Professor Alison Fell

Professor Alison Fell

Professor of French Cultural History

0113 343 8612

Summary: Women and war; French Culture and the First World War; French and British women in the interwar period; French women's writing

Location: LHRI Building (29-31 Clarendon Place)



I was an undergraduate and postgraduate at the University of Birmingham. After a year spent in Lyon as a lectrice, I was a lecturer at The Queen's College, Oxford and Lancaster University before coming to Leeds in 2007.


At undergraduate level, I'm co-director (with Dr Paul Rowe) of 'Aspects of French History' (Level 2) and director of the Level 3 module 'French Culture and the First World War'. At postgraduate level I'm currently co-supervising three PhD theses (on French heroines during and after the First World War, on French non-combatant war writing, and on Saudi women's writing)


I began my research career working on C20th French women's life-writing which resulted in a book on evolving representations of motherhood. Since 2003 I have been researching women's experiences in, and cultural responses to, the First World War in France and Britain. I am currently completing a monograph entitled Back to the Front: Women as Veterans in France and Britain 1916-1933, and am writing articles or chapters on Belgian refugees in Yorkshire, the experiences and responses to tirailleurs senegalais in WW1, and on women, bodies and the aftermaths of war.

Recent publications include a book chapter on French former war nurse and interwar feminist pacifist Germaine Malaterre-Sellier, a chapter on the afterlives of British and French war heroines, and a chapter on negotiating gender discourses in the wake of the war with Prof Susan Grayzel for the Oxford Hand book of the First World War.

I am chair of the Steering Group forLegacies of War 1914-18/2014-18, a series of research projects and outreach activities with partners in Leeds and Yorkshrie focusing on the Centenary of the First World War. I am also currently one of the Co-Directors of the AHRC Gateways to the First World War hub based at the University of Kent. In 2014 I was PI for two AHRC-funded proejcts working with community groups researching different aspects of life in Leeds during the war.

During the WW1 Centenary period I have been involved in several centenary projects, delivered a series of public talks and lectures, and have acted as a historical consultant and interviewee for several television and radio productions including the Woman's Hour drama The Camel Hospital, the BBC's The World's War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire and ITV's Bleinheim Palace: Great War House.

Potential areas for supervision

Women and war; French Culture and the First World War; French and British women and the First World War; French women's writing