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Dr Amaleena Damle

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures+44 (0) 191 33 44353


I studied French and Spanish at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, and subsequently completed a Masters in Cultural Memory (Institute of Modern Languages Research, London), an MPhil in European Literature and Culture and a PhD on contemporary French and francophone literature and philosophy (King’s College, Cambridge) in 2009. I have taught at the University of Oxford, Queen Mary, University of London, and predominantly at Cambridge, where I held two research fellowships and taught as a college lecturer before coming to Durham in 2018. 

My research interests lie in questions of embodiment, affect, gender, sexuality and race in 20th- and 21st-century French and francophone literature and philosophy. My first book, The Becoming of the Body: Contemporary Women's Writing in French (EUP, 2014), analyses representations of the female body in the work of four contemporary francophone authors. It explores through the critical lens of Deleuzian philosophy the contestation and transformation of the conventional boundaries of the body, and considers the implications of the notion of the ‘becoming’ of the body in the light of feminist, postcolonial and queer politics. 

I have written several articles and book chapters on contemporary French and francophone literature and philosophy, and I am the co-editor, with Professor Gill Rye, of three major books on contemporary women’s writing. 

I am currently working on two new projects, one on eating and practices of consumption, and the other on narratives of birth. The first project departs from the premise that practices of consumption are integral to the making and unmaking of our contemporary cultural worlds. In other words, the ways we interact with food – how we produce, assemble, share, and consume it – have much to tell us about communities, cultures, and the exercise of power. The project, which will lead to a monograph, aims to deepen understanding of a world in crisis by tracing connections between colonialist legacy, capitalist excess, racism, gender inequality, and ecological catastrophe at the heart of global appetite, food pathways, and patterns of eating. Focusing on the distinctive literary landscape of leading francophone Mauritian author Ananda Devi, the book will scrutinise representations of the everyday and the extreme, charting the implication of histories of the organisation of labour in sugar plantations in contemporary practices of eating and incorporation. The book -- provisionally titled Eating the Other: Ananda Devi and the Politics of Consumption -- intends to offer ways to rethink flows of consumption, from the local to the global, in a disenchanted, politically divided, and ecologically precarious world.

My second project explores the competing discourses (medical, philosophical, cultural, popular) embedded in francophone and anglophone literary representations of childbirth (autobiography, poetry, novels and short stories). I am particularly interested in the interplay of knowledge, memory and temporality in the articulation of birth, in probing the kinds of knowledges and temporalities that circulate around birth, how birth enters into knowledge and (individual, collective) memory, and how birthgivers can navigate meaningful relationships with knowledge, memory and time as they go through the transformative embodied event of birth.

I have supervised PhD students working on 20th and 21st- century French/ francophone philosophy, women's writing and visual culture, feminist and queer theory, postcolonial and decolonial writing, and world literatures, and would be happy to hear from prospective students in these areas.

Research interests

  • Embodiment and affect
  • Feminism, gender and sexuality
  • Food, practices of consumption, disorderly eating
  • Postcolonial and decolonial theory
  • Race, migration, diaspora
  • 20th- and 21st-century French/francophone literature, philosophy and visual culture


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