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Dr Barbara Franchi

Teaching Fellow

PhD, Kent; MA, Venice Ca' Foscari; BA, Venice Ca' Foscari

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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.
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).
My research focuses on contemporary women's writing, historical fiction and how these are haunted by echoes of Empire. In particular, my current project examines the sea as a signifier of imperial memory in contemporary historical fiction by British and postcolonial writers. Relevant publications include two articles on postcolonial neo-Victorianism, which argue for a broadened, global and inter-imperial understanding of trade and interpersonal relations in the Victorian period: 'The Neo-Victorian Chinese Diaspora: Crossing Genders and Postcolonial Subversion in Pacific Gold Rush Novels' (Neo-Victorian Studies, 2019), and 'Written in the Stars? Women Travellers and Forgers of Destinies in Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries' (Partial Answers, 2018). I have also worked on travel studies, co-editing Crossing Borders in Victorian Travel: Spaces, Nations and Empires (Cambridge Scholars 2018; with Elvan Mutlu): the collection examines imperialism and intercultural crossovers in Victorian travel writing, covering travel accounts, fiction and journalism.
In my forthcoming publications, I examine A. S. Byatt’s short stories through the lenses of new materialism and posthumanism. These 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). I am also co-editing a special issue for Contemporary Women’s Writing on twenty-first-century fiction and poetry by women, and material feminism.
In May 2022, I was the organiser of the symposium Abdulrazak Gurnah: Colonial Traces, Exile, and the 2021 Nobel Prize, in collaboration with the Newcastle Postcolonial Research Group.

Research interests

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

  • Franchi, Barbara (2023). A Matter of Stories: Transcorporeal Entanglements in ‘The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye’. In A. S. Byatt and the Wonder Tale. Cheira, Alexandra Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Franchi, Barbara (2022). Writing and Weaving the neo-Victorian Decadence: A. S. Byatt’s Golden Ekphrasis. In Neo-Victorian Decadences. Boyiopoulos, Kostas & Thorne, Joseph Brill/Rodopi. 9.
  • Franchi, Barbara (2018). Explorers, Doctors and Butlers: Queer Masculinity and Empire in Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone. In Crossing Borders in Victorian Travel: Spaces, Nations and Empires. Franchi, Barbara & Mutlu, Elvan Cambridge Scholars. 40-64.
  • Franchi, Barbara (2017). Dangerous Mothers and their Children: Writing and Other Secrets in Possession and The Children’s Book. In A. S. Byatt, Before and After Possession: Recent Critical Approaches. Parey, Armelle & Roblin, Isabelle Presses Universitaires de Lorraine. 143-159.
  • Franchi, Barbara (2016). Travelling Across Worlds and Texts in A. S. Byatt’s Sea Narratives. In Sea Narratives: Cultural Responses to the Sea, 1600-Present. Mathieson, Charlotte Palgrave. 195-216.

Edited book

  • Franchi, Barbara, & Mutlu, Elvan (2018). Crossing Borders in Victorian Travel: Spaces, Nations and Empires. Cambridge Scholars.

Journal Article