Department of Germanic Studies

Thorsten Ries

Assistant ProfessorPh.D., German Literature, Joint Ph.D., Hamburg University (Germany), Ghent University (Belgium).

Thorsten Ries



Digital Humanities; Digital Learning; German Literature from the 18th to the 21st Century; Theory, Methodology and Practice of Scholarly Editing, Genetic Criticism and Textual Criticism, Digital Literature, Digital History, Literary Theory, Methodology and Discipline History of the Germanistik.


Dr Ries joined the Department of Germanic Studies in 2021 as Assistant Professor with specialism in German literature from the 18th to the 21st century, digital learning and digital humanities. His primary research focus is the foreign language curriculum in the context of digital humanities, (digital) scholarly editing, born-digital archives and digital forensics.

Dr Ries is initiator and director of the Digital Humanities Lab at the Department of Germanic Studies at UT (DHLab@GS). DHLab@GS acts as a DH hub at Department of Germanic Studies, based on UT Austin‘s campus (BUR 326). DHLab@GS is also the platform on which Ries is organizing the DHLunch@GS online talk series.

Dr Ries has worked on a historical range of authors, including Friedrich Hölderlin, Gottfried Benn, Thomas Kling, Michael Speier, and others, and is specifically interested in writing processes, scholarly editing, born-digital archives, digital literature and the vast spectrum of digital humanities methods in general. He works on multimodal digital learning concepts focusing on remodeling the language and cultural studies curriculum with digital literacy, digital skills and a digital-first perspective in mind.

Dr Ries is also a Visiting Professor (5%, 06/2021-08/2024) at the Department of Literary Studies, Ghent University, Belgium. Before coming to Austin, he has been teaching at Regensburg University, Antwerp University, Ghent University, Hamburg University, and conducted research at projects at Ghent University and the University of Sussex, UK.

Selected Publications:

Thorsten Ries. “Digital History and Born-Digital Archives: Digital Forensic Dimensions.” In: Materialities of the Archive in a Digital Age. Ed. by Eirini Goudarouli and Andrew Prescott. Proceedings of the British Academy. London: The British Academy, 2021, ca. 25 pp., [in print].

Thorsten Ries. “Digitale Literatur als Gegenstand der Literaturwissenschaft. Ein multimodales Forschungsprogramm”. In: Text + Kritik, Sonderband Digitale Literatur II, eds. Hannes Bajohr, Annette Gilbert, 2021, [in print].

Thorsten Ries. “Digital Learning: Eine neue didaktische Normalität - Erfahrungen mit der digitalen Lehre unter Covid-19 Pandemie-Bedingungen.” In: Kai Bremer, Thomas Ernst, Andrea Geier, Jan Horstmann, Ariane Larrat, Thorsten Ries, Claudius Sittig (Ed.): Konferenz Digitale Lehre Germanistik. Fachinformationsdienst Germanistik. Germanistik-im-Netz. University Library Johann Christian Senckenberg. Published 02/22/2021, 2021. URN:, ISBN: 978-3-88131-101-4.

Chr. Annemieke Romein, Julie Birkholz, Max Kemmann, James Baker, Michel De Gruijter, Alfred Mereno Penuela, Thorsten Ries, and Stefania Scagliola. “State of the field: Digital History”. In: History: The Journal of the Historical Association 105.365 (April 2020), pp. 291-312, DOI:

Thorsten Ries. "Das digitale ‘dossier génétique’: Digitale Materialität, Textgenese und historisch-kritische Edition. In: Textgenese in der digitalen Edition. Hrsg. v. Anke Bosse und Walter Fanta. Beihefte zu Editio, 45. Berlin et al.: de Gruyter, 2019, pp. 91–116. DOI:

Mike Kestemont, Thorsten Ries, and Gunther Martens. “A computational approach to authorship verification of Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s contributions to the Frankfurter gelehrte Anzeigen 1772-1773”. In: Journal of European Periodical Studies (JEPS) 4.1 (Summer 2019), pp. 115–143. url:

Thorsten Ries and Gábor Palko, eds. Born-Digital Archives. Special issue of International Journal of Digital Humanities 1.1 (Mar. 2019). url:

Thorsten Ries. “The rationale of the born-digital dossier génétique: Digital forensics and the writing process: With examples from the Thomas Kling Archive.” In: Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (DSH) 33.2 (June 2018), pp. 391–424. url:

Thorsten Ries. “Philology and the digital writing process.” In: Cahier voor Literatuur­weten­schap 9 (2017), pp. 129–158.

Thorsten Ries. Verwandlung als anthropologisches Motiv in der Lyrik Gottfried Benns: Textgenetische Edition ausgewählter Gedichte aus den Jahren 1935 bis 1953. 2 vols. Exempla Critica 4. Berlin et al.: De Gruyter, 2014, 1039 pages.

Thorsten Ries. “‘die geräte klüger als ihre besitzer’: Philologische Durchblicke hinter die Schreibszene des Graphical User Interface: Überlegungen zur digitalen Quellen­philo­lo­gie, mit einer textgenetischen Studie zu Michael Speiers ‘ausfahrt st. nazaire.’” In: Editio: Internationales Jahrbuch für Editionswissenschaft 24.1 (December 2010), pp. 149–199.


