Professor Max  Silverman

Professor Max Silverman

Professor of French

+44 (0)113 343 3486

Summary: Cultural memory, trauma and violence; colonial and post-colonial theory and cultures; immigration, race, nation and citizenship; representations of the city.


I was born and educated in North London, was an undergraduate at the University of East Anglia (1971-75) and a postgraduate at the University of Kent (1976-1980). I was awarded my Ph.D. on the novels of Claude Simon in 1981. After two years teaching in further and adult education in London I became a Lecturer in French at the University of Ulster in Coleraine (1983-5). I came to the University of Leeds in 1986 as Lecturer in French and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1994 and to Professor of Modern French Studies in 2000. I was Head of the Department of French from 1999 to 2002 and Director of the Centre for French and Francophone Cultural Studies from 2003-6. I have been Director of Research and Innovation of the School of Modern Languages and Cultures since 2011.

Research and teaching

My research and teaching are inter-disciplinary and range across the broad areas of culture and society in modern and contemporary France. My major specialisms are post-Holocaust culture, colonial and postcolonial theory and cultures, and questions of trauma, memory, race and violence. My first two books were Deconstructing the Nation: Immigration, Racism and Citizenship in Modern France (Routledge, 1992, translated into German in 1994) and Facing Postmodernity: Contemporary French Thought on Culture and Society (Routledge, 1999). I edited a collection of essays entitled Race, Discourse and Power in France (Avebury, 1991) and another entitled Frantz Fanon's Peau noire, masques blancs (Manchester University Press, 2005). My most recent book, Palimpsestic Memory: the Holocaust and Colonialism in French and Francophone Fiction and Film (Berghahn, 2013) discusses the connections between the Holocaust and colonialism in the French and Francophone cultural imaginary My co-edited book with Griselda Pollock, Concentrationary Cinema: Aesthetics as Political Resistance in Alain Resnais’s ‘Night and Fog’, (Berghahn, 2011), was winner of the Kraszna-Krausz prize for the best book on the moving image of 2012. This was the first outcome of a four-year AHRC-funded project entitled Concentrationary Memories and the Politics of Representation that I co-directed with Griselda Pollock. Three other co-edited books are to follow, all to be published by I. B. Tauris: Concentrationary Memories: Totalitarian Terror and Cultural Resistance, Concentrationary Imaginaries and Concentrationary Art.

I teach courses on post-Holocaust culture, representations of the city, and modernism and commitment in France and am happy to supervise research students working on any area related to my specialisms.