Ruth Cruickshank
  • Phone+44 1784 443252
  • TW20 0EX

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Personal profile

Personal profile

A Reader in French and Comparative Literature and Culture, I am Director of Student Experience for the School of Humanities (2022-). Prior to this I was Programme Director for Comparative Literature and Culture degrees (2012-2021) and departmental Senior Tutor (2019-21). I design, convene and teach modules across Modern Languages, Comparative Literature and Culture, Translation Studies and Liberal Arts. 

I embarked on postgraduate education in 1999, bringing ten years’ professional skills as a translator and as a Group Account Director in international marketing and advertising following my first degree in French with Italian (Leeds 1989). I achieved a distinction in my MSt in European Literatures (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford; 2000), and my AHRB-funded DPhil in French was awarded 2004 (Hastings Senior Scholar, The Queen’s College, Oxford). Before joining Royal Holloway in 2006 as Lecturer in French, I was Kathleen Bourne Junior Research Fellow at St Anne’s College and Stipendiary Lecturer in French at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

My transdisciplinary research is at the nexus of literary and cultural criticism and modern languages, comparative, food and critical disability studies, exploring questions of production and consumption: of texts, of food and drink, and of the critical potential of representations of them in fiction, thought and the visual arts.

Research interests

  • Representations of eating disorders and discourses which affect them (and knowledge of them), notably OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder) the most prevalent but least known eating disorder (see my recent article).
  • The critical potential of representations of food and drink in fiction, film, thought and still life painting e.g., Leftovers: Eating, Drinking and Rethinking with Cases Studies from Post-war French Fiction’s : ‘wide-ranging implications’; ‘essential reading’; ‘at a time when governments and academic institutions are asking scholars to demonstrate interdisciplinarity […] provides a sort of justificatory roadmap’; ‘a model for a wide-scale reassessment’ (Gastronomica)
  • French and transnational food cultures.
  • Consumer culture and globalization in post-war French fiction, film and thought.
  • Turn-of-the-millemium French fiction and thought: e.g. Fin de millénaire French Fiction: The Aesthetics of Crisis: ‘meticulous and well-informed work that deftly brings together four contemporary authors’: ‘making visible the tension of contemporary intellectual history and literary history through the lens of the literary text itself, as it reflects on these issues. And the primary text of fiction is there, extensively cited and topically commented, giving rise to subtle accounts’; ‘a brilliantly informed analysis of the 'long twentieth-century', concentrating on the last twenty years’; and  ‘a combination of impressive research and remarkably clear synthesis’.
  • Post-war twentieth- and twenty-first French fiction and thought (notably Houellebecq and Ernaux, France’s two most famous living writers, and Angot, Beauvoir, Duras, Echenoz and Redonnet) e.g. co-edited volume: ‘an important contribution to our understanding of the modern, avant-garde and postmodern writing in French’.
  • French film (of the Trente glorieuses, Chomet, Denis, Moullet and Varda). 

Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching

  • I joined Royal Holloway to teach post-War French literature, film and thought and advanced translation.
  • I also spearheaded the development of RHUL’s unique Comparative Literature and Culture BA programmes, of which I was Progamme Director 2012-21, most recently developing World Literatures strands.
  • I also develop teaching and learning for and teach on the Modern Languages, Liberal Arts and Translation Studies BA programmes, and the Integrated Foundation Year.

Postgraduate Supervision

  • I supervise PhD and Masters by Research students of French and of Comparative Literature and Culture working often in interdisciplinary ways on post-war and contemporary literary and visual cultures, as well as on food cultures and postcolonial issues of consumption and globalization. 
  • I also mentor ECRs: Matt Phillips, Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, Depressive Texts: Mental Well-Being and the Modern French Novel'. January 2019-June 2022.

Teaching and Pastoral Prizes and Awards

  • College Team Teaching Prize: Commendation, 2020.
  • Educational Support Award for Outstanding Individual, 2015.
  • Educational Support Award for Outstanding Individual, 2014.               
  • Student Union ‘Apple for the Teacher’ Excellence Prize, 2011.
  • College Team Teaching Prize, 2009.
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2009.

Consultancy

  •  Thinking & Writing: Academic/EDI consultant for HEI e-learning course, 2020-.
  • Society of Authors (I am the only French Studies academic to judge the Scott Moncrieff Prize for translation twice in the last 12 years), impacting publishing, translation and bookselling industries, and the general public. With Francophone novelist judges (Jacob Ross and Michèle Roberts) drew up shortlists spanning genders, ethnicities and genres form which to select winners and runners-up.  As I told BBC World Service’s ‘The Newsroom’, and the Bookseller,  our 2018 winner is the Society’s first graphic novel translation prize awardee, a text raising awareness of domestic violence and boosting the profile and accessibility of literature in translation
  • Consultant for BBC4: ‘France on a plate’.
  • Language advisor and translator: ITV Murder on the Orient Express.

