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Dr Ian Roberts

profile.jpgAssociate Professor; Senior Tutor; Director for Student Wellbeing

Tel: +44 (0)24 765 24479
Email: i dot g dot roberts at warwick dot ac dot uk

Fourth Floor, Faculty of Arts Building
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7AL


After completing a PhD at the University of Wales Swansea I lectured at the University of Mainz, Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, and the University of Exeter, before taking up a post as Director of German Studies at the University of Leicester between 2007-2013. I joined Warwick in September 2013.

I am married, with two grown up children. I am a member of a local church and also run a Boys' Brigade Company in the town, which frequently involves getting cold and wet as a Duke of Edinburgh award expedition assessor! Otherwise, I enjoy modelmaking (with a particular obsession for model trains), hillwalking and watching a wide range of films.

Research interests

Currently my research interests are focussed on two areas. One is the career and films of the influential German director F. W. Murnau, responsible for some of the Weimar Republic's greatest films (e.g. Nosferatu, Der letzte Mann). In April 2013 I was awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant to investigate aspects of Murnau's early career.

My other area of interest concerns the relationship between aspects of German national identity and the modern German armed forces (Bundeswehr), and how this is reflected in media portrayals in Germany.

In May 2015 I co-organised and hosted a conference entitled 'Imaging War - Imaging the Nation' (with Andrew Plowman, Liverpool University) which sought to establish a framework for developing a cultural history of the soldier in Europe between the inception of the nation-state in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the complex, post-9/11 world of peacekeeping, peace-enforcing deployments and asymmetric warfare.

In 2019, thanks to funding provided by the University's WATE scheme (Warwick Awards for Teaching Excellence) I launched the Weimar 100 project, which seeks to make film more accessible to a modern audience. Each year between 2019 and 2033 I aim to hold a public screening and talk, showcasing classic and obscure films from the years of the Weimar Republic, each in the centenary year of their premiere. The inaugural event featured a screening of Ernst Lubitch's Madame Dubarry while the 2021 remote event included an online screening and talk about the contested readings of Robert Wiene's seminal film Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari. Read more about the Weimar 100 project here:

Current Teaching

  • GE112 Provincial - Pariah - Powerhouse: Reading German-language Culture in a Global Perspective
  • GE201 Translation
  • GE217 Film in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich
  • GE401 Final year translation


I would welcome approaches from students considering postgraduate research in the following areas:

  • German film
  • Cinema and cultural history of the Weimar Republic
  • Contemporary European representations of war in film

Current and past supervision:

Gerhild Krebs (PhD, 2021) 'Media, Performing Arts and Exile in 20th Century Germany and Britain - the Example of Walter Rilla' [co-supervisor].

Molly Harrabin (PhD, ongoing) ''Images of the Other in Films of Fritz Lang & G. W. Pabst" [co-supervisor].

Publications & Selected Public Engagements/Papers


  • '"You must not become Cesare" Contested Readings of Dr Caligari', public lecture (online), 4 November 2020 (part of the Weimar 100 project).
  • 'Madame Dubarry: Revolutionary Images in a Revolutionary Year', public lecture, University of Warwick, 5 December 2019 (Weimar 100 project).
  • 'Wendejahr 1919: the early filmmaking career of F. W. Murnau', paper presented at the German Studies Association annual conference, Portland, Oregon, 6 October 2019.


  • Teach Yourself German Verbs (revised edition, Hodder & Stoughton, 2010).
  • German Expressionist Cinema: The World of Light and Shadow (Wallflower, 2008).
  • Grammatik Aktiv! (with Richard Robinson, Hodder & Stoughton, 2001).
  • Teach Yourself World Cultures: Germany (Hodder & Stoughton, 2000, repr. 2004).
  • Eine Rechnung, die nicht aufgeht: Identity and Ideology in the Fiction of Wolfdietrich Schnurre (Lang, 1997).

Journal Articles

  • 'Primitive miasmas and the iconography of the future in Fritz Lang’s Frau im Mond (1929),

    Studies in European Cinema, 12 (2015) 2. 

  • 'The Return of the Hero? Contemporary German War Films', Journal of War and Culture Studies, 7 (2014) 4.
  • ‘Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, transatlantic thresholds and transcendental homelessness’, Studies in European Cinema, 4 (2007) 3.
  • ‘Perpetrators and Victims: Wolfdietrich Schnurre and the “Bombenkrieg” over Germany’, in Forum for Modern Language Studies, 41 (2005) 2.
  • ‘Caligari Revisited: Circles, Cycles and Counter-Revolution in Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari’, in German Life and Letters, 57 (2004) 2.

Chapters & Articles in Books

  • 'The Man with Scary Eyes: The Transatlantic Career of Conrad Veidt' in Jaimey Fisher & Christopher Homewood (eds) European Stars in Hollywood (forthcoming).
  • Entries on ‘Alraune’, ‘Frau im Mond’, ‘Metropolis’ in Peter Wright (ed.) Critical Companion to Science Fiction Film Adaptations, (forthcoming).
  • 'Screen Warriors: Danish Soldiers and National Identity in April 9th and A War' in Alexandra Hagen & John A. Wiliams (eds) Conflict and Survival in Western European Film since 2000: Narrative, Form, and Historical Context (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022).
  • ‘Trauma in the Balkans: European Film and the Peacekeeper’s Dilemma’ in Stephen McVeigh (ed.) Men After War (Routledge, 2013).
  • ‘Tinker, Tailor, Nazi Sailor: Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot’ in Brigid Haines, Stephen Parker, Colin Riordan (eds), Aesthetics and Politics in Modern German Culture, (Peter Lang, 2010).


  • 'Screening War: Perspectives on German Suffering (eds Paul Cooke, Marc Silbermann)', in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 32 (2012) 1, 155-57.
  • 'Shell Shock Cinema: Weimar Culture and the Wounds of War (Anton Kaes)', in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 31 (2011) 2, 325-27.
  • 'Weimar Cinema: an Essential Guide to Classic Films of the Era (ed. Noah Eisenberg)', in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 30 (2010) 2, 235-36.
  • 'Possessed: Hypnotic Crimes, Corporate Fiction and the Invention of Cinema (Stefan Andriopoulos)', in German Quarterly, 82 (2009) 3, 415-16.
  • 'Filmemacher mit Akzent: Billy Wilder in Hollywood (Gerd Gemünden)', in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 27 (2007) 3, 430-22.

Sprechstunden (advice & feedback hours)

Mondays & Thursdays @ 2:00pm

Meetings may be face to face, or email to make an appointment via Teams.