Research Themes

Research at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) is at the forefront of contemporary modern-languages study. It is grouped into three distinct themes:

  • Mobilities and City Studies
  • Literary Studies, Cultural Translation and Multilingualism
  • Contemporary Politics and Critical Theory
Close up of the word "focus" in a dictionary

Research Themes

Research at the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP) is at the forefront of contemporary modern-languages study. It is grouped into three distinct themes:

  • Mobilities and City Studies
  • Literary Studies, Cultural Translation and Multilingualism
  • Contemporary Politics and Critical Theory

The University of London Institute in Paris occupies a unique position among the rich landscape of British research institutions. A centre of Franco-British academic and cultural exchange for over 100 years, research at ULIP benefits from both the diversity and richness of the University of London, to which we belong, and cultural and political life of the city of Paris, where we are located. Much of our work is inherently preoccupied with projects and perspectives that build upon the multilingual and transnational nature of our institution and its history. 

At ULIP, we take comparative and connected approaches that situate France and the francophone world in the context of both local diversity and wider global dynamics. ULIP researchers’ innovative work with different communities in Paris, for example, takes new research developments out into the public domain and back into the contemporary city in which they were produced. ULIP also works with a wide range of partners – including academic, governmental and cultural institutions – on different short and long-term projects that look to extend the impact of our research upon policy and society.  

This stimulating environment is supported by ULIP’s growing community of postgraduate students and by regular academic visitors. A programme of lively and thought-provoking research seminars and events – many held in collaboration with other Paris- and London-based research institutions – takes place throughout the year. 

Research at ULIP is grouped into three distinct themes:

Mobilities and City Studies

From history, both contemporary and colonial, to international politics and contemporary cultural production, our faculty explores the spaces where urban culture meets the migration of people and goods. Charlotte Legg’s work, for example, concentrates on settler colonialism, while Anna-Louise Milne’s research has focused on migrant neighbourhoods in Paris and includes the work of the Paris Centre for Migrant Writing and Expression and a new network entitled Localities of Welcome extending to particular concentrations of contemporary migration across Europe in partnership with Goldsmiths University of London. Forthcoming publications include Charlotte Legg’s The New White Race: Settler Colonialism and the Press in French Algeria, 1860-1914 (University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming 2020/2021) and Anna-Louise Milne’s chapter, ‘A New Politics of Solidarity’ in The New Internationalists, (Goldsmiths/MIT, 2020).

Literary Studies, Cultural Translation and Multilingualism

ULIP’s research is always crossing boundaries to investigate subjects including plurilingualism in situations of superdiversity, postcolonial infractions and innovations in the languages of Empire, and language practices and the impact of linguistic and literary creativity on the social and political transformation of our societies. Catriona MacLeod works on contemporary graphic novels and their varied representations of women, trauma, and displacement; her monograph, Invisible Presence: The Representation of Women in French-Language Comics, will be out in 2021 (Intellect). Joanne Brueton focuses on 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature, particularly Jean Genet; her book, Geometry and Jean Genet: Shaping the Subject, will be published in 2021 (Legenda). Geoffrey Roger's forthcoming critical edition of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles explores this unique document of French usage at the court of Philip III of Burgundy. Anna-Louise Milne and Russell Williams offer a new mapping of French fictional writing since the 1980s in their collective volume Contemporary Fiction in French (CUP, 2020). 

Contemporary Politics and Critical Theory

Drawing on the rich resources of French and international critical theory, ULIP’s research focuses on the origins, forms and responses to political, social and environmental crises. Key questions addressed by Eugene Brennan and Edouard Morena include non-state actors’ responses to the climate crisis and their shaping of the climate debate; how various stakeholders are improvising and innovating in response to the matrix of political crises shaping contemporary urban life; and new currents in contemporary critical theory and political philosophy that can help us understand, and create connections between, a wide range of unfolding social movements. 

Eugene Brennan’s research is grounded in 20th-century French thought, with a specialism in the work and ongoing critical influence of Georges Bataille, as well as new research on contemporary crisis theory. His recent and forthcoming publications include ‘The Politics of Religious Fervour: New Considerations on Georges Bataille and Religion’ (Theory, Culture & Society, 2017), ‘The Politics of Excess and Restraint: Reading Bataille Alongside and Against Accelerationism’ (in Georges Bataille and Contemporary Thought, 2017) and a forthcoming article in Theory & Event (2021). Drawing on critical approaches to global environmental politics and critical urban studies, Edouard Morena’s current research focuses on elite networks in international climate politics. His recent publications include co-editing the book, Just Transitions: Social Justice in the Shift Towards a Low-Carbon World (Pluto Press, 2020) and articles on climate philanthropy and international climate negotiations in International Politics (forthcoming, 2020).