Professor Henrike Lähnemann
Professor of Medieval German Literature and Linguistic Studies and Professorial Fellow
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.
Henrike is eager to supervise students in the wider area of medieval German literature with a special focus on manuscript studies, the intersection of visual and textual culture and Latin-German bilingual writing. Since one of her interests is in Digital Humanities, she is in the process of developing a new website for her current research project on the Medingen Manuscripts, now hosted by St Edmund Hall. Additonally, her personal website, her staff page and her twitter account give some insights into her interests and projects.
You can also watch a short ‘Teddy Talk’ talk given by Henrike at the 2017 St Edmund Hall Research Expo, entitled ‘Banned Books: Hus and Luther in the Teddy Hall Library’.