Departmental News

Congratulations to this year's finalists!

Finalists 2012

Noble Lecture 2012

Professor Katharine Conley, Darmouth College: 'Surrealist Ghostliness in the Twentieth Century'
5pm, Thursday 1st March 2012
Gavin de Beer Lecture Theatre, Room G04, Anatomy Building, Gower Street, UCL, WC1E 6BT
All welcome.
The lecture is generously funded by former UCL student Peter Noble.


Inaugural Lecture - Philippe Marlière20 March 2012

UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building UCL - 6.30pm

Professor Philippe Marlière (SELCS, Department of French)

Philippe Marlière was educated in France. He was a researcher in political science for the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), and a lecturer at the University of Lille. He has a PhD from the European University Institute (Florence). In 2007, he was awarded the Marcel Liebman Chair in political science by the Université Libre de Bruxelles. His main publications are about the French Socialist Party, French politics and European social democracy.

Political Democracy or Beauty Contest?
The Parti Socialiste Primary for the 2012 Presidential Election in France

In October 2011, the French Parti Socialiste organised a primary election to choose the party’s candidate for the forthcoming 2012 presidential contest. This was an ‘open’ vote along the lines of the American model. It was presented by its proponents as a ‘democratic’ device to make the PS ‘more electable’ and ‘closer to the people’. It was also hoped that the PS would come up with an undisputed candidate. Philippe Marlière argues that far from strengthening the party, the primary may have weakened it. The primary makes party activists largely irrelevant, and boosts the influence of the media and pollsters. This has in turn depoliticised debates and aggravated the drift toward the personalisation of power, at the heart of the institutions of the 5th Republic.

The event is free and open to all but pre-registration is required.  Please click on the following link to register:

Please click here for a link to a recording of the lecture.


Noble Lecture 2011

Jean-Michel Rabaté: 'Samuel Beckett and Jean Genet, a productive parallax'

Cruciform Theatre 2, at 5 pm on Thursday 8 December.

All welcome. 


Congratulations to our 2011 finalists! A few of them are pictured below.

Graduation Day 2011


UCL French hosted a conference in honour of Professor Celia Britton to mark her retirement at the end of this academic year.  The event, organized by Professor Mairéad Hanrahan (UCL), Professor Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool) and Professor Martin Munro (Florida State University), attracted a large audience and was a great success.

Graduation Day 2011


We are delighted to announce that Joanne Brueton (MA, 2010) has been awarded third prize in the most recent Gapper Postgraduate Essay prize awarded annually by the Society for French Studies. Joanne's essay dealt with the topic:

'I have discovered that all human unhappiness comes from just one thing: the inability to remain at rest, in a room." In the light of this remark by Pascal, discuss the theme of immobility in two or more films or texts you have studied for this course.' 

Warm congratulations to Joanne for this impressive achievement. Her success follows close on the heels of Annie Tate-Harte's success in the Undergraduate competition last year, where she was runner-up. Joanne is the fifth student from UCL to feature on one of the Gapper prize lists.


Warm congratulations to Hannah Mowat (French with Film, 2009), who has won the prestigious Studies in French Cinema undergraduate prize for an essay she wrote for the Histoires(s) du cinéma course taken in her Final Year. This prize is awarded for an original essay in English on any aspect of French or Francophone cinema. It consists of £100 cash, and free admission to the Studies in French Cinema annual conference in the year following the award.



On Tuesday 23 March 2010, the following Noble Lecture was delivered in French by Raphaëlle Branche (from Université de Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne):


Raphaëlle Branche is senior lecturer of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Paris-1-Panthéon-Sorbonne. She is a junior member of the Institut Universitaire de France.


The Department of French is very pleased to announce its success in RAE 2008. 55% of its research was judged to be in the 4* or 3* category, "world-leading" and "internationally excellent" in terms of originality, significance and rigour. This consolidates its position as one of the leading French Departments in the UK, engaging in excellent research across all areas of French literature and culture.

To read more about UCL's RAE results


Our warmest congratulations to Clodagh Kinsella, who has won the 2008 Undergraduate Gapper Prize offered by the Society for French Studies for her essay entitled 'What is the specific contribution of poetry and/or fiction to the representation of painful experiences?'.

Clodagh was a finalist student in 2007-2008. She is the second student from UCL to win the Undergraduate Prize since its inception in 2000. Miriam Heywood, one of our postgraduate students, was the runner-up in the Postgraduate competition in 2005.

The R.H. Gapper prize is awarded by the Society for French Studies for an essay in English or French, of between 2,000 and 5,000 words, on any subject within the scope of French studies. The award is for outstanding academic merit at undergraduate level ( The award includes:

  • a cash prize of £250
  • expenses-paid travel to the next annual conference of the Society for French Studies
  • mention in the French Studies Bulletin and on the Society for French Studies website
  • consideration by the Editorial Panel of the French Studies Bulletin.