Dr Tara Talwar Windsor

Department of Modern Languages
Research Fellow

Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a cultural and literary historian of modern Germany and Europe, currently working as Research Fellow on the project ‘Knowing the Secret Police: Secrecy and Knowledge in East German Society’.


  • PhD German Studies & Modern History (2013)
  • MPhil Modern European Cultures (2008)
  • BA German Studies & History (2006)


After completing my undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the University of Birmingham, I took up my first postdoctoral position in 2013 at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal and the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut) Essen, where I was part of an international research and editorial project entitled ‘Societies under German Occupation: Experiences and Everyday Life in World War II’. Following this, I was Assistant Professor in 20th-Century Continental European History at Trinity College Dublin. I re-joined Birmingham in 2017 as Research Fellow on the Leverhulme Trust-funded project ‘Inner and Outer Exile in Fascist Germany and Spain’. In 2019, I was Lecturer in History at Liverpool John Moores University before returning to Birmingham for my current fellowship as part of the project ‘Knowing the Secret Police: Secrecy and Knowledge in East German Society’. 

I have held research awards from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and the German Historical Institute in Paris. From 2011 to 2012 I was a doctoral research fellow at the Institute of European History in Mainz.


I have taught German language, literature and film, as well as courses on modern German, European and international history, including a special subject on Weimar Germany, an option on Interwar Internationalism(s) and survey modules on Europe since 1914 and Soviet Russia. I have supervised BA dissertations and independent studies on a wide range of topics on twentieth-century Europe.


My research is situated at the intersection between Modern Languages, Literature and History. I am particularly interested in cultural responses to war and dictatorship; international cultural relations; and the relationship between (literary) intellectuals, civil society and the state under democratic and authoritarian systems.

My current work investigates the circulation of different kinds of knowledge about the Stasi in the literary sphere of the GDR, focusing in particular on how such knowledge was transmitted through formal and informal networks, and how it was represented and reflected on in literature before and after the opening of the Stasi files.

I am also co-producing a critical reader of translated exile writings, which compares fictional and non-fictional texts written by inner and territorial exiles of the Nazi and Francoist dictatorships. Within this broader project, I am particularly interested in the role of gender and emotional practices in literary narratives of exile and opposition to authoritarianism.

My first monograph, Authors across Borders, investigates European and global networks forged by literary intellectuals from across Weimar Germany’s ideological spectrum after the First World War. With particular focus on the German PEN Club and the international engagement of Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Ernst Toller and Hans Friedrich Blunck, the book reveals a spectrum of cultural diplomacies and internationalisms in Weimar’s cross-border relations, which were shaped by – and fed back into – writers’ roles and self-stylization as particular types of public intellectual. 

Together with colleagues at Birmingham’s Institute for German Studies, I am co-investigator on the DAAD-funded project ‘Shifting Constellations: Germany and Global (Dis)Order’. In particular, I contribute as co-lead of the ‘People & Migration’ strand of the project, which explores how different types of migration and mobility shape, and are shaped by, diverse and contested understandings of Germany’s role in a continually changing world.

I have also researched and published on Anglo-German student exchange after the First World War.

Other activities

I am currently representative for LCAHM on the CAL and CoSS Early Career and Research Staff Committee (ECARS). From 2017 to early 2019, I was Academic Director of the Graduate Centre for Europe

I am a member of the following professional associations:

  • Association of German Studies in Great Britain & Ireland
  • Women in German Studies in Great Britain & Ireland
  • German Studies Association
  • German History Society, UK & Ireland
  • Verband der Historikerinnen und Historiker Deutschlands



  • Authors across Borders: Weimar Writers and the International Politics of Culture (1919–1933),book manuscript in progress.
  • Shattering the Silence: A Critical Reader of Inner and Outer Exile Writings from Nazi Germany and Francoist Spain, with Jennifer Arnold. Under contract with Purdue University Press.

Articles & Chapters

  • ‘Extended Arm of Reich Foreign Policy? Literary Internationalisms, Cultural Diplomacies and the First German PEN Club in the Weimar Republic’, Contemporary European History, special issue on European Cultural Diplomacy and the Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1920–1940, (eds.) Benjamin Martin & Elisabeth Piller, forthcoming Summer 2020.
  • ‘Marginalized Memories & Multi-layered Narratives of the Great War in Kamila Shamsie’s A God in Every Stone (2014)’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, 56:2 (2020), 229-246.
  • ‘“The domain of the young as the generation of the future”: Student Agency and Anglo-German Exchange after the Great War’in Marie-Eve Chagnon & Tomas Irish (eds.), The Academic World in the Era of the Great War (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 163–187.
  •  ‘Between Cultural Conflict and Cultural Contact: German Writers, Cultural Diplomacy in the Aftermath of the First World War’in Nicholas Martin, Tim Haughton & Pierre Purseigle (eds.), Aftermath - Legacies and Memories of War in Europe, 1918–1945–1989 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), pp. 109–127.
  • ‘Rekindling Contact: Anglo-German Academic Exchange after the First World War’ in Heather Ellis & Ulrike Kirchberger (eds.), Anglo-German Scholarly Relations in the Long Nineteenth Century (Leiden: Brill, 2014), pp. 212–231.

Encyclopaedia Articles

  • Hugo Haase’, 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel et al, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, 2019-10-02.
  • Gustav Stresemann’ in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2017-01-10.

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