Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Nicola Frith

Chancellors Fellow

Profile photo

Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

Postcolonial studies (with a focus on the Francophone world or comparative projects including the Francophone world) Slavery studies Memory studies (with a focus on historical trauma and legacies relating to the colonial past)

Education / Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Liverpool
Competing Colonial Discourses on India: Representing the Indian 'Mutiny' (1857-58) in French- and English-Language Texts

Professional Qualifications

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education
Cambridge/RSA Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults, CELTA

Area of Expertise

Research expertiseSlavery, Reparations, Postcolonialism, French colonial history, Memory studies


Nicola Frith completed her doctorate at the University of Liverpool in 2010. She worked at Bangor University in Wales as a Lecturer in French from 2010 to 2014, before joining French and Francophone Studies at the University of Edinburgh as a Chancellor’s Fellow in September 2014. She is the holder of an AHRC early career Leadership Fellowship (2013–15) for a project entitled ‘Mapping Memories of Slavery: Commemoration, Community and Identity in Contemporary France’. In the 2014, she published her first monograph entitled The French Colonial Imagination: Writing the Indian Uprisings, 1857-1858, from Second Empire to Third Republic in the After the Empire series with Lexington Books. She is also the author of numerous chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals relating to the construction of French colonial identities during the nineteenth century and, more recently, memories of slavery and reparations in contemporary France.


PhD in French

BA Hons in French

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (stages 1 and 2)


Personal profile page: http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/delc/french/staff?person_id=256&cw_xml=profile.php

Conference website on 'Repairing the Past, Imagining the Future: Reparations and Beyond...': http://conferences.hss.ed.ac.uk/reparations/


Current Research Interests

Nicola Frith is a specialist in Francophone Postcolonial Studies and Slavery Studies. She is the author of a monograph entitled The French Colonial Imagination: Writing the Indian Uprisings, 1857–58, from Second Empire to Third Republic (Lexington Books, 2014), which considers how France’s colonial imagination in the nineteenth century was constructed in relation to its greatest rival, the British. In recent years, her research has turned towards more contemporary themes and now focuses on the memories and legacies of slavery and their effects on French society today. Of particular interest are the socio-political contexts that are shaping activist movements and memorialization processes within and beyond the French nation-state. Her AHRC-funded research project, entititled 'Mapping Memories of Slavery: Commemoration, Community and Identity in Contemporary France', is working to map activist networks within the French Republic and to foreground the complex and creative responses led by citizen groups as they engage culturally and politically with the afterlives of the history of slavery and the slave trade. A growing interest in this area is the pressing question of reparations for slavery as a means to addressing the legacies of slavery in the present-day.

Research Interests

Francophone postcolonial studies; recognition struggles and social movements; justice theory and reparative justice; memory studies; nineteenth- and twentieth-century colonial history; community and belonging in contemporary French society; memories of slavery and the slave trade; the politics of memory; museology and commemorative practices; transnationalism.

Research Groups

Treasurer and member of Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies (SFPS).

Assistant Director for the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies at the University of Edinburgh. 

Co-convenor for the Caribbean Research Seminar in the North.

Member of Society for French Studies (SFS), the Association of Modern & Contemporary France (ASMCF) and the African Studies Association/Royal African Society (ASA/RAS)

Member of the internal DELC research group: 'Language and Violence'


Collaborative Activity

Recent and current collaborations include:

1. Co-organizing an international conference with Dr Kate Hodgson (University of Liverpool) in September 2011 on 'Remembering Slavery, Forgetting Indenture'.

2. Co-editing and co-writing the introduction for the lastest annual volume of Francophone Postcolonial Studies with Liverpool University Press (2015), in collaboration with Dr Kate Hodgson at the University of Liverpool.

3. Working in collaboration with Dr Joyce Hope Scott at Wheelock College, Boston, US, and the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies on the organization of a major international event to be held at the University of Edinburgh (5-7 November 2015), looking at 'Repairing the Past, Imagining the Future: Reparations and Beyond...'

4. Working with the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (based in Glasgow) on the organization of a public debate around reparations for slavery as part of Black History Month in October 2015.

5. Working with the Africa in Motion (Aim) on a strand entitled 'The Unrepaired Past' for the African Scotland Film Festival 2015, including a photo exhibition, a dance performance and a public debate on reparations for slavery, as well as screening three films relating to slavery and its legacies.

Research students

I recently finished supervising two PhD students at Bangor University, both of whom have completed their vivas:

1. Stephanie Bostock. Thesis title: 'Exhibiting the Everyday: The Musealization of 1950s Material Culture in France and Germany' (completed)

2. Geraldine Crahay. Thesis title: 'Ambiguous Genders and Masculine Insecurity in July Monarchy Narratives' (completed pending corrections)


I have experience in teaching French language, culture and history at all levels from undergraduate through to postgraduate students. I have taught across the French language syllabus at Bangor University, and have contributed to numerous team-taught and specialist courses, including: European history, European literature, European ideas and ideologies, Paris, Presidents and Power and Remembering Slavery. I specialise in teaching postcolonial studies, slavery studies and memory studies, and have a strong interest in French politics and society. At the University of Edinburgh, I currently contribute to teaching on the first-year course, French Literature and Civilisation.

Administrative Roles

In the past, I have acted as Head of French (2012-13) at Bangor University, where I also took on the administrative roles of year-abroad coordinator, teaching and learning representative for the School, timetabling officer for French, exams officer for French and personal tutor.

Research outputs

  1. Reparations for slavery in the French Republic: A national debate?

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Slavery and its Legacies: Remembering Labour Exploitation in the Francophone World

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

View all (13) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Repairing the Past. Imagining the Future: Reparations and Beyond

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

  2. Myth Making: Association for Modern & Contemporary France Annual Conference

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

  3. Liverpool University Press (Publisher)

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workPublication peer-review

View all (17) »

Research projects

  1. Reparations for Slavery: From Theory to Praxis

    Project: Funded ProjectResearch

  2. 'The Unrepaired Past': LLC Impact Support Fund

    Project: Other ProjectUniversity Awarded Project Funding

View all (9) »

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