Dr Christine Berberich
Reader in Literature
I am Reader in Literature and Global Engagement Lead for the School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature.
I currently lead the two year Faculty Strategic Research Project on 'PG Wodehouse and the Men of Tost', an examination of Wodehouse's infamous time as a Civilian Internee during the Second World War alongside the documentations and testimonies left behind by some of his fellow internees. Previously, I led the three-year Faculty Strategic Project on 'Britain in Europe / Europe in Britain'. As part of the project, I co-hosted the 2017 international and cross-disciplinary conference on the same theme, co-organised two panels on 'Britain in Europe' at the ESSE Conference 2018 in Brno, Czech Republic and contributed to the 2018 'Being Human' Festival of the Humanities.
I am module leader for the third-year option Holocaust Literatures which sees me develop new approaches to Holocaust Teaching. I encourage my students to engage creatively with what they are learning, and also take this approach into the community, with regular workshops in a local school. This collaboration has been leading to an exhibition in collaboration with the D-Day Story in Portsmouth to mark Holocaust Memorial Day for the past two years running.
I have been working at the University of Portsmouth since August 2009, first as Senior Lecturer in English Literature and, since 2019, as Reader in Literature. Over the past eleven years I have held a number of additional admin roles, most recently that of Global Engagement Lead for the School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature (since January 2018).
Before I came to Portsmouth, I held a seven-year Lectureship in 19th and 20th Century Literature at the University of Derby. This partly overlapped my PhD research on the Image of the English Gentleman in 20th Century Literature which I conducted at the University of York; my PhD was awarded in 2004. Before that, I completed an MA in English Literature, Spanish and Latinamerican Language and Literature, and Modern History at the University of the Saarland in Germany (awarded 1998).
I have two distinct research specialisms. For many years now, I have been working on literary and cultural representations of English national identity. Apart from my book on The Image of the English Gentleman in Twentieth-Century Literature (Ashgate 2007), I have published widely on Englishness in contemporary literature, as well as co-edited a book on These Englands: a Conversation on National ldentity (MUP, 2011). This has led to work on the relation between 'Englishness' and 'landscape', here in particular the 'affective' nature of landscape in the formation of a specific national identity. l have recently co-edited the books Land & Identity. Theory, Memory & Practice (Rodopi, 2012) and Affective Landscapes in Literature, Art and Everyday Life (2015), and have published an important chapter on 'Affect Theory' (2015). My interest in national identity has recently led to me start investigating the new genre of BrexLit. I have already given two keynote lectures on that theme, at the University of Basel, Switzerland in May 2019, and for the Venus International Foundation in Chennai, India, in August 2019, as well as published two journal articles (March 2020; and forthcoming). I am now at work on an edited collection (under contract with Routledge) on Brexit and the Migrant Voice: EU Citizens in post-Brexit Literature and Culture.
My second main research specialism is in the field of Holocaust Studies. My interest here is in particular in contemporary fictional representations of the Holocaust and their ensuing problematics. I am particularly interested in contemporary German writing on the Holocaust, and here especially the new critical engagement with perpetrator accounts. ln July 2013, I hosted a major international conference on 'Trauma & Memory: the Holocaust in Contemporary Culture' here at the Centre for Studies in Literature; the resulting publication, a special issue for the Journal of Holocaust Studies was published in 2019 and is currently in press as an edited collection with Routledge. I have also edited a special issue on 'The Holocaust in Contemporary Popular Culture' for the e-journal Genealogy. In addition to recently published articles and chapters in the field, I am currently at work on a monograph dedicated to Nazi Noir, the representation of Nazi perpetration and its long shadows in contemporary crime writing.
I am happy to take calls and emails from media on my research, and am aware of the need to respond to journalists in a timely manner.
Interested journalists can also contact the University's Media and Communications team for support and advice on all media engagement, including out of hours.