With its broad range of research strengths, the Department of French at UCC is a major international centre for the study of French as a multidisciplinary subject and also an important focus for a range of interdisciplinary networks. Our core areas of research support teaching at undergraduate level and across the various postgraduate programmes to which the Department contributes.

Research strengths encompass:

  • Modern and Contemporary Literature and Ideas
  • Francophone Colonial and Postcolonial Studies
  • Francophone Africa and the Francophone Caribbean
  • French and Francophone History
  • French Philosophy and Theory
  • Modern and Contemporary Theatre, Film and Poetry
  • Second Language Acquisition and Sociolinguistics
  • Translation Studies (including audiovisual translation)
  • Women’s and Gender Studies


Dr Patrick Crowley  Modern and contemporary French literature, postcolonial francophone studies; cultural production and the nation-state in modern and contemporary Algeria; travel writing; critical theory
  Dr Dónal Hassett My research interests are focused in the areas of Colonial History, Commemoration of Conflict and Veteran Studies. My first book, Mobilising Memory: The Great War and the Language of Politics in Colonial Algeria1918-1939, was published with Oxford University Press in 2019. I have written widely on the legacies of the Great War in the French Empire and am currently planning a new project which will seek to build a global history of the colonial war veteran.
  Dr Kate Hodgson Postcolonial Francophone literature and culture, the Caribbean, travel writing, slavery and abolition, history, memory and commemoration.
Dr Martin Howard Second language acquisition; variationist sociolinguistics; French language; applied linguistics; language pedagogy

Dr Mary Noonan

Modern and contemporary French theatre; voice and the auditory; performance theory; French feminist theory; psychoanalysis; Modern and contemporary French poetry; Translation and creative practice

Professor Patrick O'Donovan

Modern and contemporary French literature; history of ideas, in particular political thought; critical theory; linguistics and literature
Dr Hannah Silvester Translation Studies; audiovisual translation; subtitling; translating linguistic variation, French banlieue cinema; subtitler working practices and conditions; AVT research methodology.

Dr Caroline Williamson Sinalo

Francophone Africa, peace, conflict and genocide, trauma, women’s and gender studies, translation and minority languages, discourse and narrative studies 

Research Seminars 22-23

French Department Research Seminar Series 2022-23


Semester 1

  •  2 November 2022

4pm 1.24 ORBs

Patrick O’Donovan, UCC: ‘Proust’s House of Fiction: A Centenary Perspective’

  •  16 November 2022

4pm 1.24

Loic Bourdeau, Maynooth University: ‘The Power of Netflix in France’

  •  Friday 25 November 2022

Mary Ryan Room

Launch of Memory, Mobility, and Material Culture edited by Chiara Giuliani and Kate Hodgson. In collaboration with the Memory and Uses of the Past Cluster.

  •  7 December 2022


Annie Ernaux – a celebration!


Semester 2

  •  23 February 2023

Barry Nevin, TUD, “Reassessing directorial authorship in French cinema’s Tradition of Quality”

  •  February 2023

Launch of Representing Gender-Based Violence: Global Perspectives, in collaboration with the Violence, Conflict and Gender research cluster

  •  May 2023

Postgraduate presentation day

  •  Date TBC

Muriam Haleh Davis, UC Santa Cruz,

Research Students

We can offer doctoral and research masters supervision across the breadth of research interests represented in the Department. As part of a vibrant School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, we can also offer co-supervision in interdisciplinary and cross-cultural projects in areas including conflict studies; memory studies; translation studies; creative practice; comparative literature and culture; film, photography and visual culture; and critical theory. These themes are linked to the School’s Centre for Advanced Studies in Languages and Cultures (CASiLaC) which supports interdisciplinary co-operation and provides a framework for cross-school collaboration.

Our doctoral students are also supported in their graduate education, research training and career development by the Graduate School of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

We invite prospective doctoral candidates for a PhD in French or a PhD in Applied Linguistics. In the case of the PhD French, candidates will normally have a first- or an upper-second-class degree in French or in the French component of their degree. Prospective candidates should consult the department’s areas of research expertise, select a potential research supervisor and direct initial enquiries to this member of staff. Candidates will then be asked to provide a full CV and a research proposal.

Funding Opportunitites

PhD candidates will be encouraged to apply to a number of funding sources, including the following:

UCC Excellence Scholarships

UCC offers 11 PhD Excellence Scholarships each year to candidates who intend to start a PhD in the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

The scholarships cover EU tuition fees and are tenable for the duration of the PhD (3 years). The scholarships are open to EU and non-EU applicants. 

