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
  • French Language 200306
  • Postcolonial Studies 200211
  • Museum Studies 210204
  • Cultural Studies 2002
  • Screen And Media Culture 200212

Research interests

French cinema; contemporary French culture and society; multilingualism and codeswitching; museum studies; immigration; language, power and violence in film; (post/de)colonialism and cultural representation; transnational film studies


My research focuses on language, culture, violence and power in francophone cinemas and cultures. I investigate the representation of linguistic and cultural difference in French film, and the relationship between national and transnational cinemas. I also work on deafness and sign language in cinema, Quebec film, and the (non-)representation of multiculturalism and colonialism in French museums.

I am Editor of Publications for the Australian Society for French Studies, Convenor of the SLLL Education Reference Group and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I received a 2018 ANU Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence and a 2020 Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning from the Australian Awards for University Teaching, and taught in French, English and Cinema studies at the University of Melbourne, the Université Paris 3: Sorbonne Nouvelle and the Université Paris-Est Créteil before joining the ANU as a Lecturer in 2016. My work has been published in Contemporary French Civilization, L'Esprit Créateur, the Australian Journal of French Studies, Francosphères, Linguistica Antverpiensia, French Cultural Studies, The Conversation and numerous edited volumes, and I run Les Musées de Paris, a blog about the lesser-known museums of Paris. 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, is in press for Manchester's French Film Directors series.

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, in press with Manchester University Press, French Film Directors series

This volume of the French Film Directors series is the first book-length project on Jacques Audiard and uses the motif of border-crossing to analyse his oeuvre. Spanning traditional French contexts and transnational spaces, exploring gender and disability alongside language and violence, it defines Audiard as a key figure in contemporary 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:  18 April 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers