Dr Joseph McGonagle

Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies in the French-speaking World

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Research interests

My research interests to date have centred upon two main areas: representations of ethnicity in contemporary French and Francophone visual culture, and the visual representation of Franco-Algerian relations.

My PhD thesis, 'Representations of Ethnicity in French Film and Photography since the 1980s' (Manchester, 2006), analysed in detail a series of paradigmatic case studies across a wide range of genres that depicted important ethnic groups within France. Chapters focused in particular on representations in French film and photography of national identity, the city and inhabitants of Marseille, Jewishness in France, and women of Algerian origin. After updating and extending this research, my monograph Representing Ethnicity in Contemporary French Visual Culture was published by Manchester University Press in 2017.

In January 2008 my project 'Post-Colonial Negotiations: Visualising the Franco-Algerian Relationship in the Post-War Period' was awarded £164,294 by the AHRC, for which I was Principal Investigator. My Co-Investigator was Dr Edward Welch at Durham University.

This project considered how colonial and post-colonial relations between France and Algeria have been represented since the outbreak of the Algerian War (1954–62), and tracked the shifting ways in which the idea or myth of 'Algeria' has been constructed, portrayed and understood in France during that time. The project's central hypothesis was that visual modes of representation in particular (such as film, video, photography and television) have played a crucial role in the mediation of the Franco-Algerian relationship. It examined the role played by the visual image in constructing and contesting dominant modes of understanding both during and after decolonisation, and did so by investigating a range of material from both within and outside mass visual media.

The project, which began in September 2008 and ended in December 2011, comprised three main outputs: a special issue entitled 'France and Algeria in Contemporary Visual Culture' of Modern and Contemporary France in 2011, the exhibition 'New Cartographies: Algeria-France-UK' held at Cornerhouse during 8 April – 5 June 2011, and a co-authored monograph, Contesting Views: The Visual Economy of France and Algeria, published by Liverpool University Press in 2013.


Research and projects

No current projects are available for public display