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Current research projects in French Studies

Staging Napoleonic Theatre

Benefiting from AHRC follow-on funding for 12 months (2016-17) to engage with new audiences, Dr Katherine Astbury’s Napoleonic theatre project team have been working with theatre practitioners and musicians on workshops to further our understanding of the performance of theatre during the period, using the manuscript scores of melodramas to reproduce the music that would have accompanied the speech and action to better understand the relationship between form and content. The project culminated in two performances, one a collaboration with the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond and the other with English Heritage at Portchester Castle.

Lyric Responses to the Crusades in Medieval France and Occitania

Professor Emeritus Linda Paterson holds an AHRC research grant of over £400,000 to pursue a four-year Anglo-Italian collaborative project. Together with a team of specialists from several European institutions, she is investigating the complex contemporary secular responses to medieval crusading movements, on the part of troubadours and trouvères – lyric poet-musicians writing in Occitan and Old French and composing in France, Occitania, Italy, the Iberian Peninsula, Syria and Greece.

Neo-Latin Poetry in Renaissance France

Thanks to funding granted by the British Academy and The Leverhulme Trust (£9,997, 2013), and the Modern Humanities Research Association (£16,500, 2009) to Dr Ingrid de Smet (Warwick), the late Prof. Philip Ford (Cambridge), and Prof. Brenda Hosington, this project is concerned with preparing for publication a posthumous edition of Ian D. McFarlane's book manuscript Neo-Latin Poetry of Renaissance France.

French Theatre of the Napoleonic Era

This three-year AHRC-funded project is led by Dr Katherine Astbury. It represents a major advance in studies of theatre of the Napoleonic era by rectifying the lack of methodologically innovative and up-to-date research on theatrical production in France between 1799 and 1815. This project takes as its base the University of Warwick's unique Marandet collection which contains over 3,000 plays of the French 18th and 19th centuries, one third of which have recently been digitised.

Secrets and their Keepers in Renaissance France, 1560–1620

Thanks to a three-year Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2011–2014), Dr Ingrid De Smet is investigating the conceptualization and practical implementation of secrecy and semi-secrecy versus public knowledge in the turbulent years of the French Wars of Religion and their aftermath (c.1560–c.1620). This research will lead to a new monograph, clustering around the interlinking spheres of: secretaries and counsellors; ambassadors and other envoys; spies and concealment; those involved with the world of the book.

Legacies of the French New Wave

The New Wave is widely regarded as probably the single most important and influential movement in the history of French cinema. But where, how, and in what ways has that influence made itself felt? This project, led by Dr Douglas Morrey, surveys fifty years of French film history demonstrating the ways in which different directors, movements and trends in French filmmaking have adopted and updated techniques and ideas made popular by the New Wave.

Circulus vitiosus deus: Klossowski, Nietzsche, and the Deconstruction of Christianity

Professor Leslie Hill is currently completing a book-length study of Pierre Klossowski's dialogue with Nietzsche and Heidegger, focusing on his original reinterpretation of Nietzsche's doctrine of eternal return and on the relationship between Christianity and atheism in the writer's work, set against the backdrop of Jean-Luc Nancy's project of the deconstruction of christianity.

Inscribed on the Body: Women, Intoxication and Self-Destruction in Nineteenth-Century France

Dr Susannah Wilson, with the support of a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, is currently completing a project aiming to gain greater understanding of how and why nineteenth-century French women modified, manipulated and harmed their bodies. The project focuses on physically self-destructive behaviours such as self-mutilation, anorexia, bulimia, suicide and attempted suicide, substance use and abuse, excessive intoxication, and ritual body modification (for example, stigmata).

The Ethics of Violent Action in Political Struggle

In this project Professor Nick Hewlett engages with some major left and left-leaning thinkers whose work relates to the question of violence in pursuit of a fairer world, and whose writings have often influenced on-the-ground struggles. He considers among others the work of Marx, Engels, Sorel, Fanon, Sartre, Guevara and Benjamin, who are often seen as to offer legitimacy to the taking up of arms in the pursuit of emancipation. Others, meanwhile, such as Arendt, Gandhi, Camus and Ruddick, argue various cases against the use of violence - or at least for the strictly limited use of violence - for progressive ends.