Affiliations

External

  • AHRC Peer Review College.
  • TECHNE Peer Review College/CDA.
  • Chartered Linguist: Chartered Institute of Linguists.
  • Editorial Board: French Cultural Studies.
  • International Advisory Board: French Cultural Studies, 2015-19.
  • Honorary Treasurer: Society for French Studies 2015-2018.
  • Steering Committee: LINKS London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Literature, (Chair 2015-16; 2018-19). 
  • National Association of Disabled Staff Networks.
  • Centre for Contemporary Women’s Writing, IMLR, London. 
  • Global Cities and Visual Culture (Universities of Amsterdam, Edinburgh, QMUL, RHUL).
  • British Association for Comparative Literature.
  • Society for French Studies.

Internal

  • Food Group, Founder Member (Steering Group).
  • Humanities Representative, Living Sustainably Catalyst.
  • Advisory Group, Living Sustainably Catalyst.
  • Disability and Mental Health Staff Network.
  • Humanities Illness and Disability Reading Group.
  • RHUL Humanities EDI Reading Group        
  • Centre for Visual Cultures RHUL (Steering Committee).
  • Centre for GeoHumanities RHUL.
  • Centre for the Body and Material Culture, RHUL.

Other work

External Engagement and Knowledge Exchange

Awareness raising, charity collaboration and campaigning on eating disorders

  • Prominent Twitter presence foregrounding OSFED: Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders, the most prevalent but least well-known eating disorder (and other eating disorder/ mental health issues).
  • Relationship building with CEO and clinical lead of national eating disorder charity Beat and Manager of local eating disorder charity Seed.
  • Training: March-May 2021 (Beat), ‘Introduction to Campaigning’; The Changes we are Campaigning For’; ‘Getting Your Voice Heard in the Political System’; June 2021, ‘Getting Your Voice Heard in the Health Services’; July 2021 (Seed), Toolkit Webinar.

 Charity collaboration using critical questioning of French food for social capital building 

  • Invited blog for high profile ‘Lockdown Series’ for Registered Charity, The Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation, ‘Leftovers in Lockdown: From Literary Haunts to Re-thinking Eating and Drinking in French Thought’, 20/7/2020 .
  • Co-organiser and Speaker - Public Engagement Restaurant Pop-up with Registered Charity The Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation, ‘Revolutions in French Food’, 3/12/16, London.
  • Invited Panellist - ‘Frogs and Snails’, Westminster Difference Festival, University of Westminster, 26/2/18.
  • BBC4, France on a Plate, Consultant, 2008.

 Promoting inclusion, diversity and accessibility via uptake of literature in translation

  • Judge - Society of Authors/Scott Moncrieff Prize for Translation, 2018 and 2010 (2018: Awarded the Society’s first ever translation prize for a graphic novel).
  • Moderator: Institut Français de Londres Book Club, Bonjour Tristesse, 19/6/14.

 Boosting Secondary MFL/Literature teaching via teacher CPD 

  • Plenary Lectures for Prince’s Teaching Institute Newly-qualified Teachers Days, London, 21/11/15; 29/11/14; 30/11/13 and Manchester, 7/12/13l  CPD Day, London, 30/11/12.
  • Co-organiser and Speaker x 2 Literature Study Days, RHUL 2017
  • Organiser - Comparative Literature and Culture Year 12 Art Writing Competition 2015 and 2014.
  • Organiser - x 2 Year 5 Routes into Languages Days, 2014.

Other work

Invited Papers at International Conferences/Symposia (last 5 years)

  • Houellebecq’s Dead Meat?: (Inter)textual Consumption and Carno-phallogocentrism in La Carte et le territoire’, at Houellebecq in Focus, Villanova University USA, 20/3/21.
  • ‘Feeding Flore-less Literary Posterity?: Playing with intertexts in La Carte et le territoire’, Houellebecq’s Cultural Transgressions, IMLR, London, 29/9/19.
  • ‘Who’s Messed Up? Women Writing and Thinking about Food in Late-capitalist France’, Centre for the Study of Contemporary Women’s Writing, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 1/12/17. 

Other Papers at International Conferences/Symposia (last 5 years)

  • ‘Leftovers and Lockdown: Re-thinking Eating with French Thought’, at 20th/21st-century French and Francophone Studies: An International Colloquium, Georgetown University. USA, 12/3/21.
  • ‘Houellebecq, UNESCO and the Future of France: Bad Food Fictions and Questionable Cures’, Society for French Studies, Cork, Republic of Ireland, 2/7/18.

UK Invited Contributions to Symposia/Roundtables/Workshop (last 5 years)

  • 'Inclusive Teaching’, at Women in German Studies Online Teaching Development Day, 8/10/21.
  • ‘La France ce n’est pas Michel Houellebecq’, Modern & Contemporary France Special Issue Launch, Goldsmiths, 14/2/19
  • ‘Leftover Readings: Eating, Drinking and Rethinking Fiction from Robbe-Grillet to Houellebecq’, Cambridge Modern French Research Seminar, 13/2/17.

Internal Contributions to Symposia/Workshops/Roundtables (last 5 years)

  • ‘Hot Chocolate: At What Cost?’, at COP26Forum: Sustainable Eating on Campus: A Long View, Royal Holloway, 9/11/21.
  • ‘Counting Thanks’, at Celebrating the Work of Colin Davis: A Symposium, Royal Holloway, 6/7/21.
  • ‘Ambivalent Food Thought: Tell Me What You (Don't) Eat and I Will Tell You What You Are (Not)’, at Unpalatable, Inedible and Indigestible: Exploring Boundaries, Constructs and Communities in Human Food Practices, Royal Holloway, 19/5/21.
  • Leftovers’ at Brief Interdisciplinary Encounters: Food, Royal Holloway, 12/10/20.

Other work

Conference/Seminar Organisation

  • Co-organiser (with Liz Schafer, Drama; Celia Martin-Puertas, Geography; and Jonathan Howe, Head of External Space), COP26 Forum: Eco Walk, Talk and Question, Royal Holloway, 8/11/21.
  • Co-organiser (with Judith Hawley, English), COP26 Forum, Food and Drink on the Brink: Sustainable Eating on Campus: A Long View, Royal Holloway, 9/11/21.
  • Co-organiser (with Bob Eaglestone, English; and Jon Hughes, Danielle Sands, Sarah Wright, LLC), Celebrating the Work of Colin Davis: A Symposium, Royal Holloway, 6/7/21.
  • Co-organiser (with Judith Hawley, English; Andrew Jotischky, History; Stella Moss, History; Erica Rowan, Classics), Unpalatable, Inedible and Indigestible: Exploring Boundaries, Constructs and Communities in Human Food Practices’/Two-day Scoping Symposium, Royal Holloway, 19-20/5/21’
  •  ‘Keywords in World-Literary Studies: The "Collective”’, Prof Pablo Mukherjee, LINKS (The London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies), IMLR, 6/11/18.
  • Cosmopolitanism' LINKS Sixth PG conference’ (The London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies), 4/6/16.
  • Creating Creative Criticism with Dr Stephen Benson and Dr Clare Connors’, LINKS (The London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies), 16/2/16.
  • ‘Digesting Texts: Comparative Approaches to Food’, Roundtable and discussion, LINKS,(The London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies), 20/1/15
  •  ‘The Value of Eating: Roundtable on Food Value and Gender: Mediated Consumption, Anxiety and Potentiality’, at HARC Dialogues, Science Museum, London, 13/3/14. http://backdoorbroadcasting.net/2014/03/food-value-and-gender-mediated-consumption-anxiety-and-potentiality/
  • ‘Beyond the Global City: Visual, Verbal and Virtual Experiences, International Colloquium’,London, 20-21/5/11. Open to scholars public and public and postgraduates, includes public podcast: http://beyondtheglobalcity.wordpress.com/
  • ‘ RHUL Christmas Arts Faculty Seminar: Feasting: Eating Drinking and Re-thinking’six specialist speakers followed by a roundtable with academics, food professionals, bloggers and TV producers disseminated by public podcast.
  • ‘Contemporary Women’s Writing in French: Recent Fiction’, 7 March 2009: organised speakers, logistics, funding and real-time and recorded public podcast.

 

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

French , DPhil, Oxford University

30 Sep 200030 Mar 2004

External positions

Editorial Board Member, French Cultural Studies: Editorial Board

1 Jan 2020 → …

Honorary Treasurer, The Society for French Studies

30 Jun 20161 Jul 2018

International Advisory Board Member , French Cultural Studies

1 Jan 201531 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • globalization
  • food studies
  • French fiction
  • French cinema
  • consumption
  • French and European Film, Modern French Literature and Thought, Critical Theory, Gender, Postcolonialism
  • food
  • comparative literature
  • Critical theory
  • gastronomy
  • still life
  • France
  • world literature
  • Literature
  • film
  • eating disorders
  • sustainable consumption
  • world food cultures
  • Disability in society
  • OSFED
  • eating disorders
  • disability classification
  • co-production
  • Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders