Academic staff in the Department of Modern Languages are engaged in a wide range of research and scholarly projects. The Department hosts a vibrant research seminar series with guest speakers from across the EU. It also contributes to the new Faculty of Humanities research seminar series. Academic staff in the department are also members of research networks in Africa, the United States and Europe. The Department has recently undertaken a major expansion in its research activity. It has an international profile in francophone African and Caribbean Studies, and is strengthening its profile in a number of other areas including contemporary European cinema, gender and society in post-reunification Germany, pedagogical theory and practice and culture and society in contemporary Spain.

Recent Submissions

  • Trabant: Go with the legend

    Lowe, Austen; Stone, Mark (Drystone Radio, 2018-11-18)
    "The car is that mediation between state and society. If you look at when they finally opened the borders for people to go West, the Trabis also went with them." Modern Languages undergraduate Austen Lowe was invited to Drystone Radio's Backseat Driver show to discuss his research on the Trabant with Mark Stone. This radio broadcast outlines the misunderstandings surrounding GDR mobility. The conversation focusses on how the wooden and plastic car personifies the state in which it was made. The broadcast aims to draw parallels between production techniques in the GDR and the FRG, relating these methods to cars produced more recently in Zwickau. What did quality actually mean in the GDR and is the Trabant really a motoring legend?
  • L'affaire Tarnac: L'é(a)vénement de deux générations politiques

    Hennuy, Jean-Frederic; University of Chester (Sybil Duemchen Verlag, 2017)
    Article analysis the so-called Tarnac Affair which saw a confrontation between Nicolas Sarkozy and the the members of a ultra-left group. The article put forward the idea that this is a key moment in French politics that saw the birth of two political generations.
  • The Guerrilla Legacy of the Cuban Revolution

    Clayfield, Anna; University of Chester (University Press of Florida, 2019-06-15)
    In this extensively researched book, Anna Clayfield challenges contemporary Western views on the militarization of Cuba. She argues that, while the pervasiveness of armed forces in revolutionary Cuba is hard to refute, it is the guerrilla legacy, ethos, and image—guerrillerismo—that has helped the Cuban revolutionary project survive. The veneration of the guerilla fighter has been crucial to the political culture’s underdog mentality. Analyzing official discourse, including newspapers, history textbooks, army training manuals, the writings of Che Guevara, and the speeches of Fidel Castro, Clayfield examines how the Cuban government has promoted guerrilla motifs. She traces this rhetorical strategy from the beginnings of the Rebel Army in the 1950s and the implementation of Soviet-style management in the 1960s and 1970s, through the shifting ideologies of the 1980s and the instability of the 1990s Special Period, until the present day. By weaving the guerilla ethos into the fabric of Cuban identity, the government has garnered legitimacy for the political authority of former guerrilleros, even decades after the end of armed conflicts. The Guerilla Legacy of the Cuban Revolution chronicles how guerrilla rhetoric has allowed the Revolution to adapt and transform over time while appearing to remain true to its founding principles. It also raises the question of just how long this discourse can sustain the Revolution when its leaders are no longer veterans of the sierra, those guerrillas who participated in that armed struggle that brought them to power so many years ago.
  • Engagement au marteau: Michel Onfray’s Université Populaire

    Hennuy, Jean-Frederic; University of Chester (University of Wales Press, 2017-11-07)
    Article analyses the anarchist philosophy that underlies the creation of the Université Populaire by Michel Onfray.
  • Imaging the present: an iconography of slavery in African art

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Liverpool University Press, 2015-05-21)
    As memories of slavery re-emerge in the historiography of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, contemporary artists from Francophone Africa are engaged in reassessing how this period in Africa’s recent past has extended beyond its historical era to play a role in shaping the development challenges of present-day Africa. Exploring connections between Atlantic slavery and the use of African labour in contemporary modes of production in West Africa, recent art works from the region that once formed the heartland of the French slave trade are providing a discursive platform on which to challenge traditional post-colonial nationalist discourses of modernity and change. An iconography of slavery dating from the era of the Atlantic slave trade and the capture, enslavement and transportation of over eleven million people from Africa to the Americas over the four hundred year period of the ‘terrible trade', has appeared in a body of digital and material art work produced between 1995 and 2015. Artists originating from countries across Francophone Africa (the former French and Belgian colonies on the African mainland), many of whom now live and work in Europe, have independently been moving towards a re-contextualised use of visual imaginary that both invokes explicitly the history and legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This chapter explores the context in which ‘les arts plastiques’ have been produced in the French-speaking areas of Africa, both historically and into the present day, and explores how art offers an alternative platform for political discourse and dissent in the Francophone Africa today.
  • Fathers, Daughters, and Slaves : Women Writers and French Colonial Slavery.

