The department’s research strategy is to promote excellence in research over the range of what is a rapidly developing discipline. This involves challenging the boundaries of French Studies and contributing to its remapping. Interdisciplinarity is crucial to the department’s overall profile; colleagues are committed to the idea that research areas central to the subject currently - such as post-colonialism, ethics, literary theory, gender theory, problems of historical context and perception, etc - are inherently mobile. Research has thus developed in response to issues, areas and texts of scholarly, intellectual or moral concern, and has developed methodologies appropriate to the projects in hand.
Periods of French culture involved range from the medieval to the contemporary. Issues engaged with include the role and responsibilities of literary or textual criticism; representations of identity in the reading process; literary identity; literary and historical biography; Humanism; postcolonialism and globalization; gender and sexual difference; translation; the relation of history to reading in the situation of texts; the ethics of reading; relations of the visual to the verbal; film and video; the contemporary novel; contemporary poetry.
Approaches adopted by people in
the department include psychoanalysis; gender theory and queer theory;
anthropology; theology; the sociology of Bourdieu; the history of ideas;
Foucauldian history; cultural studies; postcolonial theory. An overriding
concern is with the reading process, its analytical range and critical power. In
this, the department testifies to its twin foundations in literary scholarship
and textual exploration.