I began my academic career doing doctoral research in the early 1990s at the Department of French Studies at the University of Birmingham while working there as a graduate teaching assistant. My longstanding interests in French women's writing and feminist theory led me to do my PhD on the literature and thought of Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986). I researched Beauvoir's autobiographical and philosophical writing, with a particular focus on testimonial writing and how Beauvoir became 'author-ised' as a woman intellectual and witness to much of twentieth century history. I was awarded my PhD in French Studies in 1997 from the University of Birmingham and a revised and extended version of my PhD thesis was published by Cambridge University Press in 1999 as Simone de Beauvoir, Gender and Testimony. I have subsequently worked across the range of Beauvoir's literary and philosophical writings and in related areas.
I subsequently developed my interests in French and francophone cultural memory by doing research into the literary and filmic representation of the Holocaust and, in particular, the work of the Buchenwald Communist francophone deportee, Jorge Semprún (1923-2011). I continue to do research on Simone de Beauvoir's literary and philosophical writings in parallel with developing my broader interests in the French post war period.
2018 - : Professor Emeritus of Modern French Literature and Thought, University of Manchester
2015 - 2018: Professor of Modern French Literature and Thought, University of Manchester
2005 - 2015: Senior Lecturer in French, University of Manchester
2000 - 2005: Lecturer in French, University of Manchester
1995 - 2000: Lecturer in French, University of Salford