Dr Sara Jones

Photograph of Dr Sara Jones

Department of Modern Languages
Senior Lecturer

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

Sara Jones is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages. Her current research analyses the political, social and cultural processes of remembering state socialist dictatorship.


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


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. Since January 2017, she has held the post of Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages.


In the academic year 2017-2018, Dr Jones teaches on Holocaust and Genocide: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Perspectives (MA). In previous years, she has contributed to Approaches to European Cultures (Year 1), Texts in Context (Year 1), Contemporary Germany (Year 1) and was convenor for From the Stasi to the Sandmännchen: Remembering the GDR in the United Germany (Final Year). She also supervises undergraduate Independent Study Projects.

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Jones currently supervises six doctoral research projects:

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

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

Maren Rohe  (DAAD, with Julian Pänke): Perceptions of Germany in Poland, Belarus and Russia

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

Ilaria Bernardi (AHRC, with Scott Lucas): Visiting the United States and Bringing It Back Home: the US Exchange Programs with Germany and Italy, 1950-1965

Completed PhD Supervisions

Josefin Graef (DAAD, with Isabelle Hertner): The Dynamics of Narrating Criminal Violence: The National Socialist Underground and the (Re-) Negotiation of Germanness. Viva passed in December 2016.

Leila Mukhida (DAAD, with Elystan Griffiths): Politics and the Moving Image: Contemporary German and Austrian Cinema Through the Lens of Benjamin, Kracauer and Kluge. Viva passed in January 2015.

She has also supervised MA Dissertations on representations of the GDR opposition in state-mandated memory, 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.


Sara 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. This work was published in 2011 as a monograph in de Gruyter’s Interdisciplinary German Cultural Studies series with the title: Complicity, Censorship and Criticism: Negotiating Space in the GDR Literary Sphere.

Dr Jones’s second major  project, "Reconstructing the Stasi: Remembering Secret Police Repression in the United Germany", was funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2009-2012). This 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  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.

Building on the work of her second monograph, Dr Jones is currently Principal Investigator for the AHRC network “Culture and its Uses of Testimony”, which will run from July 2016-January 2019. The network brings together scholars from across the humanities and social sciences with non-academic practitioners to consider what role cultural forms of testimony (e.g., autobiographical writing, literature, art, film, documentary and museums) can play in processes of post-conflict reconciliation and justice. For more information see the project website.

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" (2013-2014). This interdisciplinary visiting scholars' network investigated 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 was also co-investigator and lead on the ‘culture’ strand of the IGS’s subsequent project and visiting scholars’ network: “(Not) Made in Germany? Imagining Germany from the Outside” (2015-2016). This research analysed how images of contemporary Germany are constructed “from the outside” in the areas of economics, politics, education, history and culture. She is now CI on the IGS’s current research project “Global Crises and What it Means to be German” (2017).

Dr Jones is currently developing a new 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

Dr Jones is Subject Editor for the journal Forum for Modern Language Studies and member of the editorial board of the Journal of Perpetrator Research.

She is Co-Directorand Birmingham representative of the Midlands German Network, which seeks to connect local schools, universities and businesses with an interest in all things German.

She is also a founding member of the Council for European Studies research network "Transnational Memory and Identity in Europe" and was member of the governing board 2015-2017.

Membership of Professional Organisations:

  • Association of German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland
  • Women in German Studies
  • British Association of Slavonic and East European Studies


Single-authored books

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

Book chapters

  • Jones, S. (2017), “Cross-Border Collaboration and the Construction of Memory Narratives in Europe.” Sindbæk Andersen, Tea and Törnquist-Plewa, Barbara (eds), The Twentieth Century in European Memory: Transcultural Mediation and Reception, Leiden: Brill, forthcoming
  • Jones, S. (2017), "Memory Competition or Memory Collaboration? Politics, Networks and Social Actors in Memories of Dictatorship." Mayr, M. and Kränzle, C. (eds), The Changing Place of Europe in Global Memory Cultures, Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 63-86
  • 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


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.