Irish Research Council (IRC) Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme

This award offers a contribution to fees (including non-EU fees) up to a maximum of €5750, a stipend of €16,000 per annum, and eligible direct research expenses of €2250 per annum.

National University of Ireland Travelling Studentship

These doctoral studentships are designed to enable students registered in a constituent university of the National University of Ireland to undertake postgraduate research abroad or to spend substantial research periods overseas as part of their doctoral studies. In 2020, the Studentship offers an annual stipend of €16,000 and a contribution towards fees up to a maximum of €8000 per annum, where appropriate.


We welcome PhD applications that are co-supervised with a European partner university.

Postdoctoral Funding

The Department of French has hosted a number of Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellows funded by the Irish Research Council who have gone on to take up academic positions. We particularly welcome applications from Early Career Researchers interested in working with us through funding schemes such as the Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship or the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions research fellowship.

Current PhD Students and Recent PhD Graduates

Louisa Esther Mugabo is pursuing a PhD in the French and Spanish Departments. She previously completed two BAs in Political Science and African Studies and a Joint MA in International Journalism, where she specialised in Conflict and War Reporting with a focus on Africa's Great Lakes region. She is now working on a project which studies and theorises the phenomenon of exile journalism in times of deteriorating global press freedom and an increasing number of exiled journalists worldwide. Through interviews with exiled journalists from East Africa and Latin America, she aims to identify challenges and changes in journalistic norms, conventions, practices, and organisational structures imposed by exile.

Catherine Burke is currently completing her PhD dissertation with the Department of French at UCC. An IRC and Fulbright Scholar, her work focuses on the reception of Homer in twentieth-century French literature. With her background in comparative literature and the classical tradition, she examines the rich intertextual relationship between Homer and French writers of the twentieth-century, and its impact on notions of exile and otherness. 

Sevita Caseres is currently doing a PhD in the French Department. She completed a BA and MA in Translation Studies at the University of Geneva, where she specialised in audiovisual translation and more specifically subtitling. She is currently working on a comparative analysis of interlingual subtitling between French and English. Her research aims to examine and delineate work practices and communication in the area of professional and amateur subtitling (also known as fansubbing), through online ethnography and non-participant observation.

Nesreen Almohammade is working on a project focusing on ‘The Study Abroad experience: Perspectives from Saudi learners of English’, especially in relation to the influence of gender identity on international student lives abroad. The research provides insight into the challenges of adjusting to a new life abroad, and has implications for educators especially involved in pre-departure programs. Her research interests include second language teaching and learning, especially English language learning in a study abroad context, and communication strategies in second language acquisition.

Junming Chen is working on a project which examines the implementation of a task-based language teaching (TBLT) program in the study abroad context of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages. His research interests lie in second language acquisition with particular reference to Chinese and English language acquisition, TBLT research and its implementation with a focus on spoken language, as well as study abroad research in the context of Chinese language acquisition.

Ciara Grant is working on a project which explores the formation of group identities and the positioning of ‘Irishness’ in computer-mediated discourse surrounding the repeal of the Eighth Amendment in Ireland. Her research interests extend to computer-mediated discourse, language and identity, sociolinguistics, trolling, and social media.

Mo Na is a lecturer from China. Her project focuses language transfer in second language acquisition. Her research interests include second language acquisition (language transfer), multilingualism, sociolinguistics, translation, and language education. She has published a textbook, College English Vocabulary, with Shanghai Jiao Tong University Press (2015), along with a number of articles: ‘On College English teaching – A model of knowledge building from theory to practice’ Overseas English (2016); ‘Research on teaching of College English reading with pleasure. Reading of Krashen’s Input Hypothesis’ Journal of Wuzhou University (2017); ‘Designing a micro lecture of English absolute constructions from the perspective of enabling of POA’ Journal of Hezhou University (2019).

Oliver O’Hanlon

My research examines how Ireland was reported in the French press at times of troubles during the twentieth-century and how the narrative changed over this period. Central to my research is the mythic figure of the 'Grand Reporter'. In the French press, the Grand Reporter is a respected journalist who is sent to report on the latest big news story whether it is in the regions of France or in a war zone around the world. The working title of my thesis is "As Others See Us: The French Grand Reporter on the Island of Ireland in the 20th century". 

Martin Plachetka is working on a dissertation project based on a cross-country comparison of minority/heritage language use trends; language rights and recognition; cultural and language transmission, language maintenance and loss; migration impacts on language; language and social stigma; and identity enactment through language. His research interests are in the enactment of identity through the use of language, external impacts on language choice, ethnolinguistics, sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology focusing on minorities and minority languages. 

