The German Association for Australian Studies mourns the death of its long-time member Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Liesel Hermes.
Throughout her long academic and administrative career, Prof. Hermes has actively and proficiently participated in the progress of the German Association for Australian Studies. The Association as well as its subject were dear to the heart of her engagements as a dedicated Professor and an excellent literary scholar. As vice president (1986-1990) and president (1990-92; 2002-2011) of the Karlsruhe University of Education she managed to secure the realization of her scholarly interests and pedagogical ideas and to advance the internationalization of teaching and research. At the same time, she exemplified successfully as the mother of a daughter the compatibility of a professional career and family life and supported students to align their studies with raising a family.
As an expert in narrative literature, she was particularly interested in the great variety of anglophone literary production and reception and emphasized the constant efforts for an inter- and transcultural exchange as the basis for mutual understanding. Her scholarly and pedagogical profile also guided her extraordinary engagement in the Association for Australian Studies. She organized the 2008 biennial convention of the Association in Karlsruhe on the topic of „Understanding Australia – Aspects of a Continent“ (Conference volume 2010). In all these endeavours it was her particular and continuous concern to introduce Australia as a subject in school education, which Professor Hermes still pursued as emerita with research projects with Western Australia.
Since her retirement in 2011, Liesel Hermes participated in the Academic Advisory Board of the Association promoting new research projects. Her special area was the selection of academic prizes for excellent Bachelor and Master theses as well as dissertations. In her ingenious reviews of these theses and her impressive award citations she proved her expertise in the field. One of her last initiatives was the establishment of a prize for excellent high school thesis on Australia, awarded since 2020.
Liesel Hermes’s personality and career represent a unique combination of scholarly expertise, human empathy, and courageous engagement. Her presence and voice at plenary membership meetings and conferences were unanimously recognized and contributed importantly to the common endeavours of advancing Australian Studies.
The Association will hold Prof. Liesel Hermes in grateful memory.
Prof. Dr. Beate Neumeier / PD Dr. Carsten Wergin / Dr. Katrin Althans / Dr. Stefanie Affeldt
Academic Advisory Board:
Prof. Dr. Boris Braun / Prof. Dr. Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp