Staff in the Department of French
Dr Zoë Roth, BA (Lon), MA, PhD (King's College London)
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.
- Transnationalism - Co-Convenor
Chapter in book
- 2017 'Frontière humaine: Race, Nation, and the Shape of Representation in Claude Cahun', in Gelber, Mark H. & Sjöberg, Sami (eds.), Jewish Aspects in the Avant-Garde: Between Rebellion and Revelation, De Gruyter, pp. 119-140
- 2016 'Real and Ideal Spaces: Writing, embodiment, and the beach in contemporary French literature', in Fuggle, Sophie (ed.), La Ligne d'écume: Towards a new topography of the French beach, Pavement Books, pp. 177-192
- 2012 'The Death of Desire: The erotic extreme in Michel Houellebecq's Platforme', in Williams, Russell & Hemmens, Alastair (eds.), The Contemporary Extreme [Autour De L'extreme Litteraire], Cambridge Scholars Press, pp. 112-123
- 2019 '“You can change your noses, but you can’t change your Moses” Olfactory Aesthetics and the Jewish “Race”', L’Esprit Créateur 59, pp. 72-87
- 2017 'War of Images or Images of War? Visualizing History in Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones', Journal of Modern Literature 41, pp. 81-99
- 2013 'Vita brevis, ars longa: ekphrasis, the art object, and the consumption of the subject in Henry James and Michel Houellebecq', Word & Image 29, pp. 139-156
- 2012 'Against Representation: Death, Desire, and Art in Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal', Philip Roth Studies 8, pp. 95-100
- 2011 'Visions of Death and Desire: Exploring embodied ethics in Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber', Watermark Journal 5, pp. 145-159
- 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