Dr Claire Eldridge

Dr Claire Eldridge

Profile

After graduating with an MA (Hons) in Modern History from the University of St Andrews, I went on to complete an M.Litt and an AHRC-funded PhD at the same institution. I then worked as a Lecturer in Modern History at Keele University and as a Lecturer in French Studies at the University of Southampton. I joined the University of Leeds in September 2015 before being promoted to Associate Professor in 2017.

Responsibilities

  • Deputy Head of School

Research interests

I specialise in the social and cultural history of France and the French Empire. My research explores the interplay between empire, memory and migration, particularly in the context of the historical relationship between France and Algeria. I have focused extensively on the construction and transmission of memories within the pied-noir and harki communities following their mass migration to France when Algeria gained independence in 1962. Exploring memory activism within both groups as they sought to process their experiences of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962) and to deal with the legacies of this conflict, my work seeks to historicise the current ‘memory wars’ phenomenon whereby different groups in France are seen to be ‘fighting’ for control of the public representation of this contentious past. This reflects my broader interest in how European societies negotiate competing claims on their national histories and memories in the public arena, particularly with respect to divisive and violent pasts. My latest research explores the history and experiences of soldiers from Algeria who served in the French Army during the First World War.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I convene and contribute a range of undergraduate and MA modules that reflect my research interests and expertise in race, empire, memory and migration. These modules examine key moments in the history of France since the founding of the Third Republic in 1870 including the Commune, the two World Wars, decolonisation, the student protests of May 1968, and the rise of the far right. Students are encouraged to think about how recurring themes underpinning these events, such as religious tensions, political polarisation, and questions over the place of minorities, have shaped debates about French identity in the modern era.

My teaching furthermore builds on my interest in how France interacted with the wider world. It encompasses the ways in which France transformed the societies it came into contact with as it constructed its empire, as well as how the continual circulation of people, goods and ideas between colony and metropole influenced identities and ways of life in metropolitan France.

The complex, fascinating and often fraught relationship between France and Algeria forms a central theme within my teaching. Ranging across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this entails exploring the creation of a colonial society in Algeria that quickly came to be seen as an extension of metropolitan France, as well as the experiences of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim populations under French colonial rule. The factors that led to the violent dissolution of the imperial relationship via the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) are a key concern, as are the enduring legacies of this history for both Algeria and France today.

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>