Oxford Kafka Research Centreaims to advance and co-ordinate research on Franz Kafka, and more generally on German-language and especially German-Jewish literature and culture in the period of Modernism.
Many Kafka scholars visit Oxford in order to study the large collection of Kafka manuscripts housed in the Bodleian Library. They were placed there in 1961 by the late Malcolm Pasley of Magdalen College, a pre-eminent Kafka scholar, with the agreement of Kafka's nieces, their legal owners. The manuscripts served as the basis for the Critical Edition of Kafka (published by S. Fischer Verlag), in which Malcolm Pasley played a leading role, and for the facsimile edition now being produced by the Stroemfeld/Roter Stern Verlag.
Besides promoting the study of Kafka's manuscripts, the Research Centre aims to serve the whole spectrum of Kafka studies, ranging from biographical and historical research via literary and cultural studies to methodological and theoretical inquiries. It particularly aims to encourage interdisciplinary and intermedial approaches.
For this purpose, the Research Centre plans a series of international conferences, focusing on Kafka, to be held every two years, besides a series of one-day workshops. The first such event was the international conference on "Kafka and Short Modernist Prose" (29 September to 1 October 2008).
In addition, the Research Centre invites at least one visiting scholar to Oxford each year, to pursue his or her research and to give lectures and seminars for the benefit of the large academic community (undergraduates, graduate students and teaching staff) studying German literature in Oxford.
The Centre was founded by Manfred Engel and Ritchie Robertson in 2008 with the help of a grant from the John Fell Fund.