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Personal profile


I am a Senior Lecturer in French Cultural Studies, at the University of Manchester since 2002. While my teaching specialism broadly covers contemporary French culture, history and politics (with forays into the 19th century and the colonial period), my research is more narrowly focused on popular music in France since the 1960s. Across both my teaching and research, I am interested in the cultural representation of ethnicity, gender, generation and other ‘identities’, and in issues of prestige and taste. My two monographs, Protest Music in France (2009) and Dalida. Mythe et Mémoire (2020) both examine French popular music from the complementary perspectives of ‘alternative’ and ‘mainstream’ culture, production and reception, performance and music genre, whiteness and exoticism. Tout commence par des chansons


  • PhD (The University of Southampton, 2003)
  • PGCE (Homerton College, Cambridge, 1998)
  • MA in French as Foreign Language (Université d'Aix-en-Provence, 1998)
  • MA in English Studies (Université de Rouen, 1997)


PhD students:

I welcome enquiries for postgraduate supervision in the broad areas of French and francophone popular music and contemporary culture (performance and identity; audience reception; music and media; cultural policy; music industry; film and music...).

I have successfully co-supervised these PhD students:

2019-22: Kate Goodson-Walker (The myth of Cupid and Psyche in 17th century French court ballet)

2017-20: Adi Bharat (Representations of Jewish-Muslim relations in contemporary France)

2017-20: Marco Biasioli (Russian 'indi' rock music). 

2018-20: Amelie Mons (The Experience of the Real in Jan Fabre's and Romeo Castellucci's theatres)

2014-17: Rebecca Johnson (The Clash of Articulations: Intersectional Identity in post-9/11 Britain, Spain and France)

2014-17: Henry Jones (Amateur translations into French of 'British cities' narratives on Wikipedia)

2011-14: Luciana Kaross (The Translation of Morrissey's song lyrics into Brazilian Portuguese)

2003-07: Kate Roy (Cartographies of Identity: Co-ordinates of 'East' and 'West' in the works of Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Leïla Sebbar).

Research interests

I am a French popular music specialist, with research interests in song production and audience reception, gender and body performance, national identity and race/ethnicity, as well as taste, success, protest and nostalgia. My first monograph, Protest Music in France  (Ashgate, 2009) examined France's 'alternative' music culture in the period 1990-2009, focusing on the ways in which artists, producers and audiences shaped a 'non-mainstream' identity for themselves. Case-studies focused on the artists Zebda, Tetes Raides and Manu Chao, and the book won the 2011 IASPM prize for Best Anglophone Monograph (you can read the intro here).

Since then, I have become particularly interested in the meaning of 'mainstream' popular music in France, and the material and symbolic conditions that shape commercial success. My second monograph, Dalida. Mythe et memoire (Marseille: Le Mot et le reste, 2020) focused on the career of France's best-selling female singer Dalida (1933-1987). It examined the many shifts in the production and performance of her music, in France since 1956, and the articulation of her success to perceived Mediterranean exoticism, Arabness, personal tragedy, gay-friendliness and 'ringardise'. This book was featured in a number of high-profile French media outlets (France Inter, Europe 1, France 2, national and regional press).  

My next research projects are two-fold, with overlap around issues of exoticism and humour: the representation of Afro-Caribbean identities in 1980s French pop; children's popular music in France and Europe. 

Alongside these solo projects, I am the editor and co-editor of several collective volumes, including: Chanson et Performance (L'Harmattan, 2012); with Catherine Strong,  Death and the Rock Star (Ashgate, 2015; Chapter 1 is available to read here: The Great Gig in the Sky); with Nanette de Jong, the special issue 'Music and Magic' of Popular Music, 2019, 38/1; with Isabelle Marc, a forthcoming special issue of Volume! on the 'feminisation' of French popular music since 2000. 

I will be delighted to hear from students with enquiries about postgraduate supervision, on any topic relating to French and Francophone popular music and contemporary culture. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth

External positions

French Studies Programme External Examiner, The University of Sheffield

Sep 2016Jun 2020


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