The Louvre in Paris, France

French studies research

Explore our work in French studies, one of our 5 areas of expertise in Area Studies

Our research examines the politics, history and culture of France and other French-speaking countries, with particular focus on their interactions with global systems.

With the UK leaving the EU and proclaiming its commitment to ‘Global Britain’, it has become more important than ever to understand our nearest European neighbour. Our work addresses the UK's limited knowledge of French external relations and foreign policy, and aims to encourage French language skills of researchers and decision-makers working in the field.

We're a prime resource of information and expertise on France’s external relations and foreign policy, delivering research to academic and government bodies. We have also developed one of the UK's best library collections of French and Francophone studies sources, with materials in both French and English.

Our research focuses on the following key topics

  • Francophone Africa
  • French colonial history in Africa
  • French Africa policy
  • France's external relations
  • French foreign policy
  • Francophonie
  • Immigration

Partnerships and Funders

We work closely with Chatham House and Research Analysts at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which gives us good access to top civil servants and policymakers.

Publications and projects

Our research has been funded by organisations including the British Academy and the Leverhulme Trust.

Our work is regularly published in leading journals within the field, and appears in blogs. We have also written and edited books. 

    Discover our areas of expertise

    French studies is one of 5 areas of expertise within our Area Studies research – explore the others below.

    African Studies

    We're building knowledge on conflict in West Africa, with a particular focus on issues in the West African Sahel.

    Children walking in arid African landscape
    Read more

    American Studies

    We're exploring questions around the powers of the state, and the fight for civil rights in and beyond the context of US politics and society.

    Capitol building, Washington DC, USA
    Read more

    European studies

    We're studying societal change, the institutional and legal dynamics of the EU and its member states, and Europe’s global political role.

    Row of European union flags
    Read more

    Russian Studies

    We're learning about the issues on the EU's eastern borders, and how the UK and EU should react.

    Russian city skyline at dusk
    Read more

    Research groups

    Francophone Africa Research Group

    We're researching the legacy of French colonialism and the changing relations between France and the Francophone world.

    Read more

    Interested in a PhD in Area Studies & International Development?

    Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Area Studies & International Development postgraduate research degrees page.