Photo of Professor Sara Smart

Professor Sara Smart

Associate Professor (German)

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Extension: 4314

Telephone: 01392 724314

My research focuses on the court culture of the Empire in the early modern period, particularly German-speaking, Protestant courts. The rich diversity of material prompts different approaches and perspectives.  My work on court festivities and ceremonial includes studies of Singspiel and opera and of court ballet. This has led on to research into the stylization of those positioned at the apex of the court hierarchy, the ruling prince and his family (The Ideal Image: Studies in Writing for the German Court 1616-1706).

I am particularly interested in the Berlin court of the Hohenzollerns, the electors of Brandenburg, from c. 1650-1713 and have published a co-edited monograph on this area with Karin Friedrich. At present I am working on emblematics in triumphal entries and the depiction of the female members of the dynasty.    

Research into court culture crosses disciplines and nationalities, as reflected in a recent collaboration with Mara Wade, The Palatine Wedding of 1613: Protestant Alliance and Court Festival, a co-edited volume exploring the web of confessional interest and cultural exchange triggered by the marriage between Elizabeth Stuart and Elector Palatine Friedrich V.

Much of my teaching is embedded in this research context. I offer a Level 2 module, introducing the history and culture of the period, while at final-year level students have the opportunity to analyse its ideals and norms via the study of canonical writers. My contribution to the final-year module on German propaganda focuses on the work of the Saxon court painter Cranach the Elder and his support for Luther as well as the variety of textual and visual images projecting the power of the Hohenzollerns.