Dr Karine Varley



Personal statement

I am a historian of modern Europe with particular interests in modern French history and war. I am a graduate of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, the University of Leeds, and Royal Holloway, University of London. Prior to my appointment at Strathclyde, I was Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Durham and then Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Edinburgh. Before moving into an academic career, I worked for a major financial services firm in London, specialising in Corporate Tax.

My first research project explored the memory of the Franco-Prussian War. My book, Under the Shadow of Defeat: The War of 1870-71 in French Memory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), is the first wide-ranging analysis of how memories of the Franco-Prussian War shaped French political culture and identities, and analyses the first widespread war remembrance in Europe. This research was funded with grants from the AHRC, Royal Historical Society, University of London Central Research Fund, and Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

I am currently completing a book entitled Vichy's Double Bind: French Axis Entanglements and Relations with Fascist Italy, 1940-1943. My research analyses relations between Vichy France and Fascist Italy at government level and locally in south-eastern France, Corsica and North Africa, and the Italian occupation of France. This project seeks to shift the focus of historical investigation away from analyses of collaboration and resistance that are conceived exclusively in Franco-German terms. This research has been funded by grants from the British Academy and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

I am currently working on a two-year project funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 'Relations between Britain and France in World War Two'. This is part of a wider project on Britain and France in War and Peace and has involved collaborations with the British Embassy in Paris, the French Embassy in London, the Institut Français d’Ecosse and the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni.

I am also co-editing a volume entitled A Fascist Decade of War? 1935-45 in International Perspective, with Dr Marco Maria Aterrano (Naples), which is due to be published by Routledge.

My research blog on the history of modern France at war can be found at: http://francehistory.wordpress.com/

I am School of Humanities Postgraduate Research (PGR) Director for History and Modern Languages. I welcome postgraduate applications in any areas of modern French history, and nineteenth and twentieth-century European history.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am currently the Treasurer of the Society for the Study of French History.

I am a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, a panel member for History for the AHRC SGSAH and a pathway representative for Economic and Social History for the ESRC SGSSS.


Vers une Europe latine. Acteurs et enjeux des échanges culturels entre la France et l’Italie fasciste
Varley Karine
24 (2016)
'All quiet on the French front' : The First World War centenary in France and the challenges of republican consensus
Varley Karine
Comillas Journal of International Relations Vol 2, pp. 86-99 (2015)
How should we commemorate wars? Lessons from the nineteenth century
Varley Karine
Book Review : Eleven Days in August: The Liberation of Paris in 1944 by Matthew Cobb
Varley Karine
Entangled enemies : Vichy, Italy and collaboration
Varley Karine
France in an Era of Global War, 1914-1945 (2014) (2014)
War commemoration and politics : lessons from the nineteenth century
Varley Karine

more publications


I teach the following undergraduate and postgraduate classes:

V1217 Modern Europe

V1303/V1440 France at War, 1870-1962

R1107/8 French Language 1a/1b

R1203/4 French Language 2a/2b

R1210 French Culture and History 2

R1310 Freedom and Identity in France and the Francophone World

R1408 France since 1945

R1502 French Language (Interpreting)

R1506 French Studies 4 (Core Class)

History and French Dissertations


Postgraduate teaching:

V1977 War, Sacrifice and the Nation in Europe, 1789-1918

Research interests

My research interests lie primarily in the following areas:

  • Vichy France
  • French-Italian relations in the Second World War
  • Memory and commemoration of war
  • Relations between Britain and France in the Second World War
  • The Franco-Prussian War 
  • Corsican nationalism, history and politics

I have recently completed the manuscript for my second book, Vichy's Double Bind: French Axis Entanglements and Relations with Fascist Italy, 1940-43. This book advances a significant new interpretation of the Vichy regime that governed France between 1940 and 1944. Challenging the often exclusive focus upon French encounters with the Nazis in much of the scholarship on France during the Second World War, this book argues that in its dealings with Fascist Italy, Vichy found itself confronted with a double bind. Offering the first wide-ranging study of French relations with Fascist Italy between 1940 and 1943 across France, North Africa and the Levant, this book suggests that Italy presented a set of challenges that had far-reaching consequences for Vichy’s pursuit of collaboration, its response to occupation and its domestic and foreign policies more broadly.

Professional activities

Bloomsbury (Publisher)
Peer reviewer
Britain, France and Europe: Reassessments
Britain, France and Europe: Reassessments
Le Sacré-Coeur: mégastructure historique
Contemporary European History (Journal)
Peer reviewer
Centre for Franco-British Relations (External organisation)

more professional activities


Britain and France in War and Peace
Varley, Karine (Academic) Pastor-Castro, Rogelia (Academic)

more projects