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Dr Dominique Carlini Versini

Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures


Prior to joining Durham in 2019, I completed two BA degrees (English and Lettres Modernes) at Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle and an MA in French and Comparative Literature (Sorbonne Nouvelle/Kent), as well as a PhD in French Studies (Kent) in 2018. I was also a pensionnaire at the Ecole normale supérieure and taught French language and culture at various universities including the University of Kent, the University of London Institute in Paris and the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Teaching and Scholarship

At MLAC, I primarily teach French language modules at undergraduate level. I convene the first-year module French Language 1 and co-convene our newly established ab initio French programme. Creativity is at the centre of my teaching and scholarship. I believe the study of language is a point of entry in the culture, which is why I’m committed to a blended approach to language and culture teaching. I recently embarked on a project on creative writing in the French language classroom with CFLS colleagues Géraldine Crahay, Anna Johnston and Cynthia Tavars. We co-organised a series of creative writing workshops and seminars aimed at teachers and students, as well as a creative writing contest open to undergraduate students in French in the UK. We are also hosting a study day on the topic, which will take place at Durham in September 2022.

My research on women writing also informs my teaching and I will be looking at the notion of désenchantement in Marie Darrieussecq’s Truismes in a series of lectures for the second-year module “Modernity and Disenchantment: 19th and 20th Century French Literature and Culture”.

A commitment to social justice is at the heart of my teaching, research and scholarship. I am part of the First Gen Scholar Network, as well as the DCAD First Gen Scholar + special interest group, which aims to make Durham University a far more supportive and nurturing environment, academically and socially, for first generation scholars and students. In that respect, I’m also involved in Outreach activities. With my colleague Alexandre Burin, I’m co-organising a screening of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis in partnership with Durham County Council open to Schools in the Durham region, which will take place at the Gala Theatre in November 2022.

As a feminist, I believe education is the key to achieve social justice, which is why I wanted to become an educator in the first place. This belief shapes my teaching, research and scholarship and I recently reflected on the implication of teaching inclusive language to French learners in the first volume dedicated to diversity and inclusion in the French classroom co-edited by Eilene Hoft-March and E. Nicole Meyer. I’m also a member of the Athena SWAN team.


I primarily research the work of contemporary French women writers and filmmakers. I’m keenly interested in New Extreme cinema or cinéma du corps, the exploration of sensory experiences in text and film and haptic aesthetics. My forthcoming monograph, Figures de l'excès chez Marie Darrieussecq, Virginie Despentes et Marina de Van : Ecrire et filmer le corps-frontière (Brill, Faux Titre series, 2023), focuses on extreme representations of the body in contemporary texts and films by women. In the book, I think about excess and the body through and beyond the representation of sex and violence, which allows to question corporeal boundaries as well as the intersections between text and film.

I am also interested in the intersection of literature, and more broadly the humanities, with other fields. I co-guest edited a special issue on the various ways in which Marie Darrieussecq’s oeuvre engages with sciences, which appeared in Dalhousie French Studies in 2020. I also seek to examine abortion narratives from a transdisciplinary angle in a recent project L’avortement dans la littérature et les arts français contemporains.

In September 2021, I co-organised a conference on “Feminism(s) in the Age of Covid-19 and Beyond” in collaboration with Mylène Branco at the University of Luxembourg, which reflected on the diversity and the creativity of feminist expression and activism during the pandemic. I’m currently working on turning this project into a book.

I co-convene the research group Living Texts with Prof Catherine Dousteyssier-Khoze. The group seeks to explore the life of texts in all its significant aspects, from creation to reception. As part of the Living Texts seminar series, we welcomed Belgian writer Caroline Lamarche in June 2022, as well as translator Katherine Gregor and Héloïse Press founder Aina Marti for the publication the English translation of Lamarche’s The Memory of the Air.

Teaching and Academic Roles

Teaching and module convening

  • FREN1011 French Language 1 (Teaching and module convenorship)
  • FREN1012 French Language 1B (Teaching and module convenorship)
  • FREN2051 French Language 2 (Teaching)
  • FREN2011 Modernity and Disenchantment: 19th and 20th Century French Literature and Culture (Teaching)
  • FREN3041 French Language 4 (Teaching) 

Other academic and administrative roles

  • Academic Advisor
  • TLRP supervisor (Target Language Research Project) for Year Abroad students
  • Language Provision Committee Chair
  • Athena SWAN team member
  • Co-convenor of the Living Texts research group

Research interests

  • Contemporary French/francophone literature and film
  • Creative writing
  • Embodiment, gender and sexuality
  • Feminist activism and theory
  • Gender and power in French language and culture
  • Translation studies

Esteem Indicators


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

Journal Article

Other (Print)


Supervision students