Professor Claire Gorrara - BA, MSt, DPhil (Oxon) FRHistSoc
Telephone: +44(0)29 2087 4955
Fax: +44(0)29 2087 4946
Location: Room 2.30, 65-68 Park Place
Office hours: Monday, 15:00 - 14:00
Wednesday, 10:00 - 11:00
My works covers three main areas: narratives and memories of the Second World War in France, post-war French crime fiction and French photography and visual cultures. These areas are connected by my interest in under-represented or marginalised voices in French culture and the ways in which they mediate processes of social and cultural change. In relation to the Second World War, I have worked extensively on the autobiographies, prose fiction and memoirs of French women writers. I have published articles and a monograph on post-war French crime fiction and film, In 2012, I published a monograph study of French crime fiction and memories of the Second World War, examining the role of popular culture as a privileged vector of memory. I am currently developing further my work into visual cultures of war, above all photography and the graphic novel, with particular reference to the First and the Second World War.
Project: Understanding the Visual Legacies of War: the First World War and the Second World War in Perspective
Supported by: AHRC Cultural Engagement grant (2013) and a Cardiff University Research Opportunities Project (2013).
Overview: This project creates a platform of interaction for researchers working on the topic of war and its visual representation. The project will investigate the ways in which different practitioner groupings (war artists, photographers, illustrators, graphic novelists) have represented and imagined war’s end in the case of the First and Second World Wars in France. It thus works towards establishing a critically informed set of visual templates around cultural perceptions of war, many of which still frame how we view and understand war and conflict today. To this end, the project focuses on recurrent visual tropes of war, such as picturing the combatant’s experience, framing landscapes of devastation, capturing civilian responses (suffering and celebration) and marking mourning and remembrance.
I completed my undergraduate studies at Leeds University, gaining a First Class Joint Honours degree in French and English (1989). I subsequently studied at Oxford University and was awarded a Masters in European Literature in 1991 and my DPhil doctorate in 1994, the latter devoted to women’s literary representations of the Second World War in post-1968 France. I was appointed Lecturer at Cardiff University in September 1994, Senior Lecturer in 2001, Reader in 2005 and Professor of French Studies in 2008. I have two children, born in 2003 and 2005.
Recent awards, prizes and nominations
April 2012: Elected Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales
April 2011: Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
February-March 2011: Visiting Fellow, Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London
June 2008: Cardiff Humanites Research Institute (CHRI): £1,680
Cardiff Distinguished Visiting Fellow scheme: to fund the visit of Dr Maurizio Ascari (Bologna University) as part of the Crime Narratives in Context Research Network activities
March 2007: Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France: £350.00 Conference support: ‘The Lost Decade: the 1950s in European History, Society, Economy and Culture’, Cardiff University, 11-13 July 2007
January 2007: British Academy small grant fund: £2,292 Research support for the project: ‘Reconstructing France: Popular Culture, Crime Fictions and National Identity, 1946-58’
April 2002: Cassell Foundation funding: £700 and Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France funding: £200 Conference support: 'Cultural Intersections: Noir Fiction and Film in France and Italy' conference at the Institute of Romance Studies, London
July 2001-September 2002: Leverhulme Research Fellowship: £15,646
Memberships and external activities
I am co-series editor of two series with University of Wales Press: French and Francophone Studies with H. Diamond (Bath University) and European Crime Fictions with G. Pieri (Royal Holloway, University of London) and S. Godsland (Birmingham University).
Since 2007, I have been a member of the editorial board member of Synergies Royaume Uni et Irlande, an interdisciplinary journal allied to GERFLINT, Groupe d’Etudes et de Recherches pour le Français Langue Internationale. I also referee articles for the following journals: French Studies, Romance Studies, Modern and Contemporary France, Modern Language Review, Journal of Law and Society, Feminist Review, Témoigner, History and have acted as a reader for the following publishers: Oxford University Press, Routledge, University of Wales Press and University of Manchester Press.
I was external examiner for French degree schemes at Kingston University, 2003-7, and Leeds University, 2005-8.
I am currently an external examiner for French degree programmes at Swansea University from 2011-2014
I have acted as an External Examiner for doctoral awards at the following institutions: University of Kent (2010), University of Leeds (2010), Birkbeck, University of London (2011), Université de la Bretagne Occidentale (2011)
I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.
I have given over fifty conference and research papers to date, including twenty invited addresses. Of particular note are invitations to speak at the Berlin-Brandenburg Institute, Berlin (2003), the Southwark Playhouse (2005), Toepfer Foundation, Hamburg (2010) and the University of Paris 3, Sorbonne Nouvelle (2012)
Selected recent papers:
‘Le Passé recompose: mémoire et postmemory dans Des gens très bien d’Alexandre Jardin’, Maison de la recherche, Paris, Sorbonne Nouvelle, 30 May 2012
‘Past Crimes, Present Memories: French Crime Fiction and the Second World War’ at Crime Across the Continent, British Library, 18 November 2011
Résister au masculin: l’image de résistant dans le roman noir français’, Colloque international à Hamburg/Gut Siggen, ‘L’Appel du 18 juin 1940. Y-a-t—il une mémoire franco-allemande de la Résistance?’. Hamburg, June 2010
Keynote: ‘War stories: Telling Tales of the Second World War in French Crime Fiction’, University of Leeds, conference ‘Finding the Plot: On the Importance of Storytelling in Popular Fictions’, April 2010
I teach and have taught French language at all undergraduate levels, including translation, essay writing, grammar and report writing. I co-devised and team-lead the first-year French introductory module: Modern France: War, Culture and Conflict and have taught specialist French modules on the following topics: Twentieth-Century French Women’s Writing, French Culture and the Occupation, French Crime Fiction, French Dissertation (year 4 only). I also contribute to a team-taught cross-School module: May 68: Marking Changes in European Politics and Culture.
In terms of postgraduate teaching, I coordinate the European Culture and Ideology strand of the MA European Studies, contributing also to the core course on European Identities.
I habe also provided teaching for the Graduate School for the Humanities and have offered a workshop session on Memory and Culture open to a range of postgraduate students.
In terms of research students, I have co-supervised three PhDs to date on the following topics:
Myths and Oppression of Gendered and Racialised Subjects in the Prose Fiction of Rosario Castellanos' (passed May 2003)
Representations of Travel and Memory in 1960s and 1970s French- and German-Language Literature' (passed April 2004), AHRC funded studentship
Comparative Perspective on the Poetic Course of Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake and Sohrab Sepehri' (passed 2006).
Two doctoral students have just completed and are awaiting their vivas:
Iain Mossman (AHRC BGP): ‘Constructions of the Algerian War Appelés in French Cultural Memory’
Bruna Chezzi: ‘Cultural Representations of Italians in Wales (1920s-2010s)
I would welcome applications from those wishing to work on questions of cultural memory, war and modern France, literary and visual narratives of conflict, both within France and in a broader European frame, and French crime fiction and film
School and cross school roles
2012- : Acting Head of School
2010-2012: Deputy Head of the School of European Studies
2008-2012: Director of Research for the School of European Studies
1996-2008: Chair of the Research Unit, Histories, Memories and Fictions of Europe
2006- : Co-network coordinator of the cross-disciplinary, cross-school research network, Crime Narratives in Context with H. Worthington (ENCAP)