about the project

Using the example of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1968, Reading Violent Politics: transnational and interdisciplinary approaches to political extremism in Germany since 1968 explores political violence and the methods currently available for understanding it.

In a series of workshops and an international conference the project has interrogated political violence and its cultural reception with specific reference to

(i)                 the neo-nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU) since the early 2000s

(ii)                the Autonomen movement, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s

(iii)               the Revolutionary Cells and the Red Zora in the 1970s

(iv)              the role and legacy of women and 68 in Germany and internationally.

The project combines humanities with social science expertise. It is led by the Department of German and Dutch at the University of Cambridge, in co-operation with the Institut für Kriminologische Sozialforschung (IKS) at the University of Hamburg.

Reading Violent Politics is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service, the Department of German and Dutch at Cambridge (Schröder Fund), the British Academy (BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant Scheme), and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at Cambridge.

Project researchers

Principal investigator: Professor Sarah Colvin. Sarah Colvin is Schröder Professor of German at Cambridge. She has worked extensively on gender and political violence in Germany. Her monograph Ulrike Meinhof and West German Terrorism was published by Camden House in 2010.

Co-Investigator: Susanne Krasmann. Professor Krasmann’s specialist areas include Critical Security Studies, control technologies and regimes of visibility. She was lead author of Die gesellschaftliche Konstruktion von Sicherheit. Zur medialen Vermittlung und Wahrnehmung der Terrorismusbekämpfung (Forschungsforum Öffentliche Sicherheit 2014).

Co-investigator: Dr Katharina Karcher. Katharina Karcher’s research focuses on women’s political militancy. Her monograph Militant Feminisms in the Federal Republic of Germany is in preparation for publication with Berghahn. She is the Schröder Research Associate in the Department of German and Dutch at the University of Cambridge.

Project assistant: Ms Ali Jones. Ali Jones is a PhD student in the Department of German and Dutch at the University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on the intellectual history of the German ‘Autonomen’ movement. Her supervisors are Dr Martin Rühl (Cambridge) and Professor Sarah Colvin (Cambridge)

Core researchers: Professor Joachim Whaley (Cambridge); Daniela Pisoiu (IKS Hamburg); Dr Martin Rühl (Cambridge); Dr Mererid Puw Davies (UCL); Dr Clare Bielby (Hull).


For further information about this website and the research project, please contact Dr Katharina Karcher kk552 [at] cam.ac.uk