The purpose of the German Association for the Study of British Cultures (BritCult), as our constitution states, is “to promote academic and didactic activity at universities, other institutes of Higher Education, schools and other educational institutions in their research and teaching in the field of British and other English-speaking cultures.” In more detail, this means that “support is to be provided especially through the organization of academic conferences, the publication of academic and didactic research work, the exchange of research findings, and the encouragement of early-career scholars.”
Accordingly, BritCult organizes an annual conference, funds the publication of the Journal for the Study of British Cultures (JSBC), arranges regular workshops for early-career scholars, sponsors activities by early-career scholars (workshops, study days, etc.) financially, and circulates information about conferences, workshops, job opportunities etc. via an online newsletter.
Historically, BritCult members are mainly researchers working within English departments at German universities, but the association is open to individuals from all fields of study concerned with British cultures. BritCult was founded by scholars from the realm of English studies who did not find their interests represented by organizations catering to the established fields of Literary Studies and Linguistics.
In terms of the objects of study, BritCult goes beyond the traditional literary canon to include marginalized forms of representation by women, ethnic and sexual minorities, as well as members of the working class; at the same time, BritCult expands the field towards articulations beyond the literary realm into film, music, digital networked media, material culture, geography, politics and history. In terms of its theoretical foundations, BritCult was conceived in the wake of a rising interest in the works of British Cultural Studies as exemplified by Stuart Hall, Raymond Williams, Angela McRobbie, Paul Gilroy and others. However, research within BritCult is by no means restricted to this tradition, but includes advances in the fields of media studies, postcolonial studies, queer and gender studies, critical race theory, political theory, sociology, ecocriticism and others.
The German Society for the Study of British Cultures reserves a small fund for the sponsorship of activities (workshops, study-days, symposia etc.) organized by their members, especially those who have little experience in applying for external funding. In recent years, for example, we have sponsored the following events:
- Student Conference: Imagining the Monster and the City in Contemporary Fantasy and Horror
- Conference: Writing Football
- Conference: De/Constructing Masculinities? Critical Explorations into Affect, Intersectionality, and the Body
Cultural Studies in Germany dates back to at least 1976, its central ideas started circulating even before that. Accompanying the publication of the essay “How Cultural Studies Came to Germany” in the 2021/1 issue of the JSBC, members of the Association began to put together documents to provide a brief insight into this history, concentrating on the events that led up to the foundation of the German Association for the Study of British Cultures in 2001.
- Prof Dr Lena Steveker
Chair / University of Luxembourg
- Prof Dr Jana Gohrisch
Vice Chair / Leibniz University Hannover
- Assoc Prof Dr Dorothea Flothow
Treasurer / Paris Lodron University Salzburg