Research in Comparative Literatures and Cultures builds on two emerging areas which the School of Modern Languages has actively encouraged and developed in recent years: transnational studies and intermediality. By introducing new objects of study and innovative methodologies, we have forged interdisciplinary connections in and beyond the arts and social sciences via themes of global concern, from mental health to climate change.
Transnational studies emphasise cultural difference and diversity yet also interconnectedness and mutual influence. We explore cultural contact, migration and transfer within and beyond Europe in uneven colonial, pre-colonial, and postcolonial contexts, both vertically and transversally, while questioning persistent narratives of ‘West’ and ‘East’ or ‘North’ and ‘South’.
Intermedial studies build on our excellence in word and image studies, film, and theatre, but now also include auditory culture and the study of such cultural artefacts as video games, graphic novels, manga, the media, landscape design, and artwork from video installation to graffiti.
At the same time we continue to explore how languages evolve in society, how the materiality of discursive genres (poetic form, ego documents and political rhetoric) shapes the message, and how literary and discursive practices interact with social, political and professional contexts. Formal literary analysis and research in sociolinguistics are enhanced by the history of material and digital texts, studies in reception and adaptation, and studies in translation.
- Transcultural encounters (within and beyond Europe; colonial, pre-colonial, post-colonial)
- Intermediality (word and image studies, film, auditory culture, theatre, video games, graphic novels, manga, art in galleries, on the street and online, the media)
- Material and digital texts (from medieval manuscripts to contemporary photobooks)
- Translation, adaptation and reception
- Literary, cultural, intellectual, social and political histories (including gender and sexuality, race, mental health, the environment, sport, heritage, political parties, intellectuals, religion, and integration policy)
- Linguistics and Language Variation (sociolinguistic projects on local and transnational language varieties, with a focus on minority languages)
- Connecting research and practice (exploring co-production with artists, industries and institutions)
We invite PhD projects in all these areas. For further details on specific staff research expertise, please visit the People page. For funding opportunities please consult the Faculty's website. Note also the opportunities presented by the South, West, and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (https://www.sww-ahdtp.ac.uk/), which now permits fully-funded applications from overseas students.
Recent funded research projects:
- Creative Lives of African Universities (ERC Starting Grant), 2021-2026. Dr Ruth Bush.
- Italian Cinema Audiences, 1945-60; STUDIOTEC: Film Studios: Infrastructure, Culture, Innovation in Britain, France, Germany and Italy, 1930-60, (European Research Council Advanced Grant), 2020-2024. Professor Catherine O’Rawe, Co-I (PI: Professor Sarah Street).
- The Michael Hamburger Archive: Mediating European Literature. AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with the British Library, 2020-2023. Dr Stefan Davies and Dr Rebecca Kosick.
- Reimagining the Pacific: Images of the Ocean in Chile and Peru, c.1960 to the Present (AHRC Leadership Fellowship), 2020-2022. Dr Paul Merchant.
- Using Critical Data Comics to Explore Digital Literacies and Social Inclusion in Brazil. UoB ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Impact Project Award, 2020-2022. Dr Edward King
- Surveilling the Stage: Censorship and Subjectivity in the Age of the Revolution (Leverhulme Research Fellowship), 2020-2021. Dr Clare Siviter.
- Sociolinguistic Perspectives of Catalan in France (British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant), 2019-2021. Dr James Hawkey.
- Theatre on the Move in Times of Conflict (1750-1850) (BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant), 2019-2020. Dr Clare Siviter.
- Multilingual Multimedia: Artists' Books in Cuba and the United States (Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship, British Library), 2019-2020. Dr Rebecca Kosick.
- Narratives and the Grapevine: New Modes for Literature and Storytelling. UoB Brigstow Seedcorn Funding, 2019-2020: Dr Edward King (with Professor Madhu Krishnan).
- Creative Writing and Translation for Peace (AHRC), 2019-2020. Dr Ruth Bush, Co-I (PI: Professor Madhu Krishnan).
- A Long History of German Exile Literature, 1790–1955 (Leverhulme Trust Major Research Grant), 2017-1019. Dr Steffan Davies.
- European Migration, Language Policy and Small States (British Academy), 2017-18 Dr James Hawkey.
- Popular Print and Reading Cultures in Francophone Africa (AHRC), 2016-2018. Dr Ruth Bush.
Research in the faculty
Our research forms part of the overall research activities and strategies of the Faculty of Arts.