Dr Tom Cheesman

About Me

Tom Cheesman is a Reader in German. His teaching includes German language, modern history, literature, song cultures; international film; general and literary translation; history and theory of translation.

Tom is founding Co-Director of the Centre on Digital Arts and Humanities (est. 2014): codah.swansea.ac.uk He is Principal Investigator on the collaborative, multi-disciplinary ‘Version Variation Visualisation’ project, a.k.a. TransVis. This project (AHRC-funded) applies Digital Humanities methods to multiple comparable translations. Interactive outputs are at: www.delightedbeauty.org/vvv See also: www.tinyurl.com/vvvex

Other recent projects include edited books on Feridun Zaimoglu (2012, co-ed Karin Yesilada) and German Text Crimes (2013). Ongoing work on the history of translations of Shakespeare’s Othello --including on the neglected mid-20th-century translator, feminist, socialist 'inner emigrant' Hedwig Schwarz.

Tom has published in areas as various as German popular ballads, hip hop, late Goethe, Werner Herzog, and the trans-editing of international broadcasters’ web outputs. Tom was PI on the Axial Writing Project (1998-2002), a comparative study of diasporic writing cultures (ESRC-funded).

Tom is a founder member of Wales PEN Cymru (2014). His translations from French and German include poetry, fiction and essays by Jörg Bernig, Volker Braun, Esther Dischereit, Ulrike Draesner, Herbert Grönemeyer, Soleïman Adel Guémar, and Zafer Şenocak. With Eric Ngalle Charles and Sylvie Hoffmann, in 2003 Tom established non-profit Hafan Books, to publish writing by refugees in Wales, alongside work by other writers of Wales. Tom is Treasurer of Swansea Bay Asylum Seekers Support Group.

Dr Cheesman offers PhD supervision in the following areas: German-language modern and contemporary literature; literary translation (practice, history, theory) with English, French, and/or German; re-translation corpora; comparative literature; refugee literature; popular song from the 18th century to the present.

Publications

  1. & Media cultures in India and the South Asia Diaspora. Contemporary South Asia 11(2), 127-133.
  2. (1989). Murderous Mothers in Popular Culture: Narrative Representations of Infanticidal Women in German Bänkelsang and Oral Balladry. Presented at Tod und Jenseits im europäischen Volkslied. Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the Ballad Commission of the Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore (Kolympari, Crete, 1986),, 179-228. Ioannina: University of Jannina, Publications of Folklore Museum and Archives.
  3. The Return of the Transformed Son: A Popular Ballad Complex and Cultural History, Germany 1500-1900. Oxford German Studies 18/19, 60-91.
  4. Gluttony Artists: Carnival, Enlightenment and Consumerism in Germany on the Threshold of Modernity. Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift für Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte 66(4), 641-666.
  5. Performing Omnivores in Germany circa 1700. In David J. George and Christopher J. Gossip (Ed.), Studies in the Commedia dell’ arte. (pp. 49-68). Cardiff: University of Wales Press.

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Teaching

  • ML-227 War and Conflict in European Film (Modern Languages route)

    War and Conflict in European Film provides a detailed overview of the history of war and conflict in Europe from the early twentieth century to the present day as it is represented and expressed on film. Beginning with the origins of film-art fused with political expression, the module proceeds through the analysis of film movements and representative films to engage with and analyse the development of war and conflict in Europe as it is represented and expressed in relation to film narrative, aesthetics and genre. Encompassing both World Wars, the rise and fall of Communism, the often violent end of European colonialism, and the ‘oil wars’ of recent decades, this module is of vital interest to all those with an interest in the history of Europe, the nature of war and conflict, and the response of film, the art form of the twentieth century, to these events and themes.

  • MLG100B Introduction to German Culture (B) - Since 1945

    This module provides all students of German with an insight into the main historical and cultural developments in Germany from the end of the Second World War to the present. It also examines examples of German literature and film against the historical background in which they were produced. The module provides students with the skills and foundation knowledge which they need to pursue other academic modules in German in more detail.

  • MLG207 German Song Cultures

    From ‘Stille Nacht’ to ‘Mackie Messer’, from ‘Erlkönig’ to ‘99 Luftballons’, from Lili Marlene to MIA, from Luther’s hymns to the ‘Deutschlandlied’ – there are songs from every phase of German culture which reflect popular feelings and standpoints on political and social questions. Many have become part of popular memory; some have had international impact. Germany's turbulent political history has been accompanied by songs both of official propaganda and of popular resistance. Song culture is now fragmented, with subcultures including Schlager, Liedermacher, Rock, Pop, Rap, Techno to name but a few. The market is dominated by US, UK and other imports. But German national history still has a song-based memory sound-track, and songs can still be controversial. The German state routinely bans songs deemed 'dangerous to young people'. You will research how songs reflect events, or topics such as national identity, gender roles, nature and ecology, deviance and violence, economic and political injustice, migration and cultural diversity.

  • MLG210 German Translation Workshop 2

    The aim of this module is to develop your practical skills in translating from German into English. Seminars will discuss a series of four simulated translation projects dealing with different types of text, from the point of view of the participants (e.g. commissioning agency, client), and comparative analysis of relevant areas of German and English language and culture. You will write up for assessment the second project (after discussion in class) and the fourth project (independently, after receiving feedback on the second).