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Liverpool University Press, 2016-03)
    Review article of Fathers, Daughters, and Slaves : Women Writers and French Colonial Slavery. By DORIS Y. KADISH. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, October 2012. 186 pp. Hb £65. ISBN: 9781846318467
  • The Uprooted: Race, Children, and Imperialism in French Indochina, 1890-1980

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018)
    The article reviews recent scholarship on gender, race and imperialism in French Indochina up to and beyond decolonization in 1954.
  • Gender and Generations: exploring gender at the frontiers of the colony

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Chronica Mundi, 2018)
    Abstract: This essay addresses two unanswered questions on gender justice in postcolonial Francophone Africa. It asks why countries of Francophone Africa invariably occupy the lowest ranks in global gender equity tables, and why this underperformance continues to map onto the colonial geography of the continent three generations after the end of colonial rule. Existing sociological methodologies aimed at evaluating gender equity are failing to identify why gender inequalities in countries of the former French African empires remain more pronounced than in any other part of the world. Drawing from fieldwork and research conducted in countries across Francophone Africa, it is argued that the creation and persistence of such inequalities are better understood if evaluated in the context of the cultural histories of the regions in which they persist. As the cultural histories of the former colonies are still being written, the discussion incorporates new and emerging historical research on earlier studies of African women led by female researchers during the 1930s. These include the reports and correspondence of a substantial colonial tour commissioned by the French Socialist government of 1936 to record the social impact of colonisation on African women living in seven colonies of French West Africa. In addition, analysis of the records of two pioneering French researchers, the first women to conduct anthropological fieldwork in French Africa, is helping illuminate how gender has been perceived by colonisers in this part of the world, and combined with contemporary fieldwork and policy analysis, contributing to our growing understanding of why inequality persists in certain geographical contexts that share a colonial history, and why in the former colonies of French Africa, the path gender equity has been following differs from those observed in all other postcolonial developing areas to the point where the situation in Francophone Africa is historically unique.
  • French women and the empire: The case of Indochina

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2016-02-18)
    This review article assesses the contribution to postcolonial historiography with particular reference to gender in the French colonies of Marie-Paule Ha's study of Indochina published by Oxford University Press under the title French women and the empire: the case of Indochina.
  • Women Writers of Gabon: Literature and Herstory

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Liverpool University Press, 2017-11)
    The review article assesses recent scholarship on women's creative writing in French from Gabon.
  • La Fabrique des classiques africains: écrivains d’Afrique subsaharienne francophone . Par Ducournau Claire

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2018-03-12)
    The review article evaluates major new scholarship on the development of the French literary system in colonial and postcolonial Africa and its impact on Francophone writing.
  • Introduction

    Clayfield, Anna; Kirk, Emily J.; Story, Isabel; Dalhousie University; University of Chester; Nottingham Trent University (Lexington Books, 2018-08-24)
    Cuba's Forgotten Decade provides a comprehensive assessment of the 1970s that challenges prevailing interpretations of the decade as simply a period of "Sovietization" characterized by widespread bureaucratization, institutionalization, and adherence to Soviet orthodoxy. Drawing from multidisciplinary perspectives and exploring a range of areas - including politics, international relations, culture, education, and healthcare - the contributing authors demonstrate that the 1970s were a time of intense transformation that proved pivotal to the development of the Revolution. Indeed, many of the ideas, approaches, policies, and legislation developed and tested during this decade maintain a very visible legacy in contemporary Cuba. In highlighting the complexity of the 1970s, this volume contributes to a greater understanding of the Cuban Revolution and how the country has faced the challenges of the twenty-first century.
  • Militarized by Moscow? Re-examining Soviet Influence on Cuba in the 1970s

    Clayfield, Anna; University of Chester (Lexington Books, 2018-08-24)
    Cuba in the 1970s has long been characterized as the decade in which the Revolution became not only thoroughly “Sovietized” but, consequently, “militarized”. This apparent “militarization” supposedly put an end to the guerrilla ethos that had buttressed the Revolution until then, replacing it with a more methodical approach and the pervasive presence of the newly professionalized armed forces across the political and social landscape. This chapter challenges the notion that the Revolution was either completely “Sovietized” or “militarized” during the 1970s. Drawing on a range of materials published in Cuba during the period in question, it argues that, while the Revolution certainly transformed structurally, its underpinning guerrilla values, as expressed in official discourse, remained unchanged as it entered its second decade in power.
  • Si loi, si proche. La France périphérique comme ailleurs de la mondialisation dans la littérature française contemporaine.

