carries a stipend of £5,000 towards the cost of fees or maintenance of a Master’s degree focusing on contemporary German Studies.

Other opportunities

German funding; here you can find information on various kinds of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) funding for foreign students, graduates and postdocs as well as on funding offered by other selected organisations.