Dr Tara Beaney

Dr Tara Beaney


Dr Tara Beaney
Dr Tara Beaney

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272488
The University of Aberdeen School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
King’s College
University of Aberdeen
AB24 3UB


I have been a lecturer at Aberdeen University since 2014. As an undergraduate I studied German and Philosophy, before spending a year in Japan. To pursue my interests in literature and culture I studied for a masters in Comparative Literature, and for a PhD at the 'Languages of Emotion' excellence cluster of the Free University Berlin.


2013     PhD Literary Studies (magna cum laude)

            Free University of Berlin

2009     MA Comparative Literature (distinction)

            University College London (and intercollegiate status at SOAS)

2007     BA Hons Philosophy and German (first class)

            St Anne’s College, University of Oxford


Research Interests

My research explores ways in which we humans position ourselves within the wider environment. In my first monograph, Metamorphosis in Modern German Literature, I looked at imaginings of becoming other, becoming inhuman, as a way of grapling with problematic identities. Taking a comparative and historical approach made it possible to trace some cultural changes in the ways we have thought about identity and emotion. Through my interest in the boundaries of the human, and perhaps through a search for meaning, I have come to think in more depth about the environment around us. Reading about the environmental crisis we face has mobilised me to work on understanding environmental culture.


Further information on my book Metamorphosis in Modern German Literature: Transforming Bodies, Identities and Affects can be found here: http://www.legendabooks.com/titles/isbn/9781909662841.html

Current Research

My current research deals with the ways in which we have conceptualised the nonhuman creatures and things around us, and with our shifting and divergent attitudes towards the environment. As well as being interested in literary works that engage with environmental issues, I am particularly interested in animism in literary texts, as offering alternative ways of thinking about the environment, as well as questioning some of our assumptions about human agency. I mainly work with German-language texts, but I like to also think in a broader context and draw insights from a range of fields. The direction and development of my current research is open to new influences, so if you are interested in the areas in which I work please do get in touch.

I am currently supervising a PhD project by Clarisa Novello on climate change in contemporary German literature. I welcome enquiries from prospective postgraduate students with interests in any of my areas of research.


Teaching Responsibilities

I teach a range of undergraduate courses on German language and literature. My honours options include:

Environmental Crisis in Literature and Culture

Humans and Others: Modernity and its Discontents

Transgression: From Sturm und Drang to Romanticism

Fairytales and Feminism

(Please note: only a couple of these will be offered in any given year)

Further Info

Admin Responsibilities

German Examinations Officer