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Department of English and Modern Languages
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483949
Barbara Giraud has been working as a Lecturer and a Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes since January 2009. Her teaching experience expands from first year language modules and the introductory module for French Studies : Introduction to Modern France to more culturally and literary based content modules at level 5 and 6. She has developed a module on European cinema involving colleagues specialised in Film Studies and is currently co-teaching a synopsis module untitled Paris City of Light. In collaboration with a colleague specialised in Victorian literature, she has designed and taught a comparative literature module on The New and Modern Woman.
Barbara has been the Year Abroad tutor for several years and has designed a second year module to help students preparing for their year abroad: Language for Professional Communication.
I am the module leader for the "languages for all" modules:
Module leader and main lecturer for
As the Year Abroad tutor, I am responsible for the YAB modules :
Barbara Giraud works mainly on 19th Century French literature, culture and society. Her interests are in the French novel and its interactions with the history of medicine. Her PhD thesis focused on the scientific discourses built around hysteria and neurosis on women and their representations in French naturalist novels more particularly that of the Goncourt brothers. It sought to establish a link with the birth of psychology as a science in the second part of the 19th Century.
Broadly, her interests lie in the study of the interaction between science and French literature. More specifically, she is seeking to unfold how medical knowledge – mainly the new hygienist theories on cleanliness – is represented in the French literature of the second half of the Nineteenth century. She has recently focused on the use of the bathroom as a new – intimate – space which appeared in the bourgeois homes in the last twenty years of the century. She is currently working on the various usages of soap and its representations in realist/naturalist/symbolist literature and newspapers. Other products and precepts of hygiene are also under study in order to highlight their development process, the contexts in which they were used and the ways they were disseminated and represented (or not) in fin-de-siècle French literature. This work constitutes the basis of a new monograph on the interactions between the medical discourse on hygiene with the social discourse and their literary representations.
This article seeks to understand the representations of soap as an object in 19th-century French realist and naturalist literature through the newly acquired hygienic concepts of cleanliness. At the crossroads between medicine and literature, soap is contextualised as an object firmly anchored in the triviality of everyday life: the ritual of the toilette, the cleaning of the body, and more particularly here, the female body. Looking at the character’s hygienic practices and representations of hygiene precepts in literature is to study the details which become, as such, the signs of intimacy and to uncover a hidden history. Drawing from material culture, it has been possible to highlight how the texts can both be the echo chambers of the medical discourse on hygiene while at the same time exceed and reflect a social and literary reality. = À travers l’étude du savon en tant qu’objet, nous souhaitons dans cet article aborder les tensions hygiéniques, sociales et littéraires qui caractérisent la toilette du corps au XIXe siècle. Nous proposons une contextualisation médicale et littéraire de cet objet résolument ancré dans le quotidien afin de le réintégrer dans un rite – celui de la toilette – et dans un discours qui lui confère une vie inséparable de celle de son possesseur. Grâce à une perspective de culture matérielle, il est possible de mettre en lumière un réseau de significations dissimulé sous ce détail que semble être cet objet dans la littérature. Le savon apparaît avant tout comme le vecteur de la vertu encore trop lié au quotidien des individus issus des basses classes. Cependant, paradoxalement peut- être compte tenu de la relation directe qu’il entretient avec le corps, il semblerait que le savon soit le grand absent des romans réalistes et naturalistes.
Barbara is a member of the Society of Dix-neuviémistes http://www.sdn.ac.uk/ and has regularly been presenting papers at their annual international conference.
She has also presented research papers at Women in French conferences http://www.womeninfrench.org/agenda/colloque/ in 2006 and 2012.