Professor Claire Gorrara

Professor Claire Gorrara

Head of School and Professor of French Studies

+44 (0)29 2087 4955
2.30, 66a Park Place

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 Second World War.

Professional memberships

  • 2014: Academic Director of Routes into Language Cymru
  • 2011-2014: University Council for Modern Languages representative for Wales
  • 2007-2014: Peer Review College member of the AHRC

Speaking engagements

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),  Contemporary French and Francophone Studies .conference, Louisiana, US (2015).

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

September 2014: Consultant on visual cultures for Heritage Lottery Funded project on Building Wales for Peace, led by the Welsh Centre for International Affairs

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 Humaniites 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

Editorial and External Examination

Co-series editor of two series with University of Wales Press:French and Francophone Studieswith H. Diamond (Cardiff University) andEuropean Crime Fictionswith G. Pieri (Royal Holloway, University of London) and S. Godsland (Birmingham University).

2007 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.

Referee for the following journals: French Studies, Romance Studies, Modern and Contemporary France, Modern Language Review, Journal of Law and Society, Feminist Review, Témoigner, History, Lublin Journal of Modern Languages

Reader and reviewer for the following publishers: Oxford University Press, Routledge, University of Wales Press, University of Manchester Press, Berghahn Books.

2011-2014: External Examiner for French degree programmes at Swansea University

2005-2008 External examiner for French degree schemes at Kingston University

2005-2008 External examiner for French degree programmes at Leeds University, 2005-8.

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), University of Auckland (2014)

School and cross school roles

2014: Head of the School of Modern Languages

2013: Head of the School of European Languages, Translation and Politics

2012-13: Acting Head of the School of European Languages, Translation and Politics

2008-2012: Director of Research for the School of European Studies

1996-2008: Chair of the Research Unit, Histories, Memories and Fictions of Europe

2006-2014: Co-network coordinator of the cross-disciplinary, cross-school research network, Crime Narratives in Context with H. Worthington (Cardiff)

I teach and have taught French language at all undergraduate levels, including translation, essay writing, grammar and report writing. I co-devised a team-led 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  have also contributed to a team-taught cross-School module: May 68: Marking Changes in European Politics and Culture.

In terms of postgraduate teaching, I have coordinated the European Culture and Ideology strand of the MA European Studies and contributed to the core course on European Identities. I have supervised MA dissertations and Annotated Translation Projects for the MA Translations Studies.

I have also provided teaching for the Graduate School for the Humanities and am offering in 2014-15 a workshop on developing a research trajectory for academic interviews and post-PhD career progression.

I have co-supervised five PhDs to completion and one Mphil on the following topics:

  1. 'Myths and Oppression of Gendered and Racialised Subjects in the Prose Fiction of Rosario Castellanos' (passed May 2003)
  2. 'Representations of Travel and Memory in 1960s and 1970s French- and German-Language Literature' (passed April 2004), AHRC funded studentship
  3. 'Comparative Perspective on the Poetic Course of Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake and Sohrab Sepehri' (passed 2006)
  4. 'Constructions of the Algerian War Appelés in French Cultural Memory' (passed April 2012) AHRC funded studentship
  5. 'Cultural Representations of Italians in Wales (1920s-2010s)' (passed April 2012)
  6. Sapphic spectres: Interwar German women’s fiction’ (MPhil, passed April 2014)

I am currently supervising 3 doctoral projects on: i) memory, translation and the Holocaust, ii) migrant and foreign women in occupied France and iii) translation and Japanese manga.

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.