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Yr Athro Gerrit-Jan Berendse

Yr Athro Gerrit-Jan Berendse

Professor of Modern European Literature, Culture and German. (on sabbatical until August 2015)

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I studied German Language, Literature and Society, Art History and Modern Philosophy in Utrecht, Göttingen and Frankfurt/Main. MA summa cum laude in 1985 and PhD in 1990, funded by the Dutch Research Council, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Postdoc at University of Bochum and University of Utrecht. Start of teaching career in 1994 at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2002 I moved to Cardiff School of European Studies as Chair in Modern European Literature and Culture. From 2002 to 2006 I was Director of Postgraduate Studies and Head of the German Department from 2007 till 2010. I am joint chair of the research unit Languages, Cultures and Ideologies.

My research interests are in contemporary German poetry and in the links between European literature and terrorism.






  • Berendse, G. 2019. Flirting with surrealism: Elke Erb's act of writing. In: Kniesche, T. W. and Lutzeler, P. M. eds. Gegenwartsliteratur. Ein germanistisches Jahrbuch/A German Studies Yearbook 18. Stauffenburg Verlag, pp. 169-182.
  • Berendse, G. 2019. Brecht-Masters-Kunert. In: Wessendorf, M. ed. The Brecht Yearbook / Das Brecht-Jahrbuch 44., Vol. 44. Camden House, pp. 1-3.



  • Berendse, G. 2017. Twentieth-Century poetry. In: Webber, A. J. ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Berlin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 245-263.





  • Berendse, G. 2012. Politisches Gedicht 13. Nov. 1974, BRD. In: Röhnert, J. and Geduldig, G. eds. Rolf Dieter Brinkmann: Seine Gedichte in Einzelinterpretationen. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 688-697.










Undergraduate teaching: final year option modules

  • May 68: Marking Changes in European Politics and Culture
  • Life and Letters of Bertolt Brecht

MA European Studies

Pathway on Europe in a National & Global Context
In this scheme I teach European protest culture in  the 1960s and 70s. I have a special interest in the configurations between student movements and political violence in various European nations.

Pathway on Identities in European Studies
I teach the module on German Youth Culture, a phenomenon that spans from the 1770s to the 1970s, focusing on authors such as Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, Georg Büchner, Jakob van Hoddis, Hans Magnus Enzensberger and Rolf Dieter Brinkmann.

MA Literature in European Cultures

Module on Memories of the Second World War in European Autobiographical Writing
I teach texts by the Holocaust survivor Jean Améry and the anonymously published diary Woman in Berlin in which Germans are portrayed as victims of WWII.

Module on The Novel and the City
I teach the novel Death in Rom by Wolfgang Koeppen.

Module on Crossing Borders: Adaptations of Literature into Film
Here, the main focus is the transfer from Günter Grass’s novel to Volker Schlöndorff’s film The Tin Drum.

Key projects

  • Organisor of the Conference of the Association for German Studies in Great Britain and Ireland at Cardiff in 2013 with Ruth Owen.
  • Terror in the Arts. Changing Views of Political Violence in Literature and the Arts. 23-24 August 2000 at University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (with Mark Williams)
  • Cultural Memories of Left-Wing German Terrorism. 15-17 September 2005 at Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK (principal investigator)
  • May 68 Postgraduate symposium. 9 May 2006 at Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK (principal investigator)
  • Hamlet Reception in European Cultures. 11-13 September 2008 at Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK (with Ruth Owen)

Research fellowships

  • Research Fellowship of Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research, Humanities section (NWO): 1986-1990
  • Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship: 1999-2000, 2006 and 2010
  • DAAD Senior Academic Fellowship 2007 and 2010

 For more  information on Jan’s current Research Leave Project


Past projects