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Durham University

School of Modern Languages and Cultures: French Studies

Staff in the Department of French

Go to the MLAC staff pages.

Dr Zoë Roth, BA (Lon), MA, PhD (King's College London)

Assistant Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 44354
Room number: ER273, Elvet Riverside II
Assistant Director in the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture
Director of MA in Visual Culture, Centre for Visual Arts and Culture

Contact Dr Zoë Roth (email at

I completed my PhD in Comparative Literature at King’s College London in 2013, where I also taught as a Visiting Lecturer until joining Durham in September 2014. From 2012-2013 I held a Junior Research Fellowship at the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, where I began research looking at francophone Jewish avant-garde artists and writers.

My research is broadly concerned with the relationship between lived experience and aesthetics in twentieth-century French and comparative literature. My thesis explored the role of embodiment—or the experience of the lived body—in shaping twentieth-century European literature. By eroding the mind-body dualism underpinning representation’s mimetic function, embodied experience gives rise to such literary strategies as stream-of-consciousness, fragmentation, and the breakdown between inner and outer worlds that characterize modernism and postmodernism.

The tension between representation and subjective experience similarly informs my current book project, The Jewish Avant-Garde: Transnational Modernisms, 1916-1945, which explores how francophone Jewish artists and writers from Europe, North Africa, and the Americas widened modernism’s geographic boundaries and shaped its imagined territory. The project connects postcolonial theory to debates in Jewish studies to show how race and Jewish identity intersected in the French imaginary.

In parallel, I also explore French literary and visual representations of the Holocaust within transnational framework.

Research Groups

  • Transnationalism - Co-Convenor

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

Journal Article

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Selected Grants

  • 2016: Harry Ransom Center Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin
  • 2016: Transnational French Modernisms (£1500.00 from MHRA)
  • 2016: Transnational French Modernisms (£500.00 from Society for French Studies)
  • 2015: BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant [2 years]
  • 2015: The Jewish Avant-Garde: Transnational Modernisms, 1916-1945 (£8765.00 from The British Academy)
  • 2014: Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship [3 years] (declined)
  • 2012: Junior Research Fellowship, Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies
  • 2009: Doctoral Fellowship, AHRC [3 years]
  • 2007: MA Scholarship, AHRC