    OBERGÖKER, Timo; University of Chester (University of Ghent, 2018-09-15)
    The text explores how two different writers, Eric Chauvier and Edouard Louis, explore their social origins at the periphery of France and which literaty devices are used in order to address this position at the periphery.
  • New Journeys in Iberian Studies: A (Trans)National and (Trans)Regional Exploration

    Gant, Mark; Ruzzante, Paco; Hatton, Anneliese; University of Chester; University of Cambridge; University of Nottingham (Cambridge Scholars, 2018-08-01)
    The research collected in this volume consists of 18 chapters which explore a number of key areas of investigation in contemporary Iberian studies. As the title suggests, there is a strong emphasis on trans-national and trans-regional approaches to the subject area, reflecting current discourse and scholarship, but the contributions are not limited by these approaches and include an eclectic range of recent work by scholars of history, politics, literature, the visual arts and cultural and social studies, often working in transdisciplinary ways. The geographical scope of the transnational processes considered range from intra-Iberian interconnections to those with the UK, Italy and Morocco, as well as transatlantic influences between the Peninsula and Argentina, Cuba and Brazil. The book opens up some pioneering new directions in research in Iberian studies, as well as variety of fresh approaches to hitherto neglected aspects of more familiar issues.
  • Anthropologists in Conversation

    Griffiths, Claire H.; University of Chester (Cambridge University Press, 2017-11-03)
    Review of and discussion of Marianne Lemaire's Lettres de Sanga 2016
  • Le sapeur - Un dandy postcolonial?

    Obergöker, Timo; University of Chester (Peter Lang, 2017)
    The Sape, a sartorial colourful movement of exuberance, developed in the colonial Congos under the colonial regimes. The origins are uncertain and surrounded by numerous mysteries, it is undeniable though that the movement is linked to second-hand clothes imported to the Congos from Paris and Brussels. The text presents the different myths around the origins of the SAPE and shows how it reflects in contemporary French-speaking literature. Postcolonial thinkers have often considered the movement as “homosocial” in the sense that Eve Sedgwick gave to the term. We are going to challenge this perspective by arguing that it is the marginal position of the Sapeur plus his desire to be perceived as a dandy which create this “homosocial” impression. His lack of capital is the major difference from the historical dandy.
  • Awakening Senses for Language Learning

    Foncubierta, José Manuel; Gant, Mark; Universidad de Cádiz; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars, 2016-10-01)
    The chapter explores how multisensory approaches to language learning can enhance learning, helping it to become more experiential, engaging and intense by harnessing the potential of visual images and melodies to connect with learners' affective and emotional capacities and to thereby increase memory skills and motivation.
  • Interdependent Autonomy: Face-to-Face and Digital Media in Modern Language Learning

    Fonseca-Mora, M. Carmen; Gant, Mark; Herrero Machanocoses, Francisco; University of Huelva; University of Chester (Peter Lang, 2017-05-26)
    This chapter reflects on the role of face-to-face and digital supported learning in higher education in the UK. By means of a survey conducted among language learners the authors anlyse the learner's use of technologies and their preferences and attitudes towards online, face-to-face and blended language learning.
  • Melodies, rhythm and cognition in foreign language learning

    Fonseca-Mora, M.Carmen; Gant, Mark; University of Huelva; University of Chester (Cambridge Scholars, 2016-10-01)
    Melodies, Rhythm and Cognition in Foreign Language Learning is a collection of essays reflecting on the relationship between language and music, two unique, innate human capacities. This book provides a clear explanation of the centrality of melodies and rhythm to foreign language learning acquisition. The interplay between language music brings to applied linguists inquiries into the nature and function of speech melodies, the role of prosody and the descriptions of rhythmical patterns in verbal behaviour. Musical students seem to be better equipped for language learning, although melodies and rhythm can benefit all types of students at any age. In fact, in this book melodies and rhythm are considered to be a springboard for the enhancement of the learning of foreign languages.

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