Prof Henk de Berg
Head of Department, Professor of German
email : email@example.com
Born in Holland, I studied German and comparative literature in Leiden, at one of Europe´s oldest universities, and Siegen (in North Rhine-Westphalia, near Bonn). I came to Sheffield in 1996, after having taught comparative literature at Leiden for several years. My research interests, which used to be in literary history and literary theory (especially the sociology and psychology of literature), have in recent years shifted to intellectual history and social thought.
- German intellectual history
- social thought
- literary theory
- 18-20th century German literature and culture
I am also involved in the teaching of the German language at all levels. At postgraduate level, I teach a substantial part of the Departmental MA in Germanic Studies, including the module "Approaches to German Intellectual History", and I participate in the School-taught modules in Critical Theory, coordinated by the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies. I offer MPhil and PhD supervision on any topic in my research areas.
My research, which draws both on classical thinkers such as Hegel and Freud and on contemporary thinkers and debates, represents a cross-over between German studies, literary and cultural theory, and the history of ideas. In the past, I worked mainly on the relationship between literary and social developments and on the use of critical theories as tools for literary criticism. Over the past few years, the focus of my research has shifted towards intellectual history and social thought. I am the author of three books: a study of the problems of literary historiography (which includes a case study of Young Germany´s reception of Goethe); an introduction to Freud´s theory and its use in literary and cultural studies (described by Peter Gay as "as good an introductory text as one can possibly hope for"), which received a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award and has been translated into three European languages as well as Chinese; and a comparative study of the concepts of the end of history and civil society in G.W.F. Hegel, Alexandre Kojève, and Francis Fukuyama. I have also co-edited five books on critical theory, including a Suhrkamp volume on the reception of Niklas Luhmann´s sociology in the humanities. At present, I am working on various aspects of Kulturkritik and preparing an annotated German-language reader on German thought from Kant to Habermas, to be published by Camden House.
I have given many lectures, both in Britain and abroad, on a variety of topics in social thought and the history of ideas. The most recent ones deal with:
- Hegel's view of modern society
- various aspects of Freudian psychoanalysis
- the Frankfurt School
- the Russian-born French philosopher Alexandre Kojève
- Hermann Lübbe's and Odo Marquard's Kritik der Kulturkritik
- the parallels between Western cultural criticism and Islamic fundamentalism