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Henrike Lähnemann


Professor Henrike Lähnemann grew up in three medieval German towns that shaped her interest in medieval literature and religion: Münster, Lüneburg and Nürnberg. She is now the Professor of Medieval German Literature and Linguistics at the University of Oxford.

Henrike studied Germanistik, History of Art and Theology in Bamberg, Edinburgh, Berlin and Göttingen. Her PhD explored the late medieval literary network of Nürnberg. She followed her Doktorvater Professor Christoph Huber to the University of Tübingen where from 1995 to 2006 she taught a variety of courses on medieval German language and literature ranging from Advanced Gothic to Early Print Culture. During that time she gained a Venia Legendi (the right to lecture) in German Philology for her book on the history of the Book of Judith in the Middle Ages and edited an 11th century bilingual commentary on the Song of Songs by Williram of Ebersberg.

During these years Henrike spent a year at Oxford on a Humboldt foundation scholarship working with Professor Nigel F. Palmer (2001/2) and held a Visiting Professorship in manuscript studies at the University of Zürich centred around (2005). In 2006, she came to the UK as Chair of German Studies at Newcastle University where her current research projects started, centred on the religious landscape of the 15/16th centuries in the Lüneburg area, particularly the manuscripts produced by the nuns there. Working there also afforded Henrike the opportunity to start shared projects with British German medievalists and the wider field of Modern Languages, e.g. as Chair of Women in German Studies (WIGS) from 2009 to 2015.

Since 2015, she has held the Chair in Medieval German Literature and Linguistics which was created in 1972 for Peter F. Ganz and then taken over by Nigel F. Palmer who continues to be actively involved in research and in the life of the College. The continuation of the Chair was made possible by generous funding from the VolkswagenStiftung, the DAAD, and the University of Freiburg where Henrike has the privilege of spending two months of research time every summer at the FRIAS (Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies). Henrike’s role at the College does not involve teaching but she regularly uses the Old Library, Crypt and Chapel for graduate teaching and other medieval events and enjoys singing in the Chapel Choir.

Updated: 21/05/2023

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