Dr Gemma King

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

Areas of expertise

  • Cinema Studies 190201
  • French Language 200306
  • Museum Studies 210204
  • Screen And Media Culture 200212
  • Multicultural, Intercultural And Cross Cultural Studies 200209
  • Film, Television And Digital Media 1902

Research interests

French cinema; contemporary French culture and society; multilingualism and codeswitching; museum studies; European cinema studies; immigration; language, power and violence in film; postcolonialism and cultural representation; transnational film studies


I am a Lecturer in French Studies at the Australian National University, where I research language, culture, violence and power in French and Francophone cultures. Specifically, I investigate the representation of linguistic and cultural difference in French film, focusing on the relationship between multilingualism and social power. I also research the interplay between power and violence in cinema more broadly, and the (non-)representation of multiculturalism and colonialism in French museums.

I am Convenor of the ANU French Research Cluster, the French Honours Program and the SLLL Outreach and Engagement Reference Group, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Australian Journal of French Studies, and was elected 2017 Postgraduate Officer of the Australian Society for French Studies. I received the ANU Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2018 and taught across 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 in 2016. My work has been published in Contemporary French Civilization, 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 I am currently working on the contracted monograph Jacques Audiard 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, unpacking the power dynamics at play in the dialogue of eight emblematic films (Entre les murs [Laurent Cantet 2008], Polisse [Maïwenn 2011], Un prophète  [Jacques Audiard 2009], Dheepan [Jacques Audiard 2015], Welcome [Philippe Lioret 2009], La Graine et le mulet [Abdellatif Kechiche 2007], Des hommes et des dieux [Xavier Beauvois 2010] and London River [Rachid Bouchareb 2009]). This book argues that many contemporary French films take a new approach to language and power, showing how even the most historically-maligned languages can empower 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, under contract with Manchester University Press, French Film Directors series

This volume of the popular 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.


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Updated:  15 October 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers