Dr Hilary Brown MA (Hons), MA, PhD (Cantab), FHEA

Photograph of Dr Hilary Brown

Department of Modern Languages
Senior Lecturer in Translation Studies

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I joined the Department of Modern Languages in 2011 and teach in Translation Studies and German. I am currently Athena Swan Lead for the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music.


  • PCAP (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice)
  • PhD  
  • MA in Anglo-German Cultural Relations 
  • MA (Hons) in Modern Languages (French and German) 


I studied French and German as an undergraduate in St Andrews and completed an MA in Anglo-German Cultural Relations at the University of Leeds. I carried out my doctoral research at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, under the supervision of Professor Roger Paulin. I spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut für Germanistik, Universität Potsdam, and six years as Lecturer in German at Swansea University before coming to Birmingham in 2011. Between 2017 and 2019, I was based intermittently at the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel as a Senior Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.


I convene translation modules at BA level (e.g. the second-year module ‘Translation in Practice III and IV - German’ and the final-year module ‘Translation Theory and Practice in Europe’) and I teach on the MA in Translation Studies. I have served as Translation Studies Lead for the Department of Modern Languages and as Programme Director of the MA in Translation Studies.

I am currently External Examiner at the University of Newcastle (MA in Professional Translation for European Languages – German strand) and Swansea University (BA programmes in German, MA in Professional Translation and MA in Translating and Interpreting – German strands). 

Postgraduate supervision

I am happy to supervise postgraduate students in my areas of expertise in German Studies (Early Modern Germany, Anglo-German cultural relations) and Translation Studies (translation history, literary translation, gender and translation).

Current PhD supervision

Hannah Overton-Gill, 'Investigation into the Role of Women in the History of Translation, using the Case Study of Mme de Rochmondet' (co-supervised with Dr Caroline Ardrey)

Completed PhD supervisions

Hayat Alkhalifah (Saudi Cultural Bureau Scholarship), ‘The Translation of Language Play in "Alice in Wonderland" into Arabic’, co-supervised with Professor Rebecca Gould

Anne M. Leahy, ‘Paths to Signed Language Interpreting in Great Britain and America , 1150-1900’

Helen Tatlow (AHRC), ‘Encountering Heinrich von Kleist in the Works of John Banville and David Constantine', co-supervised with Dr Elystan Griffiths and Professor Maike Oergel (Nottingham)

Find out more - our PhD Translation Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


  • Cultural history of early modern Europe
  • Anglo-German cultural relations
  • History of translation
  • Literary translation
  • Gender and translation
  • Women intellectuals pre-1900

My research sits at the intersection of Translation Studies, Early Modern Studies, Comparative Literature, and German Studies. My work has dealt largely with transnational cultural history in the period 1500-1800. I have examined in particular the role of women in European intellectual life, challenging some of the old assumptions about women as marginalised and insignificant and contributing to cross-discipline debates about gender as a category of analysis.  

I have worked extensively on the history of women translators. My postdoctoral project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and AHRC, examined the voluminous but neglected translations of Germany’s first prominent woman of letters, Luise Gottsched (1713-1762). My monograph Luise Gottsched the Translator (2012) showed how translation was at the heart of Gottsched’s œuvre and part of an ambitious and progressive programme which had a profound impact on German culture of the Enlightenment. More recently, I have been developing my work on the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Between 2017 and 2019, I spent extended periods of time at the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel working on early modern translation as a Senior Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The resulting monograph, Women and Early Modern Cultures of Translation: Beyond the Female Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2022), brings a European perspective to a field dominated by Anglocentric scholarship, and in doing so argues for a reassessment of the significance of gender in translation history. I have contributed articles on gender and translation to major reference works including the Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (3rd edition, 2019).

I also have a long-standing interest in Anglo-German cultural relations, dating back to my MA and PhD days. My PhD project explored the links between women's writing in Germany and Britain in the late eighteenth century by means of a detailed case study and was published as Benedike Naubert (1756-1819) and her Relations to English Culture (2005). I am currently co-editor of ANGERMION: Yearbook for Anglo-German Literary Criticism, Intellectual History and Cultural Transfers / Jahrbuch für britisch-deutsche Kulturbeziehungen (De Gruyter)


Current and previous research grant awards include: 

  • Short-Term Fellowship, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbuettel, 2023 
  • German Research Foundation (DFG) Mercator Fellowship, 2021-22
  • Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, 2017-19
  • AHRC Research Leave Award, 2009-10
  • British Academy Small Research Grant, 2008
  • Leverhulme Trust Study Abroad Studentship, 2003-05

Other activities

I am on the Editorial Board of the journal Feminist Translation Studies and co-editor of ANGERMION: Yearbook for Anglo-German Literary Criticism, Intellectual History and Cultural Transfers / Jahrbuch für britisch-deutsche Kulturbeziehungen.

