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Cécile Bishop
Joanna Randall McIver Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College
Address:  Somerville College
Tel:   01865 270488


Cécile's research lies in the area of Francophone and Postcolonial Studies, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and the French Caribbean. Her work explores the intersections between political issues and aesthetic representation across a variety of genres and media, including literature, social science, film and visual arts. After completing her PhD at King’s College London, Cécile joined Somerville College as a Junior Research Fellow in October 2012.

Her current book project examines the relationships between photography and humanism in the postcolonial context. This inquiry takes as its starting point the work realized by the French photographer Denise Comb in the Antilles in 1948 and 1958. Colomb’s work is usually situated within the aesthetic of French humanist photography, made famous by Robert Doisneau, which has produced some of the most iconic representations of France in the 20th century. This project concentrates on the various issues raised by Colomb’s transposition of this aesthetic to the Caribbean context, and particularly on the apparent tension between her emphasis on the ‘poetry of everyday-life’ and the difficult social and political situation of the French Antilles. In addition, through Colomb’s complicated collaboration with two influential writers, Aimé Césaire and Michel Leiris, the project examines how written and visual representations engage with the tension between political and aesthetic dimensions in different ways.

Research interests:

- Postcolonial and Francophone Literatures
- Photography
- Aesthetics
- Fiction and social science


Teaching interests: 20th and 21th c. French and Francophone literatures, Postcolonial theory, Photography and visual culture.


Forthcoming ‘Traces of Humanity ? Carl de Keyzer and Johan Lagae’s Congo Belge en Images’, International Journal of Francophone Studies, vol. 15:3-4 (2012), pp.517-540.

2012 ‘Thinking through Literature: Abdourahman Waberi’s Moisson de Crânes and the Rwandan Genocide’ in Susanne Gehrmann and Flora Veit-Wild (eds), Conventions & Conversions. Generic Innovations in African Literatures/Innovations génériques dans les littératures africaines, (Trier : WVT-Verlag), pp.125-140.

2011 (co-edited with Léa Vuong) La non-lecture. Special issue of the journal La Lecture littéraire, n°11 (University of Reims). Includes :
- an introduction, co-authored with Léa Vuong : ‘La “traversée des livres”: Enjeux d’une approche critique de la non-lecture’, pp.5-22.
- an interview of Pierre Bayard, author of Comment parler des livres que l’on n’a pas lus?, realized with Léa Vuong, pp.23-32.

Articles ‘Ahmadou Kourouma’ and ‘Henri Lopes’, in Corinne Blanchaud et Christiane Chaulet Achour (eds), Dictionnaire littéraire de cent classiques francophones (Paris : Honoré Champion), pp. 245-248 ; 270-274.