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The Department of Languages and Cultures is committed to high level research in a wide range of language-based cultural studies. We explore the global regions where the languages we teach are spoken, be it Chinese, French, German or Spanish. We consider the interrelationship of cultures in the formation, reconfiguration and representation of identities. 87.5% of our publications submitted to the 2021 Research Excellence exercise (REF 2021) for Area Studies were recognised as 3* and 4*, internationally excellent and world leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

Research Areas

While our research is defined in terms of language culture and location, the research topics we are engaged in are very wide-ranging, with an emphasis on historical, cultural and political developments in the societies living in these regions. Our research team is forward-looking and interdisciplinary, encouraging connections with the arts, humanities, social sciences and beyond. The Department actively supports the development of international research networks. At present we are involved in collaborative projects with partners in Europe, the French and Hispanic Caribbean, Francophone Africa, Asia and North America.

French and Francophone Studies

The Department has research specialisms across Francophone Area Studies, and has developed particular strengths in French and francophone literatures, popular cultures, postcolonial movements and identity politics. Beyond Europe we specialise in French speaking regions of Africa, North America and the Caribbean. The Department offers an enriching environment for the development of new and innovative research projects and we are involved in international collaborative projects in Senegal, Quebec and Belgium. We are happy to provide research supervision at all levels of postgraduate study in French and Francophone historical, postcolonial, migrant, popular and literary cultures from the 19th century to the present day.

Hispanic and Iberian Studies

In addition to providing research supervision across a range of historical, political and cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world, staff in the Spanish and Hispano-American team offer our research students particular expertise in Cuban studies based on their own fieldwork and academic research conducted in the Hispanic Caribbean. Particular areas of interest include contemporary Cuban politics, representations of women and international relations. We are also able to offer supervision in a range of cultural and literary fields of Latin American studies, Iberian cultural and political studies, Spanish literary culture in 19th century, and more broadly politics and literature in peninsular Spain.

German Studies and Chinese Studies

Research in German encompasses memory studies, post reunification cultural politics, oral history and criminality in East Germany. Subjects range from resistance to dictatorships and media censorship to contemporary film and literature. Supervision is offered on topics across the 20th and 21st centuries.

As well as exploring contemporary Chinese society and sociolinguistics, research in the Department focuses on Chinese socioeconomics with particular reference to sports sociology, policies and power dynamics.

Entry Months

These Research Degrees usually commence annually in October, February and May.


For further details on opportunities for research in the Department of Languages and Cultures please contact Dr Brenda Garvey. Informal enquiries are welcome.