Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Claire Gorrara

Yr Athro Claire Gorrara

Dean for Research and Innovation for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor of French Studies

+44 29208 74955
66a Plas y Parc, Ystafell 2.30, Cathays, Caerdydd, CF10 3AS
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My research covers three main areas: narratives and memories of the Second World War in France, post-war French crime fiction and French photography and visual cultures. These areas are connected by my interest in under-represented or marginalised voices in French culture and the ways in which they mediate processes of social and cultural change. In relation to the Second World War, I have worked extensively on the autobiographies, prose fiction and memoirs of French women writers and war. I have published articles, three monographs and four edited collections of essays. I am currently researching visual cultures of war and working on two projects: photography and representations of the Liberation of Europe 1944-5 and representations of war in francophone comics and graphic novels. In addition, I am the academic lead for two modern languages projects that work in partnership with schools to support the visibility and uptake of modern languages in schools in Wales.


























Book sections




Research Profile

My research centres on visual cultures and memories of war in France. I am currently working on two interrelated projects:

Photography and the Liberation of France, 1944-46: This project explores photographic representations of the liberation of France and the cultural narratives of liberation that these images have come to embody. This project has centred thus far on the work of the British Army Film and Photography Unit and the liberation of Normandy, analysing the cultural narratives of occupied France that such photographs represented for a British reading public when published in popular magazines in the summer of 1944. This work has been published on-line in the Journal of War and Culture Studies (2016). The second phase of this project will explore photographic representations of women, above all 'les tondues', women who had their heads shaved following the liberation of their towns/region in 1944-5, in British press and film.

Comic Books and Memories of War: This project explores comic books and representations of war in a francophone frame. One forthcoming publication will focus on the Algerian War and French comic books. This will be published in the journal French Politics, Culture and Society. A second article examines the work of second and third generation French authors and family memories of the Holocaust. This will appear in a special issue of the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies devoted to comics and the Holocaust. A further commissioned chapter will explore the French comic book and the resurgence of cultural memories of French prisoners of war during the Second World War.

Research Impact

I am the academic lead for a pan-Wales project that mobilises mentoring to improve the attitudes of Welsh pupils towards modern languages and increase take up at GCSE. This project is funded by the Welsh Government and has been developed in partnership with the Universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea in collaboration with the 4 educational Welsh consortia.


The project trains university undergraduate modern linguists to act as mentors to pupils in Year 8 and 9. It has been in place in 54 of Wales 203 secondary schools to date. It is having a signifiicant impact on the numbers of students choosing languages at GCSE, as well as attitudes towards languages, more then doubling the national average for Welsh pupils electing to study languages at GCSE. The project promotes the broader benefits of intercultural communication and supports aspirations towards university study for more disadvantaged groups.

I have written on this subject for The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/how-mentoring-can-improve-modern-languages-uptake-in-schools-65380 and have an chapter forthcoming on Wales, Brexit and modern languages which profiles the mentoring project.

Wider Contribution to the Academic Community

Co-series editor of two series with University of Wales Press: French and Francophone Studies with H. Diamond (Cardiff University) and European Crime Fiction with G. Pieri (Royal Holloway, University of London) and S. Godsland (Amsterdam University).

2007- : Editorial board member of Synergies Royaume Uni et Irlande, an interdisciplinary journal allied to GERFLINT, Groupe d’Etudes et de Recherches pour le Français Langue Internationale.

Referee for the following journals: French Studies, Romance Studies, Modern and Contemporary France, Modern Language Review, Journal of Law and Society, Feminist Review, Témoigner, History, Lublin Journal of Modern Languages, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Australian Journal of French Studies, The Translator

Reader and reviewer for the following publishers: Oxford University Press, Routledge, University of Wales Press, University of Manchester Press, Berghahn Books, Palgrave/Macmillan.


I was on a year's research leave (1 August 2016-31 July 2017).

