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Dr Barbara Franchi

Teaching Fellow

Teaching Fellow in the Department of English Studies


I teach in the areas of postcolonial and world literatures, post-war fiction and the modern novel. Prior to joining Durham, in October 2021, I have taught at Newcastle University, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University. My research focuses on contemporary women's writing and historical fiction, with a special focus on how echoes of Empire reverberate in them. In particular, I am currently working on two main strands of research: ecocriticism and cultural memory in A. S. Byatt and Sarah Moss, and the sea as a signifier of imperial memory in contemporary historical fiction by British and postcolonial writers. Recent publications pertaining to the first strand include an article for The Journal of the Short Story in English (2022) and a chapter in A. S. Byatt and the Wonder Tale (ed. Alexandra Cheira, Cambridge Scholars 2022), both exploring material feminism, environmental questions, and national memory in Byatt's short stories. In December 2023, I have also written a piece for The Conversation on Byatt's northern roots and the climate crisis. My second strand of research includes two articles on postcolonial neo-Victorianism (published in Neo-Victorian Studies, 2019, and Partial Answers, 2018, and the co-edited collection Crossing Borders in Victorian Travel: Spaces, Nations and Empires (Cambridge Scholars 2018; with Elvan Mutlu), which examines imperialism and intercultural crossovers in Victorian travel writing, covering travel accounts, fiction and journalism. 

I am co-editing a special issue for Contemporary Women's Writing on material feminisms in contemporary Anglophone fiction and poetry, due to be published in 2024. I sit on the steering group of NPRG, the North-East Postcolonial Researcg Group, and, in May 2022, was the organiser of the symposium Abdulrazak Gurnah: Colonial Traces, Exile, and the 2021 Nobel Prize. I obtained my PhD from the University of Kent in 2017, after writing a thesis on A. S. Byatt's fiction and intertextuality, and I completed my BA and MA at the University of Venice (Italy).

Research interests

  • Contemporary Women's Writing
  • Cultural Memory and the Memory of Empire
  • Historical Fiction
  • Material Feminism
  • Neo-Victorianism
  • Postmodernism and Intertextuality
  • Travel and Mobility Studies

Esteem Indicators

  • 2022: British Landscapes and National Histories in Sarah Moss’s Fiction: Ghosts of the Motherland: Guest Lecture on neo-Victorianism, national identity and Brexit delivered at the University of Luxembourg.
  • 2022: Postcolonial neo-Victorianism and expanding the 'canon': Podcast guest appearance, Victorian Legacies.
  • 2019: Human Hubris, Environmental Potential: Ecocritical Writings by A. S. Byatt and Amitav Ghosh: Plenary Talk for: On Potentialities: ASYRAS Conference, University of Cantabria, Spain


Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article