Dr Hannah Grayson


French Stirling

Dr Hannah Grayson

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About me

I joined Stirling in January 2019 as Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies, having previously taught at Durham and Warwick. My research examines textual responses to violence and instability in the Francophone world. Primarily this work is concerned with how writers of fiction explore the contexts and aftermaths of different kinds of extreme events. The novels I look at deal with colonialism, dictatorship, epidemics, conflict and genocide. I am especially interested in depictions of survival, and how we might understand notions of vulnerability and strength against pervasive discourses of resilience. These questions come together in my current project on débrouillardise (a kind of wily resourcefulness) in postcolonial novels.

The other main branch of my research is in written testimonies. I study personal stories that emerge from experiences of disaster and the process of constructing those narratives in its wake. From 2016-2018 I worked on an AHRC-funded project called Rwandan Stories of Change. I collated and researched stories of people who lived through the Genocide against the Tutsi, focusing on themes of community, recovery and growth. These are published in a volume of translated testimonies After the Genocide in Rwanda (I.B.Tauris, 2019). I am especially interested in how testimonies are embedded in multiple overlapping narratives that are social, cultural and political. This exploration of interrelating discourses was the basis of Rwanda since 1994: Stories of Change (Liverpool University Press, 2019), a volume of interdisciplinary essays on Rwanda’s transformations over the past 25 years.

I teach across all years of our undergraduate programme at Stirling, acting as module coordinator for FREU9A1, FREU9A2, FREU9CT and LANU9LE. I am a co-director of Postcolonial Studies at Stirling and a member of the Extreme Events research programme. Beyond the university, I sit on the organising committees for two international research groups: Resilio and RwandaMap 2020.

Event / Presentation

Languages of Disease in the Contemporary Francophone World
The social, cultural and intensely personal consequences of Covid-19 have reminded us that the humanities have an important role to play in making sense of disease. Building on recent studies into the language used to represent disease in modern metropolitan France, this project extends the scope of enquiry into the geographical zones, cultural and political contexts of the broader francosphère, where many of the world’s modern pandemics, including Ebola, HIV/AIDS and cholera, have had devastating effects. Taking account of current restrictions, this project will be formed of two connecting elements: structured online interviews conducted by the organisers with chosen experts in the field, followed by extended engagement and networking via an online workshop. This event received funding from the Institute of Modern Languages Research Regional Conference Grant Scheme.