Dr Claire Launchbury

Contact details

Dr Claire Launchbury
BA (Exeter); MPhil (NUI); PhD (London)
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in City Studies and Modern Languages
Institute of Modern Languages Research
Related institutes:
Institute of Historical Research
School of Advanced Study
IHR North Block Rm 252 (3rd floor, lower mezzanine) Senate House Malet Street London WC1E 7HU
020 7862 8765
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Cultural memory, Culture, Language and Literature (French), Literatures in a modern language, Music, Screen Studies
Research keywords:
French and Francophone Studies, City Studies, Lebanon, Cultural Memory, Theatre, Film, Music
Europe, Middle East
Summary of research interests and expertise:

I am Research Fellow in French and City Studies at the Institute of Modern Languages Research and the Institute of Historical Research (Centre for Metropolitan History). I serve on the School Research Committee and on the French subject panel of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.

I was previously Lecturer in French and Cultural Studies in the School of Humanities and Languages at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and held a visiting fellowship at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, University of London and at the Center for Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut. From 2011 to 2013, I held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in French at Leeds. While at Leeds, I was appointed Director of the Centre for French and Francophone Cultural Studies for 2012-13. Having studied music at Exeter University, I then continued my studies at University College Cork before undertaking my doctorate at Royal Holloway, University of London, which was awarded in 2009. My thesis investigated constructions of French cultural memory at the BBC during the Second World War through broadcasts of music, poetry and political programmes subsequently published as my first monograph, Music, Poetry, Propaganda: Constructing French Cultural Soundscapes at the BBC during the Second World War, in the Modern French Identities Series at Peter Lang in 2012. I was resident in Paris for several years and worked as a lectrice at the IUT Ville d'Avray and taught at Université Paris-Sorbonne.

My research concentrates on francophone cultures, expression and dissent in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Lebanon. I also work on metropolitan writers such as Duras, Genet, and on the relationship of poetry with the cityscape in Desnos, Soupault, Réda and Roubaud as well as retaining a more general interest in how ideas of music and the musical are expressed in and through literary production.

My current projects include a new monograph, Beirut and the Urban Memory Machine in the Cities and Cultures Series at Amsterdam University Press and with Charles Forsdick, I am co-editing 'Transnational French Studies' for Liverpool University Press. I am also co-editing a collection of essays entitled Urban Bridges, Global Capital(s): Trans-Mediterranean Francophonies co-edited with Megan MacDonald which works up papers from the seminar I co-ordinated at the American Comparative Literature Association at NYU in 2014. I am co-organising a conference on Airport Cultures at the IMLR in April 2016 and in collaboration with the Arab-British Centre, the Global Urban Studies Program at Michigan State University co-ordinating a major international conference on Beirut: Public Space and Utility at the IHR in July 2016. I am additionally developing two new projects. First, an investigation of postcapitalist theatre in Lebanon and second a major project which looks at francophone expressions of resistance, revolution and dissent across the Middle East.

Previously completed projects include a special issue of Contemporary French and Francophone Studies/Sites (Dec 2014) on Lebanon co-edited with Nayla Tamraz, which includes an interview with Khalil Joreige, original poems by Rayess Bek and Antoine Boulad as well as a photo-text by Leslie Hakim-Dowek. This special issue came out of the international colloquium 'War, Memory, Amnesia: Francophone Perspectives on postwar Lebanon' which I organised in Leeds in June 2013. I also edited a special issue of Journal of Romance Studies entitled 'Mutating Cities' with Cara Levey, which developed out of the seminar series I convened on Urban Palimpsests and the Archive. The collection brings together essays which look at Rome, London (via Céline), Havana, Luanda, and urban memorials in Argentina and Uruguay with an Afterword by Max Silverman.

Spoken Written
French Fluent Fluent
Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
01-Nov-2015 'Up and Down the Rue de Damas'


 in Tamraz, N. (ed.) Litterature, art et monde contemporaine: recits, histoire, memoire (Beirut: Presses de l'Univerisité Saint-Joseph, 2015), 171-183.

15-Jul-2015 Urban Bridges, Global Capital(s): Trans-Mediterranean Francophonies

Edited Book

 ed. with Megan McDonald (forthcoming).

01-Jan-2015 Beirut and the Urban Memory Machine


(Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming).

01-Dec-2014 Editors’ Introduction: War, Memory, Amnesia: Post-war Lebanon


Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, special issue 'War, Memory, Amnesia: Postwar Lebanon' vol 18, issue 5 (2014), pp. 457-461 (with Nayla Tamraz, Roger Celestin, Eliane DalMolin.)


01-Dec-2014 Staging Khiam: Documentary, Theatre And Archive In Postwar Lebanon


Contemporary French and Francophone Studies Vol 18, issue 5 (2014), pp. 514-522

01-Dec-2014 Introduction: Mutating Cities: Palimpsestic Traces in the Urban Context


Journal of Romance Studies, special issue 'Mutating Cities' ed. Claire Launchbury and Cara Levey, Vol 14, issue 3 (Winter 2014), pp.1-4 (with Cara Levey)

30-Aug-2014 Urban Inertia and dealing with the disappeared in postwar Beirut: A Perfect Day (2004) and Here Comes the Rain (2010)


in Donald, S. and Lindner, C. (ed.), Inert Cities: Globalization, Mobility and Interruption, London: I B Tauris, 2014, pp. 173–186.

01-Jun-2014 The Impossible Archive of Beirut


Francosphères Vol.3, (1) (June 2014), pp.173–186 special issue ‘Archiving the Postcolonial City’ ed. by David Murphy and Ferdinand de Jong.

01-Jan-2014 “Elle ne sera bientôt qu’une épave soudée à ses rochers”: Beaches, borders and the wreck of Beirut


in Fuggle, S. and Gledhill, N. (eds), La ligne d’écume : towards a new topography of the French beach, (London: Pavement Books, 2016), 157-174.

01-Jan-2013 Animating Memory: Ari Folman’s Waltz with Bashir


 in Concentrationary Memories: Totalitarian Terror and Cultural Resistance, ed. by Griselda Pollock and Max Silverman (London: I B Tauris, 2013), pp. 193–201.

02-Apr-2012 Music, Poetry, Propaganda: Constructing French Cultural Soundscapes at the BBC during the Second World War


 Oxford: Peter Lang, 2012.

02-Mar-2012 Transnational French Studies

Edited Book

 ed. with Charles Forsdick (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, forthcoming)

Cityscape, Soundscape, Timescale: Wartime London, Paris and the aural poetics of urban space


 Journal of Romance Studies 15 (3) (2015), 71-82

Consultancy & Media
Available for consultancy:
Media experience:
Back to top