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Modern European Histories and Cultures – University of Reading

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Modern European Histories and Cultures

Theme leaders

Overview of theme

Modern European Histories and Cultures develops a number of significant strengths within the Schools of Languages and European Studies, Humanities, and Arts and Communication Design. The aims of Modern European Histories and Cultures are to:

  • stimulate and enhance research in the area through a programme of cross-departmental and disciplinary workshops and seminars;
  • encourage and facilitate the development of joint research grant proposals;
  • give focus and impetus to postgraduate recruitment.

The theme builds on the fact that Reading probably has the largest concentration of French and Italian history specialists in the UK, many of whom are located in our modern languages departments. See our opportunities available to Modern Languages postgraduate research students and the list of  research centres in the School, some joint with the Department of History.

The theme links a family of interrelated research topics in the participating departments. These cluster into four overlapping strands, all of which involve substantial connections between historical and cultural studies, as well as between studies of different countries.

Theme topics

Nation and identity

National identity and:

  • cinema and the visual arts, literature and language
  • education
  • the colonial 'other'

Jewish identity within Europe

Gender, childhood, domestic space and national politics


  • language
  • identity
  • memory

Travel and exile

  • Exile, displacement and writing in early modern France
  • Francophone Indian Ocean: diasporas, migrations and identities
  • Polish Drama: emigration deportation and exile
  • Cross-Channel travellers and artists in the 19th centuary
  • Mapping France: cartography and cartographers

The Church, religion and the State

  • France: Old Regime and Revolution attitudes towards the Clergy
  • Italy: religion and education
  • Germany: Church policy and ethnic identity 1920 to 1990

Leadership, regimes, institutions

  • Italy: cults of Garibaldi and Mussolini
  • France: Gaullism
  • inventing a new regime: institutional reforms in 18th centuary France
  • European integration

Schools currently involved

School of Languages and European Studies (SLES)

School of Humanities

School of Arts and Communication Design

Research Centres in the School of Humanities and SLES


Things to do now

  • See forthcoming events

Contact a research theme leader:

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