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Edward James Welch


  • Head of School Language & Literature, English
  • Carnegie Chair of French, French
  • AB24 3UB

  • 10 Citations
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Personal profile

Research Overview:

My research focuses especially on the cultural history of post-war France, as it lives through the twin dramas of modernisation and decolonisation. I explore how literary and visual culture articulates, echoes and represents those dramas, and the role played by cultural production in the broader economy of France during the period. In the past few years, my work has turned increasingly to the nature of the photographic image and its role as part of a visual economy of meaning. My first book focused on the novelist and writer François Mauriac, and his emergence as an intellectual and figure of moral authority during the 1950s and 60s. Working with Dr Joe McGonagle (University of Manchester), I have recently completed an AHRC-funded project investigating the representation of the Franco-Algerian relationship from the time of French Algeria to the present day. As part of the project, we curated the exhibition New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK at Cornerhouse in Manchester. Our book, Contesting Views: The Visual Economy of France and Algeria, was published by Liverpool University Press in May 2013.

My current work pursues a long-standing interest in spatial planning, urban space and modernisation in post-war France. I am working in particular on the state-led planning and modernisation of the Gaullist and post-Gaullist eras, and the ways in which space was produced and reconfigured as a result. I have explored how a range of writers and photographers, such as Raymond Depardon, Annie Ernaux and Jean Rolin, have responded to and evoked the consequences of these processes. I would be very happy to hear from potential postgraduate students interested in topics related to any of my research areas.

Research Interests:

  • Post-war French literary and visual culture
  • French photography and photography theory
  • Pierre Bourdieu and the sociology of culture
  • Planning and modernisation in post-war France
  • Representations of urban space and urban change
  • The relationship between France and Algeria

Research Keywords:

Post-war France; literary and visual culture; photography; photography theory; France and Algeria; urban planning; urban change; modernisation; sociology of culture; literary and critical theory; Pierre Bourdieu; François Mauriac; Raymond Depardon; Annie Ernaux; Jean Rolin; Roland Barthes


  • 1995 MA (Hons) in Modern Languages (French and Linguistics), University of Oxford
  • 1996 MSt in European Studies, University of Oxford
  • 2000 DPhil in French, University of Oxford

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  • 5 Similar Profiles
France Social Sciences
photography Social Sciences
modernization Social Sciences
economic planning Social Sciences
naturalism Social Sciences
state planning Social Sciences
satire Social Sciences
visualization Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2001 2019

'Match nous a raconté une histoire': Thinking with Roland Barthes about Photography, Publics and the Exercise of Power in Post-war France

Welch, E. J. 2019 (Accepted/In press) Photography and Its Publics. Miles, M. & Welch, E. (eds.). London: Bloomsbury Academic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Photography and Its Publics

Welch, E. J. (ed.) & Miles, M. (ed.) 2019 (Accepted/In press) London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

The Place of the Republic: Space, Territory and Identity around and after Charlie Hebdo

Welch, E. & Perivolaris, J. Aug 2016 In : French Cultural Studies. 27, 3, p. 279-292 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
public space

Apprehending the banlieue: Les Passagers du Roissy-Express and spatial enquiry in contemporary France.

Welch, E. J. Dec 2014 In : Francosphères. 3, 2, p. 173-186 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Contemporary France
French Culture

La Carte et le territoire: Mapping, Photography and the Visualization of Contemporary France

Welch, E. Jul 2014 In : Nottingham French Studies. 53, 2, p. 186-200 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
state planning

Activities 2013 2018

  • 2 Types for Internal and external academic activities - Other (examining, reviewing)
  • 1 Membership of peer review panel or committee

External Examiner

Welch, E. J. (External examiner)

Activity: Types for Internal and external academic activities - Other (examining, reviewing)

External Examiner

Welch, E. J. (External examiner)

Activity: Types for Internal and external academic activities - Other (examining, reviewing)

Executive Committee, Society for French Studies (External organisation)

Welch, E. J. (Participant)

Activity: Membership of peer review panel or committee