Louise Hardwick


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I provide teaching and dissertation supervision for a number of MA and M.Phil courses, offering supervision on areas relating to Francophone and Postcolonial Studies.

Colonial and Postcolonial Cultures
Sexuality and Gender Studies
Contemporary Literary Cultures
Critical Theory

Prospective MA and PhD students are welcome to email me to discuss research proposals concerning projects on Francophone Postcolonial cultures.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


I studied for my BA in French & German at Trinity College, Oxford (2000-2004), and as an Erasmus student at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. As an Undergraduate, I was a Trinity College Scholar, won a University of Oxford Undergraduate Heath Harrison Prize for French and was awarded a national prize, the Peter Kirk Travel Scholarship.

I remained at Trinity and completed my M.St in 2005, and my D.Phil in Francophone Caribbean Literature in 2008, both of which were fully funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Throughout my D.Phil I worked for the Oxford Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages in roles including the Heath Harrison Teaching Fellow for French, Pembroke College Language Instructor, and Undergraduate Admissions Interviewer. In summer 2008, in the final months of my D.Phil, I was a daily Tutor on the Oxford Sutton Trust Summer School (the predecessor of UNIQ), an access scheme for state school pupils. I was particularly keen to support the Summer School because I had attended myself – and had a wonderful week – in 1999.

In 2008, I moved to Homerton College, University of Cambridge, to take up a Research Fellowship, where I also provided French and Francophone teaching across the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages.

I joined Birmingham as a Lecturer in 2010, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2015. My research has been supported by major national and international funding awards. In 2012, I won an EU Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (209,033 Euros) as Principal Investigator for work on Caribbean Biopolitics, supervising a postdoctoral research fellow from Italy. In 2014 I was awarded an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship (£168,000) for a ground-breaking new reading of the author Joseph Zobel. I have been a Visiting Fellow at Emory University, Atlanta (2015), and a Visiting Scholar at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (2015), and at the Winthrop-King Institute for Contemporary French and Francophone Studies at Florida State University, Tallahassee (2016). My PhD students have been funded by full scholarships from the AHRC M3C Consortium, the Algerian Government, and the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham.

My books to date include the sole-written monographs Childhood, Autobiography and the Francophone Caribbean (LUP, 2013), Joseph Zobel: Négritude and the Novel (LUP, forthcoming) and the edited volume New Approaches to Crime in French Literature, Film and Visual Culture (Peter Lang, 2009). In 2014, I guest-edited a special issue of the International Journal of Francophone Studies on ‘Race, Violence and Biopolitics in Francophone Postcolonial Contexts’.

In 2017, I am honoured to be profiled in Feminae Trinitatis, a portrait exhibition at Trinity College, Oxford. In a groundbreaking initiative, for an entire year the male portraits in the historic College Dining Hall are being replaced with photographs of 16 women whose achievements are judged to be ‘inspirational.’ In 2016, I was appointed to an honorary Associate Fellow position at Homerton College, Cambridge, and was also elected onto the Executive Committee of the UK Society for French Studies, the leading subject organisation in my field. In 2015, I was profiled as a ‘Role Model for Mobility for Women Scientists’ by the EU Marie Curie Alumni Association, and in 2014 I was runner-up in the University of Birmingham Aston Webb Outstanding Early Career Academic prize.

I enjoy developing new ways to bring my research to public audiences both locally and internationally. This gives me an opportunity to collaborate with a number of cultural institutions, including charities and businesses, in Birmingham, the wider Midlands area, London and France, and as far afield as the Caribbean! My research has been featured in the British and French press and has received wide coverage in the French Caribbean radio, television and print media. In 2016, I assisted the research team for an episode of the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? I also provide pro-bono research-related consultancy services to Arts and Cultural organisations and charities.

As part of my ongoing commitment to public engagement, I blog about my AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship activities at www.josephzobel.wordpress.com and run the @zobelproject Twitter account.


Research interests

In the course of my international research, I work with academic and community partners in the UK, France, the Caribbean, the USA and Australia. I also make regular media contributions (to date, in Martinique, metropolitan France, the UK and Angola), and have attracted external funding in excess of £500k through large EU and AHRC awards. At Birmingham, I founded the FRANCOPOCO Network in 2010 to promote internationally significant research, and have to date hosted scholars from the Caribbean, the US and Europe.

My first monograph, Childhood, Autobiography and the Francophone Caribbean (LUP, 2013) is the first study to identify and trace the development of an important tradition of Francophone Caribbean childhood narratives from the early 1900s. I provide a ground-breaking analysis of the aesthetic innovations and political implications – particularly for the transmission of the memory of slavery – in this important and vast body of writing. This research was funded by two individual AHRC Funding Awards for MA and Doctoral study (2004-5; 2005-2008), and by an AHRC award for fieldwork in the French Caribbean (2007).

In my second monograph, Joseph Zobel: Négritude and the Novel (LUP, forthcoming), I propose an original new reading of that well-known - but often misunderstood - Martinican novelist. My study offers a radical new vision of Zobel, and sets out to change the way that the author is understood by scholars and students alike. This project was expedited by the award of an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship (2014-2016). The project’s blog is: https://josephzobel.wordpress.com/

As sole editor, I have also published a book on New Approaches to Crime in French Literature, Culture and Film (Peter Lang, 2009).

More recently, I have undertaken substantial EU-funded research into ‘biopolitics’, examining the governance of populations. For this, I guest-edited a special edition of the International Journal of Francophone Studies on ‘Race, Violence and Biopolitics’ (2014). That project’s blog is here: https://caribiolit.wordpress.com/.

Subsequently, during my AHRC ECLF, I extended this biopolitical line of investigation to consider the governance of the natural environment in a 2016 article published in French Studies, which is available to read online for free thanks to funding from the AHRC.

I have given keynote speeches, invited lectures and talks in English and French at events organized by the French Ministère des Outre-mer; Society of Francophone Postcolonial Studies; University of Oxford Francophone Seminar; University of Cambridge Modern French Seminar; Liverpool International Slavery Museum; University of Liverpool Post-Slavery ESRC symposium; Race In The Americas research network; Ottawa University; Laval University; Institut Français de Londres; Centre national de la recherche scientifique; Université Paris III - La Sorbonne nouvelle; Université Cheikh Anta Diop Senegal; Université Toulouse- Jean Jaurès; Salon du Livre Paris.

I have organised a number of international research events, conferences and workshops, at the University of Birmingham (colloquium on Biopolitics in 2013; visit of Maryse Condé and Richard Philcox in 2010), Cambridge (2009) and Oxford (2007, 2008).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Mockingbird Cinema

21 Apr 2016 → …


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