  • MLG301A German General Language 3A

    This module offers practice and development of skills in translation from German to English, writing in German (with a particular focus on essay writing), and German oral and communication skills. Writing classes will give you practice in the exercises covered by the module, with the essay writing element conducted mainly in German. Following an integrated teaching approach you will be able to reinforce and expand your existing grammatical knowledge in a series of grammar workshops. One hour per week is dedicated to oral practice, further increasing your speaking, listening and presentation skills. You are expected to take part in class discussions with a native speaker of German based on written texts, audio and video materials. In addition to class work, students are expected to undertake extensive private study.

  • MLG306 German Song Cultures

    From ‘Stille Nacht’ to ‘Mackie Messer’, from ‘Erlkönig’ to ‘99 Luftballons’, from Lili Marlene to MIA, from Luther’s hymns to the ‘Deutschlandlied’ – there are songs from every phase of German culture which reflect popular feelings and standpoints on political and social questions. Many have become part of popular memory; some have had international impact. Germany's turbulent political history has been accompanied by songs both of official propaganda and of popular resistance. Song culture is now fragmented, with subcultures including Schlager, Liedermacher, Rock, Pop, Rap, Techno to name but a few. The market is dominated by US, UK and other imports. But German national history still has a song-based memory sound-track, and songs can still be controversial. The German state routinely bans songs deemed 'dangerous to young people'. You will research how songs reflect events, or topics such as national identity, gender roles, nature and ecology, deviance and violence, economic and political injustice, migration and cultural diversity.

  • MLG307 Translation for Exchange Students I

    The aim of this module is to tackle the specific problems which native speakers of German face in translating German texts into English. Students are given material for translation every week, drawn from a range of different sources (historical, journalistic, literary, theoretical).

  • MLG310C Translation Workshop (German/English)

    The aim of this module is to develop your practical skills in translating from German into English to a high level. The module is based on a dossier of textual materials illustrating distinct text types, and distinct aspects of German and British cultures and societies. Each text will be introduced by a brief, which will direct students towards different types of translation (documentary, instrumental and various degrees of abbreviation). As well as the translation of the text, classes and assessments will also deal with the analysis of genre-specific linguistic usage and of translation strategies, decisions and shifts; notes will also be made on specific difficulties encountered during translation. In assessed pieces this ASN (analysis, strategy, notes) will be worth 50% of the overall mark.

  • MLGM01 Advanced Translation (German - English)

    In 17 weekly two hour small-group seminars running through Semester 1 and into Semester 2, students will translate, discuss and annotate both non-technical and technical texts. Practice assignments will grow progressively longer to reflect real-world conditions and students will on occasion be expected to work together, critiquing and editing each other's work to produce a collaborative finished version. Techniques for discovering domain-specific knowledge and translating technical terminology will be explored and developed. Assessment will be by three test translations in different domains done through the year under exam conditions (2 hours with dictionaries and/or electronic resources), each counting for 25% of the marks of the module, plus one Terminology Project or Wikipedia Project counting for the final 25%.

  • MLGM60 Advanced English-German Translation for MA Exchange Students

    This module is only available to students coming to Swansea on an approved, single-semester M-level exchange from a translation and/or interpreting school in Europe (e.g. from the METS consortium). Teaching and assessment are identical to either the first or the second semester of the existing 20 credit, 2-semester Advanced Translation modules MLgM01 (Germanto English) OR MLGM30 (English to German), OR an approved mixture between them. Students taking MLGM60 will attend the same classes and submit the same two written assessments as those taking the corresponding semester of the longer module(s).

  • MLTM04 History and Theory of Translation

    In 10 weekly two-hour interactive lectures taught in Semester 2, this module explores key issues in the history of the theory and practice of translation. After studying some of the most important contemporary positions, we move on to explore the changes in the cultural status of translation from ancient times to the present, analysing the ways in which translations have contributed to he reception of texts, and focusing on some of the political, theological and philosophical debates which translations have provoked. The module concludes with three sessions devoted to individual genres and the specific questions associated with translating different text-types. Assessment is by one essay and one 2-hour exam.

  • MS-227 War and Conflict in European Film (Media route)

    War and Conflict in European Film provides a detailed overview of the history of war and conflict in Europe from the early twentieth century to the present day as it is represented and expressed on film. Beginning with the origins of film-art fused with political expression, the module proceeds through the analysis of film movements and representative films to engage with and analyse the development of war and conflict in Europe as it is represented and expressed in relation to film narrative, aesthetics and genre. Encompassing both World Wars, the rise and fall of Communism, the often violent end of European colonialism, and the ‘oil wars’ of recent decades, this module is of vital interest to all those with an interest in the history of Europe, the nature of war and conflict, and the response of film, the art form of the twentieth century, to these events and themes.

  • MSS106 Hollywood: A History of American Film

    Hollywood: A History of American Cinema is a contextual and chronological study of the history of Hollywood, its effect on American society and its attempts to reflect the changes of that society. Key films are studied in depth and in relation to each other and to social and political developments in the USA.

Supervision

  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Roberta Magnani
  • Representations of Post-Colonial India in Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's Novels and Screenplays (1968-86): An Intersemiotic Analysis. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Professor Julian Preece
  • Women of the new Algerian Diaspora: Online Networks, Social Consciousness and Political Engagement. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Keith Halfacree

Key Grants and Projects

Research Groups