CCL Research and Collaborations

Research in CCL covers a wide array of literatures, languages, cultures and traditions, which we study individually and in comparison, through textual focus and in theoretical, historical and socio-political contexts.

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Our fields include literature (from the Classics to the avant-gardes and to the present, from the canonical to the most recent experiments), language, theatre, performance, translation, multilingualism, creativity, aesthetics, literary and critical theory, literary and cultural history including the ‘new cultural histories’ (such as literature and the senses, the body, cognition, sport, spectacle).

We work in postcolonial studies, memory studies, trauma studies, the environmental humanities, ecocriticism and the Anthropocene, gender studies, disability studies, the medical humanities, biofiction and heterobiography, biography and autobiography, and literature in interdisciplinary relation with visual arts (painting, photography, sculpture), film and cinema history, philosophy, sociology, law, scientific discourses, education, human rights, creative writing and playwriting.

Featured projects

Montrer la reine - Marie-Claude Canova Green

Marie-Claude Canova Green’s new project on the Queen’s body, Montrer la reine, focuses on the court experience of two Spanish Infantas that became Queens of France in the seventeenth century, Anne of Austria and Maria-Teresa of Austria.

In particular, it will investigate the physical impact on their bodies of the constant necessity of paraître and their transformation into visual commodities.

This study builds on her previous research, which culminated in the monograph Faire le roi. L’autre corps de Louis XIII  (Fayard 2018, sponsored by the Centre de Recherche du Château de Versailles).

Faire le roi investigates the ways in which Louis XIII, the Sun King’s father, created a new way of perceiving the body of the King as a royal body.

It focuses on the different functions fulfilled by the various aspects of the public performance of the King to explore how his private, public and imaginary body interrelated in rituals, ceremonies, court entertainments or even daily life.

Taking us beyond studies of royal symbolism or the mechanism of royal propaganda, of which there have been many examples in the past thirty years, and relying on the work of social anthropologists, social historians, philosophers and students of representation, the research draws on the insights of semiotics, performance and gender studies to provide a new account of royal self-presentation.

Contemporary Postcolonial Francophone Theatre

Clare Finburgh Delijani's current book project on postcolonial Francophone theatre examines the many ways in which contemporary theatre in France treats histories of colonialism, in order better to understand identity, community and nation today. 

‘Decolonising’ the terms ‘postcolonial’ and ‘Francophone’, the book applies these notions to migrant and post-migrant theatre makers working in France today, in order to underscore the complex, entangled relationships between the former Empire – France – and its former colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and East Asia.

The project engages with writings by recent theorists of postcolonial French nationhood and identity, for example by the Indigènes de la République, to argue that the French language and French institutions, notably the theatre, tend to determine what France and Frenchness should be, to the exclusion of voices from France’s former colonies.

It brings together for the first time a host of contemporary playwrights and directors who stage racial discrimination and social injustice in contemporary French society, against a backdrop of brutalities committed to maintaining territory during the period of Empire. These include Marine Bachelot Nguyen, Alexandra Badea, Nasser Djamaï, Caroline Guiela Nguyen, Koffi Kwahulé, Latifa Laâbissi, Léonora Miano, Marie NDiaye and Dieudonné Niangouna.

Throughout, the book synthesises the tropes of the silenced “dead person” (Dieudonné Niangouna), the “specter of race” (Michael Hanchard), the “haunting” of migrant heritage (Nasser Djemaï and Wajdi Mouawad) and the “ghost [of France’s colonial past] that continues to prowl” (Edwy Plenel), into a politics of haunting which reveals how postcolonial theatre can promote racial and social justice by viewing contemporary European societies through the prism of colonial pasts.