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Position: Research ProfessorCentre for German-Jewish Studies, University of Sussex
Centre for German-Jewish Studies
Teaches (T) and/or researches (R) in:
Professor Edward Timms, OBE, FBA, Research Professor in History, was the Director of the Centre from its inception until the appointment of his successor Dr Raphael Gross in 2003. The range of his interests was signalled by his inaugural lecture, ‘The Wandering Jew: A Leitmotif in German Literature and Politics’ (University of Sussex, 1994). With a group of enthusiastic colleagues he launched the Centre’s programme of teaching and research, which has been developed in partnership with its London-based Support Group, attracting financial support from both individual and institutional donors.
Professor Timms, who is best known for his research on the Jewish contribution to twentieth-century Austrian culture, developed an innovative research methodology which involves the mapping of circles of intellectual creativity in diagrammatic form. He has published many books and articles on Austrian Jewish cultural history, and in 2002 he was awarded the Austrian State Prize for History of the Social Sciences. He is best known for his book Karl Kraus - Apocalyptic Satirist, published by Yale University Press in two volumes as Culture and Catastrophe in Habsburg Vienna (1986) and The Post-War Crisis and the Rise of the Swastika (2005). His scholarly work and his achievements as director of the Centre were further recognized in 2005 when he was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire.
A further interest is the history of psychoanalysis, and in addition to the co-edited collections of conference papers Freud in Exile (Yale, 1988) and Freud: Dreaming, Creativity and Therapy (special issue of Psychoanalysis and History, 2001), he has edited the memoirs of Fritz Wittels under the title Freud and the Child Woman (Yale, 1995). In 1990 he founded (with Ritchie Robertson) the annual series ‘Austrian Studies’, of which fourteen volumes have so far appeared on subjects ranging from The Austrian Enlightenment (1991) to Theodor Herzl and the Origins of Zionism (1997).
As Director of the Centre he organized a weekly Research Colloquium together with a programme of international conferences on political, cultural and literary history. This is reflected in the co-edited publications The German-Jewish Dilemma (Mellen, 1999), Writing after Hitler: The Work of Jakov Lind (University of Wales Press, 2001), Reading Karl Kraus: The Reception of ‘Die Fackel’ (Judicium, 2001), Intellectual Migration and Cultural Transformation (Springer, 2002) and Nationalist Myths and Modern Media (I B Tauris, 2006). His interest in comparative European literature and cultural history is reflected in the co-edited volumes Unreal City (Manchester University Press, 1985) and Visions and Blueprints (Manchester, 1988). He is a member of the Turkish Area Study Group and, in partnership with his wife Saime Göksu, he has written Romantic Communist: The Life and Work of Nazim Hikmet (Hurst, 2000; reissued as a paperback in 2006).
His research paper, ‘Memories of Michaelowka: Labour Camp Testimonies in the Arnold Daghani Archive’ (Centre for German-Jewish Studies, 2000) provides an introduction to the voluminous collection of artistic and commemorative works by a Holocaust survivor, located at the University of Sussex. Further archival research funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council involves the compilation under his supervision of a database of British Archival Materials Relating to German-Speaking Refugees (BARGE). The findings of a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust on ‘Pictorial Narrative in the Nazi Period’, involving a comparative study (with Deborah Schultz) of the work of three persecuted Jewish artists, Arnold Daghani, Felix Nussbaum and Charlotte Salomon, are due to be published in a special issue of the journal Word & Image.
Edward Timms spent twenty-five years as a Lecturer in German at the University of Cambridge, where he developed new courses on German culture and politics and on the European avant-garde. He is a Life Fellow of Gonville and Caius College and a member of the London Board of the Leo Baeck Institute. When he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in July 2006, the citation described him as ‘an internationally acknowledged authority on the cultural and intellectual life of Vienna in the last decades of the Dual Monarchy and the First Austrian Republic’, adding that his interests ‘extend widely into related fields including the fate of German-Jewish culture under the pressures of anti-Semitism and the work of refugees from National Socialism’.