Dr Gemma King

PhD (University of Melbourne, Paris 3- Sorbonne Nouvelle), BA Hons (University of Melbourne)
Senior Lecturer in French
College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 02 6125 9029

Areas of expertise

  • Cinema Studies 190201
  • Cultural Studies 2002
  • Screen And Media Culture 200212
  • Film, Television And Digital Media 1902
  • Language Studies 2003
  • Postcolonial Studies 200211
  • Museum Studies 210204
  • French Language 200306

Research interests

Contemporary film and television; contemporary French culture and society; transnational cinema studies; multilingualism and sign language on screen; museum studies; language, power and violence on screen; (post/de)colonialism and cultural representation


My research focuses on language, culture and power in contemporary cinemas and cultural studies. I investigate the representation of sign language, multilingualism, deafness, (post)colonial histories, immigration and multiculturalism on screen and in museums.

My first book, Decentring France: Multilingualism and Power in Contemporary French Cinema, was published with Manchester University Press in 2017 and my second book, Jacques Audiard, appeared in Manchester's French Film Directors series in 2021. My research has also been published in Contemporary French CivilizationL'Esprit Créateur, the Australian Journal of French StudiesFrancosphèresLinguistica AntverpiensiaFrench Cultural Studies, Inside Higher Ed, The Conversation and numerous edited volumes.

I am Communications Officer for the Australian Society for French Studies, Convenor of the SLLL Education Reference Group, a Board Member of Diversity, Decolonization and the French Curriculum and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I serve on the Editorial Boards of Contemporary French Civilization and the Australian Journal of French Studies. I have received a number of teaching awards, including a Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning from the Australian Awards for University Teaching (2020), an ANU Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence (2018) and three teaching awards from the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences (2017 and 2020). In my spare time, I run Les Musées de Paris, a blog about the lesser-known museums of Paris.

Researcher's projects

Decentring France: Multilingualism and Power in Contemporary French Cinema (Manchester University Press 2017)

In a world defined by the flow of people, goods, and cultures, many contemporary French films explore the multicultural nature of today’s France through language. From rival lingua francas such as English to socio-politically marginalised languages such as Arabic or Kurdish, multilingual characters in these films exploit their knowledge of multiple languages, and offer counter-perspectives to dominant ideologies of the role of linguistic diversity in society. Decentring France is the first substantial study of multilingual film in France. It argues that many contemporary French films take a new approach to language and power, showing how even the most historically-maligned languages can empower their speakers. This book offers a unique insight to academics and students alike, into the place of language and power in French cinema today.

Jacques Audiard (French Film Directors, Manchester University Press 2021)

Fragile yet powerful, masculine yet transgressive, Jacques Audiard's films portray disabled, marginalised or otherwise non-normative bodies in constant states of crisis and transformation. Jacques Audiard is the first book on the cinema of one of the most important French directors working today. It studies Audiard's screenwriting background, his collaborative practices and his use of genre motifs alongside his reputation as a celebrated French auteur. Using the motif of border-crossing - both physical and symbolic - the book explores how Audiard's films construct and transcend boundaries of many forms. Focusing on the representation of the physical body, French society and broader transnational contexts, it reveals how Audiard's cinema occupies a space both within and beyond the imaginary of French cinema.

Available student projects

I am available to supervise PhD, Masters and Honours students in any of my fields of expertise.

Past student projects

‘Discourses and Divergences: a critical exploration of climate change adaptation governance in New Caledonia.’ Thomas Overton-Skinner, 2020.

‘La langue qui agit: les cinémas de Tran, Villeneuve et Dolan.’ Esther Lee, 2017.


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Updated:  04 December 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers