Centre for European and International Studies Research


Photo of Professor Susanne Marten-Finnis

Professor Susanne Marten-Finnis

  • Qualifications: Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Slavonic Studies, Translating and Interpreting (Universität Leipzig), PhD in Applied Linguistics (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)
  • Role Title: Professor of Applied Linguistics
  • Address: Park Building, King Henry 1 Street, Portsmouth PO1 2DZ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 6064
  • Email: susanne.marten-finnis@port.ac.uk
  • Department: School of Languages and Area Studies
  • Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Following my PhD in Applied Linguistics at the University of Tübingen, I became interested in the study of Jewish literary activities in Central and Eastern Europe and the Jewish contribution to modern journalism. These topics have remained the major research interest of my academic career, which includes ten years at Queen’s University Belfast. In 2005 I joined the University of Portsmouth where I have since held the chair of applied linguistics.

More recent research interests include my study of the Russian cultural production abroad during the period 1909-1929, including art publishing, Cosmopolitan citizenship and Urban Heterotopias.

My latest book on “The Firebird as an Art Journal. Russia on Display in Berlin, 1921-26” (Vienna 2012; original in German) is the result of extensive research on Berlin as the first capital of post-1917 Russian Emigration. The book is an original account of a journalistic endeavour that represented an international Russian culture in Berlin. The message of this endeavour challenges the supposed boundaries between Russian Emigration and the Soviet Union that were publicly maintained by both the declared emigrants and Soviet agents.

I am a honorary research associate of the Department for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at University College London and a fellow of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", a trans- and interdisciplinary network of researchers at the new Institute for Advanced Studies at Heidelberg University (Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies). I am a regular contributor to the lecture series “Art – Design – Polis” established at the Belarusian State University Minsk and funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I am a permanent member of the Research Network 'Environmental Factors in the Socio-Cultural Changes of the Ancient Silk Road Area', based at the Research Centre and Graduate School 'Human Development in Landscapes', University of Kiel, Germany.

I am an external examiner at the School of Languages and Asia Pacific Studies of the University of Central Lancashire.


My chief research interests are in the history of the Jewish press in Central and Eastern Europe before the Second World War, and Russian cultural production in Western Europe during the first third of the twentieth century. These topics have remained the major research focus of my academic career. More recently, I have turned my attention to the culture of citizen-building and heterotopic sites in Central Asia in the light of ethnographic reports during the Soviet period.

Discipline Areas

  • Language and Social Change
  • Cultural History and Multilingualism of Ashkenazi Jewry
  • Cosmopolitan Citizenship

Current Research Projects

  • I am the Principal Investigator of a research project that has undertaken to assemble a commented bibliography on the historical German-Jewish press from the early Haskala period to 1943. This includes curation and retrieval, documentary appreciation, conceptual frameworks and questions of citizenship. The latter aspect is of particular relevance in view of the powerful communication ethos characterizing Jewish presses since their emergence as a child of the Haskala, with their traditional tasks of spiritual guidance and knowledge dissemination, both of which reached far beyond the confines of Jewish communal structures.
  • A New Silk Road. Oasis Cities, Artisans and Muslim-Jewish Interaction in the Reports of Russian Ethnographers during the Soviet period. Ethnographic expeditions enjoyed government patronage in both Imperial and Soviet Russia. Their reports were a valuable source of knowledge about the Empire’s remote areas. Their importance thus increased in the aftermath of imperial expansion, as they helped to administer the newly acquired lands. As such, they can be seen as a communication between a Russian metropolis that belonged within European civilization, and a growing colonial periphery. The study a these reports is a prerequisite for understanding the entanglement between Russia’s European and Asiatic parts, and more specifically, the rhythms and mechanisms of communication between the Muscovite centre and Oriental periphery in the twentieth century.
  • Emigré Literary Journalism in Berlin, 1919-1928. Part of this project is in collaboration with Professor Igor Dukhan who holds the Chair of Arts at the Belarusian State University in Minsk. The project has been funded by the British Academy and Queen's University Belfast.

Bilingual Series

  • Together with Professor Michael Nagel, University of Bremen, I edit the bilingual series: The European Jewish press. Studies in History and Language, Die jüdische Presse. Kommunikationsgeschichte im Europäischen Raum. For further information see http://www.presseforschung.uni-bremen.de/publikationen.html

Research profile

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