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Dr Nicholas Hodgin

Senior Lecturer in German Studies

School of Modern Languages

Available for postgraduate supervision


I teach and research German cultural studies and am interested in international cinema and visual culture, especially German film and visual culture, and East German cultural history and its legacy.

My research is interdisciplinary; much of it has focussed on issues and meaning of representation, and on the relationship between culture and politics. These thematic interests have informed publications on diverse topics, from the representation of East Germany in post-unification film to the documentary treatment of trauma, from the construction and significance of authenticity in our understanding of blues music to the legacy of Communist visual culture and the significance of ruins and nostalgia.

My book publications include Screening the East: Heimat, Memory and Nostalgia in German Film Since 1989 (Berghahn 2011; paperback 2013), and the co-edited volumes The GDR Remembered:Representations of the East German State since 1989 (Camden House, 2011), Andreas Dresen (Peter Lang, 2016) and Scars and Wounds: Film and Legacies of Trauma (Palgrave 2017).

My current research projects focus on:

  • Aspects of GDR cultural history, looking at amateur filmmaking, DEFA documentary film in national and transnational contexts, and architecture on film.
  • The end of the east German state and the meaning of 1989
  • Communist ‘cosmic culture’ and visual culture
  • International documentary film culture during the Cold War.
  • Ruins and nostalgia in post-communist visual and pop culture














Book sections



Broadly speaking, my research and research interests are in cultural studies and cultural history with a particular (but not exclusive) focus on German cultural life. My work falls into three main areas: East German cultural history, German film and visual culture, and Film Studies.

I have longstanding interest in the GDR and have written on East German cinema, investigating  the ways in which film was a medium used to subvert or to serve the regime, especially in documentary films that offered careful critiques of everyday life, or in positive representations of GDR values and its origins.

I have worked on representations of East Germany since unification, looking in particular at the ways in which filmmakers have been attracted to the problematic East German past and to portraying the  experiences of east Germans in the not unproblematic present, a topic  I explored in Screening the East: Heimat, Memory and Nostalgia in German Film Since 1989 (Berghahn 2011; paperback 2013). The GDR Remembered, co-edited with Caroline Pearce, brought together scholars and curators to reflect on the complex narratives of the East German past.

Other work has investigated the role film has played in mediating trauma (resulting in the volume co-edited  with Amit Thaakkar, Scars and Wounds: Film and Legacies of Trauma (Palgrave 2017), the filmmaker Andreas Dresen, resulting in the volume co-edited with Julian Preece, Andreas Dresen (Lang 2016), as well as essays on diverse topics including music of the Deep South, Soviet cosmic culture, nostalgia and its manifestation in contemporary culture, documentary film, omnibus films, and Weimar cinema.

Current research projects include work with my colleague Heiko Feldner on 'The Meaning of 1989', the disappearance of East German architecture, documentary film in the GDR, music subcultures in Germany, and on the global developments of punk.


Much of my teaching is research-driven and I teach or supervise on a range of topics on several undergraduate and postgraduate modules. These include:

Undergraduate teaching

  • Cultures in Context (convener)
  • United but Divided? Exploring German Unification (convener)
  • Introduction to Specialised Translation
  • Translation as a Profession
  • Translation for Eramus Students
  • Culture,Political protest and Dissent in the 1960s
  • Final Year Dissertation

Postgraduate Teaching

  • Research Methods and Methodologies (convener)
  • Global Cultures (convener)
  • Introduction to Translation Methods


I came to Cardiff in 2017 having previously taught at  Sheffield, where I completed my PhD, Lancaster and Manchester.

I was among the first group of scholars to research East German cinema (DEFA) and spent some years living in Dresden, where I lived a double life - teaching English in businesses in the city and local region, and researching East German film and culture.


I would be very happy to supervise students in the areas of:

  • German cinema (especially DEFA, German documentary culture, Autorenkino, experimental filmmaking)
  • East  German cultural history (especially in areas such as youth cultures, music, cinema, architecture)
  • German visual culture (especially modern and contemporary visual culture - graphic art, graffiti, etc)
  • International and transnational filmmaking
  • Cold War culture (especially in the German context)
  • Berlin in the twentieth and twenty-first century
  • Trauma and its representation on film
  • Nostalgia (particularly in the context of post-communism)
  • Ruins (particularly in the context of post-communism)