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Dr John Strachan


Bowland College

Lancaster University


Lancaster LA1 4YT

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 1524 592608


Research Interests

I studied and taught at the universities of Warwick (1997-2002) and Manchester (2002-2007) before joining Lancaster in September 2007. I serve on the steering committee of the Society for the Study of French History and am a core member and formerly research events co-ordinator (2008-2012) for the Dynamics of Memories research group (recently awarded a major AHRC Networking Grant).

I started out as a social and cultural historian of late nineteenth-century France, especially interested in local, regional and national identities, and in Eugen Weber's ideas about the coming-together of the modern nation-state. I then began to develop an interest in France's overseas empire in North Africa which I had encountered in the writings of Albert Camus and Fernand Braudel. These interests came together in my doctorate - a history of the pieds-noirs (European settlers in Algeria) that explored the role of the military, political and  commemorative cultures, literature, education, medicine, food and drink, and the writing of  history in the period 1870-1930. The work of Roland Barthes and Pierre Nora served me well in developing a broad analytical framework for the study of cultural and psychological relationships between metropolitan and colonial worlds. Much of this research has been published in article form (see below).  More recently, I have worked on the relationship of memory to history, colonial cultures in a comparative context, and the intellectual history of decolonisation. In addition to writing up a monograph on colonial Algeria, I am currently beginning new projects on the commemoration of imperial heroes, the colonial origins of  anthropology, and the place of sub-Saharan Africa in Western thought.

Current Research

Mythologies of Empire: The Shape of Culture in European Colonial Algeria (book manuscript, in preparation).

A co-authored special issue on the commemoration of imperial heroes.

Current Teaching

I am on sabbatical leave in the 2012-2013 academic year and will not be teaching. I normally contribute to HIST100, HIST300 and HIST405 and convene the following undergraduate modules:

HIST272 Empire, Race, and the French Colonial World

HIST244 A History of Paris

HIST356 La nouvelle histoire

I hold the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Additional Information

I would like to hear from postgraduate students and potential postgraduates interested in the following areas:

Social, cultural and intellectual histories of modern France and the French overseas empire

Imperialism, colonialism and race

Historiography (especially French) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

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