My teaching responsibilities for 2017-8 are:


First Year (ML68187): team taught: National and Global Perspectives on France

Final Year option (ML6367) Cultures of Occupation and Liberation: France in the 1940s

Final Year French DissertationsWomen and the Second World War in France; multilingualism in Welsh-medium schools

Postgraduate Research

I have co-supervised 6 PhDs to completion and 1 MPhil on the following topics:

  1. 'Myths and Oppression of Gendered and Racialised Subjects in the Prose Fiction of Rosario Castellanos' (passed May 2003)
  2. 'Representations of Travel and Memory in 1960s and 1970s French- and German-Language Literature' (passed April 2004), AHRC-funded studentship
  3. 'Comparative Perspective on the Poetic Course of Arthur Rimbaud, William Blake and Sohrab Sepehri' (passed 2006)
  4. 'Constructions of the Algerian War Appelés in French Cultural Memory' (passed April 2012) AHRC-funded studentship
  5. 'Cultural Representations of Italians in Wales (1920s-2010s)' (passed April 2012)
  6. 'Sapphic spectres: Interwar German women’s fiction’ (MPhil, passed April 2014)
  7. 'A Study of Scanlation and Japanese Manga' (passed March 2015)

I am currently co-supervising 3 PhDs in the following research areas:

1. Memory, translation and the Holocaust in French texts

2. British women in occupied France (AHRC BGP 2 funded)

3. Francophone graphic novels, translation and adaptation

I would welcome applications from those wishing to work on questions of cultural memory, war and modern France, literary and visual narratives of conflict, both within France and in a broader European frame, and French crime fiction and film.

External Examiner for PhDs

University of Kent (2010 and 2016), University of Leeds (2010), Birkbeck, University of London (2011), Université de la Bretagne Occidentale (2011), University of Auckland (2014).


Education and Qualifications

1994: DPhil (French Studies): Oxford University

1991: Masters in European Literature (Distinction): Oxford University

1989: Joint Honours degree in French and English (First Class): Leeds University

Career Overview

1994- present: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, Professor of French Studies: Cardiff University, School of Modern Languages.

Anrhydeddau a dyfarniadau

2017 (April): Visiting Research Fellow, KU Leuven

2015: Cardiff University, Celebrating Excellence Awards: Outstanding Contribution to Leadership

2012: Elected Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales

2011: Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

2011: Visiting Fellow, Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, School of Advanced Studies, University of London


2017-18: Welsh Government: £139,548: Raising the Profile of Modern Foreign Languages: A Mentoring Initiative Phase II

2017: Welsh Government: £40,000: Turbo-Tutoring: Supporting Attainment in AS Level Modern Foreign Languages

2015-16:Welsh Government: £117,305: Raising the Profile of Modern Foreign Languages: A Mentoring Initiative Phase I

2015: Welsh Government: £56,184: Raising the Profile of Modern Foreign Languages: A Mentoring Initiative Phase I

2008: Cardiff Humanities Research Institute (CHRI): £1,680: Cardiff Distinguished Visiting Fellow scheme: to fund the visit of Dr Maurizio Ascari (Bologna University) as part of the Crime Narratives in Context Research Network activities

2007: Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France: £350.00 Conference support: ‘The Lost Decade: the 1950s in European History, Society, Economy and Culture’, Cardiff University, 11-13 July 2007

2007: British Academy small grant fund: £2,292. Research support for the project: ‘Reconstructing France: Popular Culture, Crime Fictions and National Identity, 1946-58’

2002: Cassell Foundation funding: £700 and Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France funding: £200 Conference support: ‘Cultural Intersections: Noir Fiction and Film in France and Italy’ conference at the Institute of Romance Studies, London

2001-2: Leverhulme Research Fellowship: £15,646

Aelodaethau proffesiynol

2017: President of the Association of University Professors and Heads of French

2016-present: Executive Committee member of the Society for French Studies

2015-2017: Executive Committee member of the Association of University Professors and Heads of French

2014- present: Academic Director of Routes into Language Cymru, pan-Wales advocacy group for modern languages: http://routesintolanguagescymru.co.uk/

2011-2014: University Council for Modern Languages representative for Wales

2007-2014: Peer Review College member of the AHRC

Safleoedd academaidd blaenorol

2021-2024: Dean of Research and Innovation, College of Arts, Humanities and Spcial Sciences, Cardiff University 

2019-2021 University Dean of Research Environment and Culture, Cardiff University

2014-16: Founding Head of the School of Modern Languages, Cardiff University

2012-14: Acting Head, then Head of the School of European Languages, Translation and Politics, Cardiff University

2008-2012: Director of Research, School of European Languages, Translation and Politics, Cardiff University

Pwyllgorau ac adolygu

2014-6: Head of the School of Modern Languages

2012-14: Acting Head, then Head of the School of European Languages, Translation and Politics

2008-12: Director of Research, School of European Languages, Translation and Politics

2008-2014: Joint Convenor of Crime Narratives in Context, a Cardiff University interdisciplinary research network

Meysydd goruchwyliaeth

  • Languages, multilingualism and Wales
  • Memory, culture and war in France
  • Comics and graphic novels
  • French crime fiction