GER 373 • Writing Media History

37430 • Spring 2022
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PMA 7.124

This course will focus on how literary drafts as traces of the literary writing process illuminate the final version of a work of literature, as well as how they are readable as case studies for a media history of writing: from the literary manuscript to digital literature, and the media evolution of literary culture. Case studies of short literary texts and exemplary draft excerpts we will “read” are: 1. draft manuscripts, handwritten or typed in the 20th century, e.g. notebooks and draft manuscripts by important authors like Gottfried Benn, Bertolt Brecht, Georg Trakl, Georg Heym, Franz Kafka, and others, e.g. some of Nietzsche's typescripts, 2. hand-written manuscripts from important authors of earlier centuries (Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, and Georg Büchner, 3. "born-digital" literary autographs from the 21st century by Michael Speier and Thomas Kling, as well as the source code of Theo Lutz’ and Jörg Piringer’s digital poetry.

GER 389K • Think Dig Lit/Lang/Culture

37450 • Spring 2022
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BUR 326

‘What if I could create new knowledge using digital tools and methods, and make my research project

stand out with innovation?’ This course delivers the affirmative answer by introducing “digital

humanities” research methods, tools and use cases, and lets graduate students work hands-on with

literary and linguistic sources. This course will support and inspire graduate research projects and PhD

projects to go digital, ask new research questions, find new answers, and come up with new results –

without requiring any previous programming knowledge. For humanities majors and minors, this

digital humanities course offers the opportunity to acquire digital skillsets that tie their degrees into the

requirements of their future jobs and graduate studies in literature, linguistics and culture studies.

Digital methods are widespread in the humanities: from seemingly simple everyday tasks such as

bibliographic research in databases and OCR’ing texts to computational text-, corpus- and networkanalyses,

data mining, creation of scholarly editions and studying the source code of digital culture.

Students will learn essential digital skills, research methods and tools in group projects on literary texts

and original linguistic sources (e.g. extracting text from audio, typescripts, handwritten sources from

the Texas German research project, or sources in the language of your project). Next to training in

digital humanities skills, this course will lay a foundation in developing new humanities research

questions based on digital methods (‘create new knowledge’), critical methodological evaluation of

research data and digital methods, and reflected embedding of digital approaches in the humanities as

well as digital culture literacy.

GER 328 • Advanced German Grammar

38410 • Fall 2021
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CMA 3.114

Course Description:

German 328 provides students with the opportunity to develop their understanding of and ability to use German grammar. The course reviews basic grammatical structures in German that students likely encountered in earlier coursework (e.g., past tense forms, adjective endings), as well as introduces them to new grammatical concepts (e.g., extended attributes, nominalizations).

The course uses a content-based instructional approach to language learning. Through engaging with content material in German, students will be able to observe language in use and, importantly, have opportunities to practice grammatical structures in real, meaningful contexts. Three interconnected topics related to contemporary youth in German society (e.g., protest culture, military and civil service, and changes in the university structure) serve as the backdrop for class discussions and writing assignments. Additionally, students will have the chance to explore aspects of German grammar specific to their own individual interests and needs through a semester-long learning portfolio. 

The course prepares students for advanced coursework in German literature and culture, as well as study in a German-speaking country. With this goal in mind, students are expected to take greater initiative in actively participating in class discussions than at the beginning or intermediate levels of language instruction.

Prerequisites: Students must have completed second-year German at UT (GER 612) or have earned credit for second-year German through a placement exam, AP exam, or transfer credit in order to enroll in German 328.



Rankins & Wells, Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik. Wiederholen und Anwenden, 6th edition (2016), available at the campus bookstore. Additional texts and handouts will be distributed in class or posted on the course management site.


Requirements & Assessment:

Class Participation (10%)              

Exploratory Practice Project (20%)

Daily Homework (20%)                

3 Writing Tasks (20%)

3 Tests (30%)

GER 382N • Digtl Map Of Cultr Networks

38090 • Spring 2021
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM GEA 114

The course offers an introduction to cultural and literary networks in northern Europe from a digital perspective. It will cover digital humanities methodology to map historical cultural, literary networks as well as inter- and intratextual networks, and networks of digital culture. On the other hand, the course will deal with digital networked art and literature, their code, and the history of digital culture networks (web history) as well as tech culture history.


Coming from a data perspective, the course will move from mapping women editor’s networks of the 18th century, letter exchange networks of literary exiles and scholars, and inter- and intratextual literary networks of texts and periodicals up to the 20th century in the Germanic language communities and England. Students will also have the opportunity to engage with digital art and literature, its source code and will learn to scrape, analyse, study web (literary) history from the mid-1990s until today and web culture phenomena such as fan fiction networks and the mechanisms of digitally spread disinformation.


The course will include a practical, hands-on introduction to digital humanities methods as well as to critical reflection on DH methodology and appraisal of DH research results.     


Please note: This course will be taught in English, with all main readings available in a native language (e.g. German or Dutch) and English translation. As the Electronic Literature Organization is strong in Spanish digital literature, student presentations in this area are welcome, but they would have to provide translations.

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