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Professor Rachael Langford

Professor Rachael Langford

Head of School

School of Modern Languages

+44 (0)29 2087 5643
1.04, 66a Park Place, Cathays, Cardiff, CF10 3AS

I research, teach and publish on Francophone African literature, film, and visual culture; on colonial culture in France, Belgium and Africa; and on nineteenth-century French culture. In particular I work on the literature and visual culture, especially film and photography, of Francophone Africa; I am interested too in the relationships between French, Belgian and African culture and politics. Within the nineteenth century, I research French literature, visual arts and culture between 1850 and 1914, especially the politics and culture of the early Third Republic (1870-1914), and the history and culture of French and Belgian colonialism.

A graduate of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, I was appointed Lecturer in French in the School of European Studies in Cardiff in 1996 and became Senior Lecturer in 2005.

Awards and prizes

2009: £40,225 Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship. 20 months of funding to undertake research into ‘Images of the Congo in Francophone Visual Culture, 1885 to the present day’.

2008: £1500 Cardiff Humanities Research Institute (£750) and School of Art, Media and Design, University of Wales Newport (£750): match-funding to support initial RMMEC workshops 2007-08.

2007: £1500 British Academy Small Research Grant for research in France and Belgium on bande dessinée, Westerns and Francophone African filmic practice.

2007: £250 from Assocation for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, as funding for L’Histoire vue et vécue 2-day conference, 4-5 Arpil 2007.

2004: £450 British Academy Overseas Conference Grant to travel to the University of South Carolina to present an invited paper at the Orphan Film Symposium: Orphans ’04, Place and Region in Forgotten Films.

2003: Involved as a film specialist in formulating sections of the bid by Prof. Gerrit-Jan Berendse for £20,135 of European Science Research Infrastructure Fund money, to set up a Cardiff Centre for European Cinema Studies.

May 2000: Cardiff Scheme for Supporting Research in the Arts and Humanities: (with G. Pieri and G. Ní Dhùill) £4,637 for research work relating to preparation for publication of volumes stemming from the conference Textual Intersections: Literature and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Europe, Cardiff, July 2001.

March 1997: £1,840 Cardiff Young Researchers Initiative award for Francophone African film research project at the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris. Research completed February to April 2000.

Academic session 1994-1995: St. John’s College, Cambridge, Continuation Award (undisclosed amount covering fees and accommodation)

1991-1994: British Academy Major Studentship for doctoral studies at University of Cambridge. Doctorate awarded 1996.

Memberships / External activities

Editor University of Wales Press publications series, ‘Studies in European Visual Culture’

Academic referee for UK and US commercial and academic publishers: Peer reviewer for International Journal of Francophone Studies, Journal of Modern and Contemporary France, Journal of the Society for French Film Studies, Australian Journal of French Studies,

External PhD examiner, University of Glamorgan; Internal PhD Examiner, Cardiff University.










I teach at all levels in the School of European Studies, from first year undergraduates to Post-graduate taught and research students. My approach to teaching is research led and seeks to enable students to deepen their understanding of Francophone culture and society while enhancing their language skills. In French language work and in Francophone literary/cultural studies, I encourage students to consider what they are studying within its wider social, historical and political contexts, and to convey my enthusiasm for critical engagements with the language and cultures of the French-speaking world.

At present I am supervising doctoral students on representations of the conscript experience of the Franco-Algerian War; on same-sex utopias in twentieth and twenty-first century French literature and culture; and on representations of immigration to South Wales. I warmly welcome applications from research students for supervision in any of my areas of research expertise.

I research and publish on nineteenth-century French studies, on Francophone African literature, film, and visual culture; and Francophone colonial cultures. Within the nineteenth century I am interested in French literature, visual arts and culture between 1850 and 1914, and specifically in the politics and culture of the early Third Republic (1870-1914) and in French colonialism. Within Francophone African studies, I work on the literature and visual culture of Francophone Africa and its complex relationships with French culture and politics. I have a particular interest in the ways in which visual textual forms of representation engage with one another, and in the links between ‘amateur’ and ‘official’ representations. I am currently writing a book on film genre and African cinema for I.B. Tauris publishers, for publication in 2014. I was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship in 2010-2011, to study the representation of the Congo in Francophone visual culture from 1885 to the present day and I am also preparing a monograph on this topic for publication in 2015.

With Professor Margaret Topping of Belfast University I am joint editor of the University Wales Press series of publications in European Visual Cultures. I am Director of the School’s Institute for the Study of Visual Cultures and joint co-ordinator of the cross-disciplinary research network ‘Representing Mobility and Migration' which holds regular seminars and events focused on visual culture. I am also joint co-ordinator with Dr Liz Wren-Owens (Italian) of the cross-disciplinary research network ‘Representing Mobility and Migration ’ which brings together staff from Cardiff Humanities Schools with practitioners, researchers and non-HEI partners to network and share research on images of migration.