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Personal profile

Research Overview:

My research focuses especially on the cultural history of post-war France, as it lives through the twin dramas of modernisation and decolonisation. I explore how literary and visual culture articulates, echoes and represents those dramas, and the role played by cultural production in the broader economy of France during the period. In the past few years, my work has turned increasingly to the nature of the photographic image and its role as part of a visual economy of meaning. My first book focused on the novelist and writer François Mauriac, and his emergence as an intellectual and figure of moral authority during the 1950s and 60s. Working with Dr Joe McGonagle (University of Manchester), I have recently completed an AHRC-funded project investigating the representation of the Franco-Algerian relationship from the time of French Algeria to the present day. As part of the project, we curated the exhibition New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK at Cornerhouse in Manchester. Our book, Contesting Views: The Visual Economy of France and Algeria, was published by Liverpool University Press in May 2013.

My current work pursues a long-standing interest in spatial planning, urban space and modernisation in post-war France. I am working in particular on the state-led planning and modernisation of the Gaullist and post-Gaullist eras, and the ways in which space was produced and reconfigured as a result. I have explored how a range of writers and photographers, such as Raymond Depardon, Annie Ernaux and Jean Rolin, have responded to and evoked the consequences of these processes. I would be very happy to hear from potential postgraduate students interested in topics related to any of my research areas.

Research Profile

  • Post-war French literary and visual culture
  • French photography and photography theory
  • Pierre Bourdieu and the sociology of culture
  • Planning and modernisation in post-war France
  • Representations of urban space and urban change
  • The relationship between France and Algeria

Research Keywords:

Post-war France; literary and visual culture; photography; photography theory; France and Algeria; urban planning; urban change; modernisation; sociology of culture; literary and critical theory; Pierre Bourdieu; François Mauriac; Raymond Depardon; Annie Ernaux; Jean Rolin; Roland Barthes


  • 1995 MA (Hons) in Modern Languages (French and Linguistics), University of Oxford
  • 1996 MSt in European Studies, University of Oxford
  • 2000 DPhil in French, University of Oxford


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