Research in French

Image of a king carrying a spade from a medieval manuscript

Leeds is home to one of the largest and most dynamic communities of researchers in French studies in the UK. Our research is distinctive because it covers the whole discipline of French studies from the medieval period to the present day. Colleagues pursue cutting-edge individual, collaborative and multidisciplinary research in the fields of literature, history, politics, thought, cinema and visual cultures, postcolonial/francophone studies, cultural studies, and language, linguistics and translation studies. Click on the 'People' tab (above) for more information about individual colleagues' research interests.

Major projects

Colleagues are engaged in a number of major projects, working with researchers in the UK, France and beyond, often with the financial backing of such organisations as the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust. Our recent and ongoing projects include: 

  • Performislam. Performance, Politics and Piety, AHRC/ESRC funded research project on Music as debate in Muslim societies and their diasporas, led by Reader Kamal Salhi. It focuses on the performative aspects of contemporary Muslim life of North Africa and Asia at large.
  • 'Legacies of War, 1914-18/2014-18', an AHRC-funded project led by Professor Alison Fell, working with people and organisations in Leeds, the UK and beyond to explore the legacy of the First World War.
  • 'Suicide Voices. Trauma in the Globalised Workplace', led by Dr Sarah Waters, funded by the Wellcome Trust examines the ‘epidemic’ of suicides within the globalised workplace during the 2000s and asks why work or conditions of work can push some individuals to take their own lives.
  • Power and the Paratext in Medieval Manuscript Culture’, an international research consortium coordinated by Professor Rosalind Brown-Grant. The consortium has been holding four week-long meetings in Orléans, France, over four years, beginning in June 2014 and held a major international conference entitled ‘Inscribing Knowledge on the Page: Science, Tradition, Transmission and Subversion in the Medieval Book’  in Orléans in June 2016, the proceedings of which will be published by Medieval Institute Publications (Michigan) in 2018.
  • Performing Violence’, a project led by Professors Max Silverman (French) and Griselda Pollock (History of Art) in collaboration with Opera North and other academic and non-academic partners to explore the staging of violence in the arts and address the question of how cultural research and creative performance practice can intervene in the urgent debates about violence in contemporary societies.
  • ‘Oeuvres complètes de Benjamin Constant’ based at the Institut Benjamin Constant at the University of Lausanne to publish a critical edition of the complete works and correspondence of Benjamin Constant. Dr Paul Rowe is the vice-president of the committee charged with overseeing the correspondence, and is currently working on its 12th volume. In all, the project will run to approximately 50 volumes, a little over half of which have been published to date. The project is currently funded by donations from the Fondation Leenards, the Fondation de la Famille Sandoz, and the Loterie romande.
  • Writing 1900, an international and cross-disciplinary network based at the University of Oxford and the Centre for British Studies at the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin. Dr Richard Hibbitt is a member of a group of scholars who study the culture of the long nineteenth century from a transnational perspective. The network’s first group publication will appear in 2017: a special issue of Forum for Modern Language Studies entitled ‘Literary Communities in the Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Centuries’. Members of the network are also collaborating on a number of related projects.
  • Post-Work: Framing Labour in Post-Industrial Europe is an AHRC-funded project that aims to build collaboration between researchers, filmmakers and trade unions in order to explore the work that film can do in framing and helping to transform conditions of post-industrial labour. It investigates the role of cinema in reflecting the systemic and international dimensions of contemporary labour conditions, thereby opening up a space for discussion on new forms of mobilisation that can contribute to social change and global justice.

    Recent publications

    Colleagues' recent book publications (since 2014) include:

    Rosalind Brown-Grant, Anne D. Hedeman and Bernard Ribémont eds, Textual and Visual Representations of Power and Justice in Medieval France: Manuscripts and Early Printed Books (Farnham, Surrey/ Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2015, 322 pp.).

    Rosalind Brown-Grant and Rebecca Dixon eds, Text/Image Relations in Medieval French and Burgundian Culture (Fourteenth-Sixteenth Centuries), (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015, 267 pp.). 

    Marie-Claude de Crécy and Rosalind Brown-Grant eds, Critical edition: Pierre de La Cépède, Paris et Vienne (Paris: Classiques Garnier, 2015, 491 pp.).

    C. P. Courtney and Paul Rowe eds, Benjamin Constant, Œuvres Complètes. Série Correspondance Générale. X (1816-1818), (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014).

    C. P. Courtney and Paul Rowe eds, Benjamin Constant, Œuvres Complètes. Série Correspondance Générale. XI (1819-1820), (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016).

    Kamal Salhi (ed.), Music, Culture and identity in the Muslim World: Performance, Politics and Piety (Routledge, 2014, 304 pp).

    Kamal Salhi, “The Paradigm of Performing Islam beyond the Political Rhetoric”, in Music, Culture and identity in the Muslim World (London: Routledge, 2014).

    Griselda Pollock and Max Silverman eds, Concentrationary Memories: Totalitarian Terror and Cultural Resistance (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2014).

    Griselda Pollock and Max Silverman eds, Concentrationary Imaginaries: Tracing Totalitarian Violence in Popular Culture, (London and New York: I. B. Tauris, 2015).

    Andy Stafford, Roland Barthes (London: Reaktion Books, ‘Critical Lives series’, 2015).


    Colleagues in French are also members of the following research groups, centres and institutes at Leeds:

    For up-to-date information on all our research activities, please follow us on our Twitter account: