Department of French

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PhD in French

The French Department's research spans a wide range of topics, from literature to visual culture and sociolinguistics. We welcome PhD applications for French-related and/or interdisciplinary research especially in the following areas:

New critical approaches to the novel (18th-21st centuries)

e.g. Francophone literature of the Maghreb, Francophone fiction for children, narrative theory, representations of social and cultural difference, relationships between literary and popular culture

Late medieval and 16th-century literature

e.g. poetry, Franco-Dutch cultural relations

Modern French theory and cultural studies

e.g. contemporary women’s writing and art, feminist theory, French colonial culture, and representations of the exotic 

Visual arts and literary studies

e.g. textual illustration and materiality, interactions and affinities between artists and writers in different periods, photography


e.g. language policy and planning, language and identity, language attitudes, minority languages, varieties of French (e.g. in Quebec)

Current and recent theses supervised by members of the French department include:

  • Problems of reading and communication in eighteenth century French fiction
  • Theories of feminine consciousness on screen
  • The reception of Katherine Mansfield in France
  • Late-twentieth-century women's writing
  • The relationship between the French and American film industries
  • Transnational Stars in 1950s Cinema: France and the USA
  • The Cinema of Claude Sautet
  • Language and Nation-building in Post-Apartheid South Africa
  • Language attitudes in Quebec: a contemporary perspective
  • National identity and language policy in Georgia
  • Language ideologies and nationalism in the Canadian press
  • Balzac and the notion of the 'Vol Décent'
  • Representations of the hysteric in contemporary women's writing in French
  • Exile and Language in Contemporary Women's Writing in French
  • Mélusine the Hybrid Monster: The Dynamics of a European Tradition

Potential candidates should in the first instance contact a member of the French department to enquire if s/he would be willing to supervise and to discuss the proposed project. For this purpose, we advise preparing a short outline of the proposal (approximately two A4 pages) that includes sections on research context and rationale, research questions and aims, methodology and/or methods of analysis, and bibliography. If the project is deemed suitable, potential candidates will be asked to submit a formal application to the university. Information about the application procedure and possible opportunities for funding is available on the School website.

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