Dr Anna Saunders

Anna Saunders
Senior Lecturer in German
01248 382135 (2135 internal)
Room 450, New Arts Building
Dr Anna Saunders is Senior Lecturer in German. She is a specialist in GDR history and memory, with a particular focus on questions of memorialisation and the performance of memory within the built environment. She graduated with a BA in French and German from the University of Bristol in 1999, where she also completed a PhD in German Studies in 2003. Her doctoral work explored the effects of the socialist education system in the GDR, and specifically examined the concept of patriotism among young people in eastern Germany between 1979 and 2002. After a temporary lectureship at Bristol, she was appointed Lecturer in German at Bangor University in 2005, where she has served as Head of German since 2009 and Head of School from 2011 to 2014. She is currently also acting Head of School.


Dr Saunders has taught on a wide range of undergraduate modules at Bangor, encompassing modern German literature, German-language film, German and European history and music.

She currently teaches on the following undergraduate modules:

  • German language and translation (various levels)
  • Contemporary Europe and its History
  • European Ideas and Ideologies
  • The German Film
  • East Germany and its Legacy
  • Heimat: What is Germany?


Dr Saunders teaches on the MA in European Languages and Cultures, and offers specialist modules on ‘Sites of Memory in East Germay’ and ‘(Non)conformity in the GDR’.

She is happy to supervise doctoral students working on questions of memory and identity in contemporary Germany, the social and cultural history of the GDR, post-socialist Germany, memorialisation and museums. She currently supervises the following doctoral students:

  • Stefanie Kreibich, ‘Black and White: The Commemoration of East Germany in contemporary museums and films’

Recently completed doctoral students:

  • Stephanie Bostock, ‘Exhibiting the Everyday: The Musealisation of the 1950s in France and Germany'

Research Interests

  • Monuments and memorials in Berlin and eastern Germany; socialist realist sculpture; memory and the built environment.
  • Social and political history of the GDR, with particular emphasis on youth culture, education and the employment of quasi-religious propaganda.
  • East Germany and its transformation since unification; development of East German identities; Ostalgie; memory of the GDR.
  • National identity and historical consciousness in twentieth-century Germany.

Research Grants

  • 2007: British Academy Small Research Grant
  • 2009-2010: AHRC Network Grant (Principal Investigator)
    ‘After the Wall: Reconstructing and Representing the GDR’, in collaboration with Dr Debbie Pinfold, University of Bristol.
    Further details at: http://afterthewall.bangor.ac.uk
  • Jan-Sept 2011: AHRC Early Career Fellowship, 'Memorialising the GDR'.

Recently Organised Events

  • Co-organisation of a series of postgraduate symposia entitled The GDR Today with colleagues from the universities of Birmingham and Bristol. The third symposium is to take place at Bangor University on 6-7 April 2017.
  • Co-organisation of an international interdisciplinary conference with colleagues from the School of Modern Languages and the School of Philosophy and Religion: City Margins – City Memories, Institute of Modern Languages Research, London, 7-8 April 2014. Further details at: http://cityconference.bangor.ac.uk


Edited Volumes

  • ed. with Debbie Pinfold, Remembering and Rethinking the GDR: Multiple Perspectives and Plural Authenticities (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) (http://www.palgraveconnect.com/pc/doifinder/10.1057/9781137292094)
  • ed. with Laura Rorato, The Essence and the Margin: National Identities and Collective Memories in Contemporary European Culture, 'Studia Imagologica' series vol. 15, (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009) (link)

Articles and Chapters

  • co-authored with James Mark, Muriel Blaive, Adam Hudek and Stanisław Tyszka, ‘1989 After 1989. Remembering the End of State Socialism in East-Central Europe’, in Thinking through Transition. Liberal Democracy, Authoritarian Pasts, and Intellectual History in East Central Europe After 1989, ed. by Michal Kopeček and Piotr Wciślik (Budapest; New York: Central European University Press, 2015), pp. 463-503
  • 'Memorialising the "Heldenstadt der DDR"', in Kulturkontakte - Cultures in Contact, ed. by Frauke Hofmeister and Dietmar Böhnke (Leipzig: Edition Hamouda, 2014), pp. 181-93
  • ‘The Politics of Memory in Berlin’s Freiheits- und Einheitsdenkmal’, in Debbie Pinfold and Anna Saunders (eds), Remembering and Rethinking the GDR: Multiple Perspectives and Plural Authenticities (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), pp. 164-78
  • ‘Thomas Brussig’s Heroes Like Us’, in The German-Lanugage Novel since 1990, ed. Stuart Taberner (CUP, 2011), 50-63 (link)
  • ‘The Luxemburg Legacy: Concretising the Remembrance of a Controversial Heroine?’, German History, 29 (2011) 1, 36-56 (link)
  • ‘The Ghosts of Lenin, Thälmann and Marx in the Post-Socialist Cityscape’, German Life and Letters, 63 (2010) 4, 441-457 (link)
  • ‘Challenging or Concretising Cold War Narratives? Berlin’s Memorial to the Victims of 17 June 1953’, in Memorialization in Germany since 1945, ed. by Bill Niven and Chloe Paver (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 298-307 (link)
  • Remembering Cold War Division: Wall Remnants and Border Monuments in Berlin’, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 17 (2009) 1, 9-19 (link)
  • ‘Junge Identitäten und die Wende’, in Views from Abroad: Die DDR aus britischer Perspektive, ed. Peter Barker, Marc-Dietrich Ohse and Dennis Tate (Bertelsmann, July 2007), pp. 137-147 (link)
  • ‘Normalising the Past: East German Culture and Ostalgie’, in German Culture, Politics and Literature into the Twenty-First Century: Beyond Normalization, ed. by Paul Cooke and Stuart Taberner (Rochester: Camden House, 2006), 89-103 (link)
  • ‘Growing up on the Front Line: Young East Germans and the Effects of Militarism during the 1980s’, Debatte, 13 (2005) 3, 283-97 (link)
  • 'Wenn es so wäre wie im Geschichtsbuch': The Historical Consciousness of East Germany's Youth before and after Unification', Field Studies: German Language, Media and Culture. CUTG Proceedings, vol 5, ed. Carol Fehringer and Holger Briel (Bern: Peter Lang, 2005), 177-95
  • '"Schrecklich leere Gemüseläden", "nicht wirklich Sozialismus" and "Gemeinschaftsgefühl": Young East Germans' Perceptions of the GDR', German as a Foreign Language, (2004) 3, 25-42 (link)
  • 'Ostdeutschland: Heimat einer xenophoben Tradition?', Berliner Debatte INITIAL, 14 (2003) 2, 50-59 (link)
  • 'The Socialist and Post-socialist Jugendweihe: Symbol of an Evolving East(ern) German Identity', Focus on German Studies, 9 (2002), 43-60


  • Regular reviewing activity for: German History, European History Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary History, Slavonic and East European Review, Modern Language Review, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, H-Net, The Historian.
  • Review Article: ‘Constructing and Maintaining Socialism in the German Democratic Republic’, European History Quarterly, 39 (2009) 4, 653-661
  • Review Article: ‘“Who has the youth, has the future”: Three youth movements in twentieth-century Germany’, Journal of Contemporary History, 41 (2006) 1, 175-183

Other Academic-related Work

Schools Workshops

Dr Saunders regularly leads schools workshops and teacher training days on GDR culture and monuments, primarily aimed at GCSE and A-level groups. She would welcome contact from German and/or History teachers who may be interested in exploring possible collaborations.