Area of Expertise
- Contemporary French and Francophone Literature
- Belgian literature and culture
- Contemporary Women's Writing
- Writing Illness and the Body
- Medical Humanities
- Gender and Cultural Identity
- Feminism in France and Belgium
I welcome postgraduate applications in any of these areas
I currently supervise the following students and projects:
- Francesca Masciullo - AHRC-funded MRes: 'Denied and Disowned Motherhood in the works of Dacia Maraini and Annie Ernaux'
- Hanane Benchama – PhD: Examination between Victimhood and Resistance: Algerian Women in the Literature and Film of The Black Decade
- Emma Flynn - PhD: Comparative analysis of the representation of sexual violence and primarily, its relationship to survival and death in French and English women's literature
Prize And Awards
My main research interest is in the field of Belgian and Francophone literature and culture with a particular focus on contemporary women’s writing. I am also interested in issues surrounding cultural identities in Francophone countries and currently works on contemporary Francophone illness narratives in relation to trauma and gender.
I have recently been looking into the lives of Belgian refugees in the West of Scotland during World War 1 and, in particular, into women’s health during their time in exile from Belgium. Throughout 2017 and 2018, in collaboration with Dr Jacqueline Jenkinson (University of Stirling), I co-organised a series of workshops and events arising from a Royal Society of Edinburgh collaborative workshops award on the subject: Uncovering civilian war trauma among female Belgian refugees in Scotland during the First World War. More on the project and the series of events can be found at https://stirlingcentrescottishstudies.wordpress.com.
In March 2016, at the University of Strathclyde, I co-organised an international conference entitled Trauma and Gender in 20th Century European Literature, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust.
I am a member of The Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare (CSHHH) research groups at the University of Strathclyde, and I am also an Honorary Fellow in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh where I contribute to the activities of the Centre de Recherches Francophones Belges. I am a member of the Association Européenne d’Etudes Francophones and of the Women in French in Scotland and Women in French networks.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to cervical and other cancers, but in many cases it doesn’t. Although extremely common and often relatively harmless, those diagnosed tend to remain silent about the condition, hiding their worry and fears, significantly impacting their emotional wellbeing and social lives. Using co-creation as research, and art as a medium, this project seeks to encourage discussion around HPV and reframe its numerous – yet often unspoken – narratives.
This project intends to stimulate research on the timely subject of civilian war trauma via a case study of female Belgian refugees in Scotland 1914-18. ‘Shell shock’ during that conflict is overwhelmingly associated with male frontline soldiers. Few academic studies consider the impact of warfare on female well-being (Poynter, 2008, McEwen, 2006) particularly on the health of female civilians (Grayzel, 2014). Among Scotland’s c. 20,000 wartime Belgian refugees were dozens who applied for poor law assistance, a preliminary analysis of these by the PI indicated 40% of female and 25% of male Belgian refugee applicants were diagnosed as suffering ‘insanity’, yet they presented with symptoms of trauma. Project outcomes will be a co-authored article, and outlining plans for a digital research resource of Belgian refugee medical case histories combining a diffuse range of primary sources.