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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2017/18 Prof. Dr. Henrike Lähnemann

Prof. Dr. Henrike Lähnemann

University of Oxford
German Medieval Studies
External Senior Fellow
July - August 2017

Room 02 022
Phone +49 (0) 761-203 97400
Fax +49 (0)761 203 97451


I grew up in three German towns that shaped my interest in medieval literature and religion: Münster, Lüneburg and Nürnberg. I then studied Germanistik, History of Art and Theology in Bamberg, Edinburgh, Berlin and Göttingen. My PhD explored the late medieval literary network of Nürnberg. I followed my Doktorvater Professor Christoph Huber to the University of Tübingen where from 1995 to 2006 I taught a variety of courses on medieval German language and literature ranging from Advanced Gothic to Early Print Culture. During that time I gained a Venia Legendi (the right to lecture) in German Philology for my book on the history of the Book of Judith in the Middle Ages and edited an 11th century bilingual commentary on the Song of Songs by Williram of Ebersberg. During these years I spent a year at Oxford on a Humboldt foundation scholarship working with Professor Nigel F. Palmer (2001-2002) and held a Visiting Professorship at the University of Zürich centred around manuscript studies (2005). In 2006, I came to the UK as Chair of German Studies at Newcastle University where my current research projects took shape: the religious landscape of the 15/16th Lüneburg area, particularly the manuscripts produced by the nuns in Medingen. Working there also afforded the opportunity to start shared projects with British German medievalists and the wider field of Modern Languages, e.g. as Chair of Women in German Studies (WIGS). Since starting in Oxford as the Chair of Medieval German Literature and Languages in January 2015, I have taken forward these and new topics within the German and medieval studies community in Oxford.


Selected Publications


    FRIAS Research Project

    Internationalisation and Cooperation. Taking the Oxford - Freiburg connection further

    The collaboration between medieval German studies in Freiburg and Oxford has traditionally been very close, ranging from defining new areas of study such as ‚Kulturtopographie des deutschen Südwestens’ (Palmer / Schiewer) to the annual meetings of the graduate community. This productive cooperation has been built into the descriptors for the Chair of Medieval German Literature and Language that had become vacant after Nigel F. Palmer’s retirement. The VW-Stiftung generously provides for a two-month fellowship each year for ten years for the Chair holder to work at the FRIAS and thus „offers a forum to discuss research projects in an interdisciplinary environment“. For 2015, the first year for me to hold this position, I will try to build on the existing excellent links by connecting my own research priorities to pertinent topics at Freiburg (e.g. transferring the concept of ‚Kulturtopographie’ to Northern Germany and organising an interdisciplinary excursion to the Burg Wildenstein and its medieval Sigenot wall paintings) and at the same time to provide support and help with the internationalisation agenda of the University. Ideas for this include skills training and mentoring for postgraduate students and early career researchers across the Humanities from a British / Oxford perspective.