Dr Fiona Barclay

Senior Lecturer

French Stirling

Dr Fiona Barclay

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About me

About me

After completing my first degree in French at the University of Glasgow, I gained an MSc in Marketing from the University of Strathclyde and worked for a number of years at the headquarters of a FTSE50 company, before returning to academia. I completed my PhD at the University of Glasgow, and came to Stirling in 2007.

My research interests lie in the aspects of postcolonial France which have emerged from France’s history in North Africa, and how these have been represented in literature and film. My work approaches the Mediterranean basin as a single transnational space marked by cultural exchanges and physical, colonial and postcolonial migration, which continues to be shaped by the traces of shared histories, and by individual and collective narratives of memory and identification. Areas of interest include:

  • Memory, trauma, and commemoration; 
  • Pied-noir history, myths, literature and film; 
  • Ghosts and the haunting traces of the colonial period; 
  • Contemporary exoticism and orientalism; 
  • Postcolonial feminism. 

I have published widely on the role of memory in French literary and cinematic representations of Algeria. My first monograph, Writing Postcolonial France, interrogates the ongoing process of decolonisation, and proposes that France – which since de Gaulle has frequently regarded itself as having turned the page of empire – has failed to come to terms with the end of its empire and is now haunted by the legacy of its colonial relationship with North Africa, and the ghostly traces which it has left on contemporary society. It examines the form assumed by the ghosts of the past in fiction from a range of genres (travel writing, detective fiction, life writing, historical fiction, women's writing) produced within metropolitan France. By viewing metropolitan France through the prism of its relationship with its former colonies in North Africa, the book maps the complexities of contemporary France as a postcolonial nation.    I was awarded an AHRC early career Leadership Fellowship (£250,000; 2018-2022) for a project entitled 'From colonisers to refugees: narratives and representations of the French settlers of Algeria'. It situates the 1962 repatriation of around a million European settlers, known as pieds-noirs, to France in the wider context of contemporary European and Mediterranean forced migrations, and examines the resulting implications for French society, culture, politics and identity. You can find out about the project at our website:


In 2022 I was awarded AHRC funding for Impact and Engagement (£100,000; 2022-23) for 'Remembering Empire', a project focused on memories of colonial Algeria.

My doctoral supervisees include Fraser McQueen (Immigration, race and religion in contemporary France, funded by the AHRC) and Dyhia Bia (The politics and aesthetics of post-independence African literature and theatre). Enquiries from prospective PhD students wanting to work in areas relating to postcolonial France and Algeria are warmly welcomed.

I am Honorary Secretary of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, and am a member of the Editorial Board of the Taylor & Francis journal, Modern & Contemporary France.

Research (3)

Postcolonial France; North Africa; contemporary French literature and film; pieds-noirs; history and memory; migration.


From colonisers to refugees: narratives and representations of the French settlers of Algeria
PI: Dr Fiona Barclay
Funded by: Arts and Humanities Research Council

Conference: Narratives of Forced Migration in the 20th and 21st Centuries
PI: Dr Fiona Barclay
Funded by: Delegates - Conferences

Carnegie Travel Grant Constructions of Frenchness: the 1962 repatriation of pied noir colonial settlers from Algeria to France
PI: Dr Fiona Barclay
Funded by: The Carnegie Trust

Outputs (19)


Edited Book

Barclay F & Ivey B (eds.) (2023) Contemporary Representations Of Forced Migration In Europe: Beyond Regime and Refuge, 1 ed. Palgrave Studies in Literature, Culture and Human Rights. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. https://link.springer.com/book/9783031478307#:~:text=While%20the%20predominant%20response%20to,in%20refugees%20becoming%20objectified%2C%20othered%2C

Book Chapter

Barclay F (2021) Representations Of Child 'Migrants' In Akli Tadjer's Le Porteur De Cartable. In: Brownlie S & Abouddahab R (eds.) Figures of the Migrant: The Roles of Literature and the Arts in Representing Migration. Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature, 140. London: Routledge, pp. 23-39. https://www.routledge.com/Figures-of-the-Migrant-The-Roles-of-Literature-and-the-Arts-in-Representing/Brownlie-Abouddahab/p/book/9781032008806


Barclay F (Editor) & Johnston C (Editor) (2014) 'Qu’est-ce qu’une génération?' Special issue. Modern and Contemporary France, 22 (2), pp. 133-275. https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cmcf20/22/2

Edited Book

Barclay F (ed.) (2013) France's Colonial Legacies: Memory, Identity and Narrative. French and Francophone Studies. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/F/bo16906149.html

Book Chapter

Barclay F (2011) Postcolonial France: Immigration and the De-centring of the Hexagon. In: McCormack J, Pratt M & Rolls A (eds.) Hexagonal Variations. Diversity, Plurality and Reinvention in Contemporary France. Faux Titre, 359. Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 413-431. http://www.rodopi.nl/senj.asp?BookId=FAUX+359


Barclay F (Editor) & Marten M (Editor) (2011) 'What place for religion?' Special issue. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 10 (3), pp. 237-367. https://journals.sagepub.com/toc/ahha/10/3



I teach across modules in French language and culture at all levels. I offer three Honours specialism modules, on Remembering Empire (FREU9RE); French and Francophone Cultures of Travel (FREU9CT); and French and Francophone Women's Writing and Films (FREU9WW). Not all Honours modules run every year.

Research programmes

Research themes