I have (co-)organised the following conferences and events:

  • ‘European Translation Databases’, online roundtable in conjunction with the DFG-funded SPP2130 ‘Early Modern European Translation Cultures’, 9-10 December 2021
  • Translation Studies Research Forum, University of Birmingham, 2012- 18(an annual event with guest speakers including Susan Bassnett and Michael Cronin)
  • ‘German Women’s Writing in its European Context, 1700-1900’, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London, 25-26 November 2010
  • ‘The Author-Translator in the European Literary Tradition’, Swansea University, 28 June-1 July 2010
  • ‘Readers, Writers, Salonnières: Female Networks in Europe, 1700-1900’, Chawton House Library, 22-23 May 2008
  • ‘Landmarks in German Women’s Writing’, public lecture series, University of Cambridge, Michaelmas Term 2005
  • ‘Übersetzungskultur im 18. Jahrhundert: Übersetzerinnen in Deutschland und Frankreich’, Forschungszentrum Europäische Aufklärung, Potsdam, 8 October 2004


Highlight publications

Brown, H 2022, Women and Early Modern Cultures of Translation: Beyond the Female Tradition. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Brown, H 2019, Intersectionality. in G Saldanha & M Baker (eds), Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. 3rd edn, Routledge, London, pp. 261-66. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315678627

Recent publications


Brown, H 2012, Luise Gottsched the Translator. Studies in German Literature, Linguistics and Culture, vol. 118, Camden House, Rochester, NY. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt81pkz>

Brown, H & Dow, G (eds) 2011, Readers, Writers, Salonnières: Female Networks in Europe, 1700-1900. European Connections, vol. 31, Lang.


Brown, H 2017, 'Rethinking agency and creativity: translation, collaboration and gender in early modern Germany', Translation Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 84-102. https://doi.org/10.1080/14781700.2017.1300103

Bland, C & Brown, H 2013, 'Introduction: Women as cultural mediators and translators', Oxford German Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 111-118. https://doi.org/10.1179/0078719113Z.00000000037


Brown, H 2023, Multilingualism as Cultural Capital: Women and Translation at the German Courts. in P Auger & S Brammall (eds), Multilingual Texts and Practices in Early Modern Europe. 1st edn, Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism, Routledge, New York and London, pp. 55-68. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003094104-4

Brown, H 2020, Women Translators in Early Modern Europe. in L von Flotow & H Kamal (eds), Routledge Handbook of Translation, Feminism and Gender. Routledge, London, pp. 117-26. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315158938

Brown, H 2017, Women Translators and Print Culture in Sixteenth-Century Germany. in A Rizzi (ed.), Trust and Proof: Translators in Renaissance Print Culture. Library of the Written Word - The Handpress World, vol. 63, Brill, pp. 229-250. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004323889_012

Brown, H 2011, New Perspectives from Comparative Literature. in H Fronius & A Richards (eds), German Women’s Writing of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries: Future Directions in Feminist Criticism. Legenda, pp. 57-70. <http://www.mhra.org.uk/publications/German-Womens-Writing-Eighteenth-Nineteenth-Centuries>

Brown, H & Large, D 2011, Übersetzerische Zusammenarbeit im deutschsprachigen Raum, 1730-1830. in Akten des XII. Internationalen Germanistenkongresses Warschau 2010: Vielheit und Einheit der Germanistik weltweit. vol. 13, Publikationen der Internationalen Vereinigung für Germanistik (IVG), Peter Lang, pp. 303-307. https://doi.org/10.3726/978-3-653-02589-7

Book/Film/Article review

Brown, H 2012, 'Reviewed Work: Cultural Transfer through Translation: The Circulation of Enlightened Thought in Europe by Means of Translation by Stefanie Stockhorst', Modern Language Review, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 597-598. https://doi.org/10.5699/modelangrevi.107.2.0597

Brown, H 2011, 'Reviewed Work: Adieu Divine Comtesse: Luise Gottsched, Charlotte Sophie Gräfin Bentinck und Johann Christoph Gottsched in ihren Briefen. by Katherine Goodman', Modern Language Review, vol. 106, no. 3, pp. 898-899. https://doi.org/10.5699/modelangrevi.106.3.0898

Conference contribution

Brown, H 2018, Women Translators in History: Towards a « Woman-Interrogated » Approach. in Cahiers du Centre de traduction littéraire de Lausanne: special issue 'fémin|in|visible: Women authors of the Enlightenment - Übersetzen, schreiben, vermitteln'. vol. 2018, Lausanne, pp. 27-51.

Scholarly edition

Brown, H 2014, Luise Gottsched, Der Lockenraub / Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock. European Translations, vol. 2, Modern Humanities Research Association. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfbc5>

Special issue

Brown, H & Bland, C (eds) 2013, 'Cosmopolitan Women: German-Speaking Writers' Oxford German Studies, vol. 42, no. 2, pp. 111-235.

Brown, H, Astbury, K & Dow, G 2011, 'Women readers in Europe: readers, writers, salonnières, 1750-1900', Women's Writing, vol. 18, no. 1. <https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rwow20/18/1>

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