Ning Yang is working on a research project in second language acquisition which explores conversation interaction between native speakers and non-native speakers of Chinese. The project examines linguistic and interactional modifications, negotiation of meaning, and how to interactional performance can be maximised for acquisition benefit.

Recent PhD Graduates

Dr Anne Marie Devlin 2012

The impact of learning context on the acquisition of sociopragmatic variation in non-native speaker teachers of English

Dr Julia Jensen 2015

Study abroad and complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF) development: A longitudinal investigation of French and Chinese learners of L2 English

Dr Wejdan Alsadi 2016

A multimodal analysis of rhetorical devices used for meaning-making and humour in Saudi media cartoons

Dr Aisha Alsubhi 2016

Gender and metadiscourse in British and Saudi newspaper column writing: Male/female and native/non-native differences in language use 

Dr Talal Alghizzi 2017

Complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF) development in L2 writing: The effects of proficiency level, learning environment, text type, and time among Saudi EFL learners

Dr Annarita Magliacane 2017

Sociopragmatic development in study abroad contexts: The role of learner status in use of second language pragmatic markers

Dr Martina McCarthy 2018

Mapping pragmatic competence to the CEFR: A cross-sectional study of L2 English requests

Dr Arwa Alsufyan 2019

Study abroad and identity: A longitudinal study of Saudi female learners of English in Ireland

Roxane Paire

Le Théâtre migrant ou la dimension transculturelle des dramaturgies de Marie NDiaye et Abla Farhoud.

Jennifer Browne

Toleration and pluralism in absolutist France: a historical and critical commentary of Pierre Bayle’s France Toute Catholique.

Paula O'Donovan

Language Policy and Planning and Immigration of Allophones to Canada and Québec.

Dorota Rzycka

Dans le prisme de la belgitude: l’analyse des espaces poétiques chez Verhaeren et Brel

Sarah Hayden

 'Intimate Irritant': Constructions of Futurist, Dada and Surrealist Artisthood in the Work of Mina Loy.

Angela OFlaherty

Feminine Practices of Writing War in Works by Charlotte Delbo, Marguerite Duras and Anna Langfus.

Marie-Louise Theuerkauf

The Celtic background of the Tristan legend: the case of Tochmarc Emire

Nathalie de Thibault

Research on Colette's influence on Anglophone writers, such as Virginia Woolf, and comparisons in their work

Margot Spencer

A Problematic Approach to the Methodology of Court and Community Interpreting in the Context of Recent Demographic Shift in Ireland

Dariusz Wawak

Jeanna Ni Riordain

The contribution of Victor Hugo to the liberation, emancipation, and changing perceptions of women in 19th century French society.

Mary Louise Edwards

Sartre and Flaubert


Research Seminars 21-22

Friday 26 November at 11:30

talk by Charles Ngwena, from the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, organized by UCC’s research cluster on Violence, Conflict and Gender, in the Centre for Advanced Studies in Languages and Cultures (CASiLaC), UCC in partnership with the Women Studies MA, UCC.

African ‘transgender’, resisting the public secret and precarity

Friday October 29th, 16:00

Madan Sara: Pouvwa Fanm Ayisyen (The Power of Haitian Women). A documentary film by Etant Dupain.

Online screening and Q&A with the film's editors and community activists and Dr Kate Hodgson (UCC Department of French).

Thursday October 21st, 16:00-17:00

 Dr Laura O’Brien, Northumbria University, presenting:

 "To Reach and Instruct the Public” French Film and the 1948 Centenary of  Revolution and Abolition

Research Seminars 20-21

Semester 2

15 April 2021

Dr Rachel Gillett (University of Utrecht)

Dr Rachel Anne Gillett will present her new book At Home in Our Sounds: Music, Race, and Cultural Politics in Interwar Paris

 11 February 2021

Anaïs Nony (UCC French Department)

 Semester 1

4-5pm, 5 November 2020

Susie Cronin, PhD University of Cambridge

Can we (still) speak of a ‘French Digital Literature?’

This presentation explores the conditions of emergence of digital and computer-assisted literatures in the French context. Noting the importance of exhibitions in particular in contributing to the development of digital works and aesthetics, the presentation explores what offerings and concessions are there in considering the emergence and elaboration of such literatures through an approximate national frame.

10-11am 8 December

Nathalie Ségeral (French and Francophone Studies, Sydney University)

Gender-Based Violence in the Pandemic and its Media Coverage: Who Gets to Be Represented?

1-2pm December 15

Sahla Aroussi (Global Security Challenges, Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds)

Gender in international security.

Department of French

Room 1.22 Block A, First Floor, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork