Dr Madeleine Chalmers

Lecturer in French Studies

School/Department: School of Arts



Before joining Leicester in 2023, I completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies in French at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and held teaching positions at Wadham College (University of Oxford) and Durham University.

My research revives modern French avant-garde writings to engage critically with twenty-first-century questions in the fields of science, technology, and epistemology. By uncovering unacknowledged genealogies for our current preoccupations, I hope to articulate how highly particular texts function on their own terms – in their time and place – while allowing them a presence, now and in the future.

My first monograph, French Technological Thought and the Nonhuman Turn (forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press, 2024) traces a genealogy of thinking and writing about technology, while my current research project – DIY Epistemologies: France’s Alternative Intellectual History – deepens my exploration of eclecticism and bricolage in French intellectual culture by highlighting their intersections with cognitive and neurological diversity.


Selected publications


French Technological Thought and the Nonhuman Turn. Forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press, December 2024


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“Unconjugating Community with Fernand Deligny and Jean-Luc Nancy,” in Paragraph, 6,000 words, forthcoming July 2024

“Do it Yourself: Bernard Stiegler as Mystagogic Bricoleur,” in Philosophy Today, 6,000 words, forthcoming 2024

“Introduction: French Perspectives on Conflict,” in French Perspectives on Conflict, special issue of Journal of Romance Studies, Vol. 22, No. 3 (2022), 303-09

“(Ré)apprentissage profond: Raymond Roussel face au nonhuman turn,” in La Revue des lettres modernes: Raymond Roussel 7 (2022), 73-88

“The Surreal Technics of André Breton and Gilbert Simondon,” French Studies, 75.2 (2021), 205-20

“Living as We Dream: Automatism and Automation from Surrealism to Stiegler,” Nottingham French Studies, 59.3 (2020), 368-83

“Voice and Presence in L’Ève future and Le Surmâle,” Dix-Neuf, 22.1-2 (2018), 115-29


Book Chapters

“AI Narratives and the French Touch,” in Imagining AI: How the World Sees Intelligent Machines, ed. by Stephen Cave and Kanta Dihal (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023), 39-54

“Verbal Techniques,” in The Routledge Companion to Surrealism, ed. by Kirsten Strom (New York: Routledge, 2022), 90-97

“Villiers de l’Isle-Adam,” in The Literary Encyclopedia, ed. Robert Clark et al.,<> (2020)


Edited Journal Issues

French Perspectives on Conflict, special issue of Journal of Romance Studies, Vol. 22, No. 3 2022).



Emmanuel Falque, “Wrestling with the Angel,” in Fragility and Transcendence: Essays on the Thought of Jean-Louis Chrétien, ed. by Jeffrey Bloechl (Washington, DC: Rowman & Littlefield), 63-81


I would be delighted to hear from prospective graduate students who share my interests, in particular:

  • modern and contemporary French literature and thought
  • historic avant-gardes
  • intersections between science, technology, and French culture


I currently teach on the following modules in French:

  • FR1014 20th Century Literature
  • FR2018 French Language (Post-Beginners)


I am the Assistant Editor of French Studies Bulletin and member of the executive committee of the Society for French Studies. Within the University, I am joint Admissions Tutor for Modern Languages with Dr. Emma Staniland, and a member of the executive committee for Literary Leicester 2024.


Selected awards

2023    Durham University Discretionary Award for Excellent Contribution

2023    Paragraph Essay Prize: ‘Unconjugating Community with Fernand Deligny and Jean-Luc Nancy’

2018    Society for French Studies R. Gapper Postgraduate Essay Prize: ‘The Surreal Technics of André Breton and Gilbert Simondon’


My research interests include:

  • intellectual history
  • science and technology studies
  • mystic theology
  • avant-gardes




  • D.Phil. Medieval and Modern Languages (French), University of Oxford, 2021
  • M.Phil. European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures, University of Cambridge, 2017
  • B.A. (Hons.) Modern Languages: French, University of Oxford, 2016


Further qualifications

  • SEDA Supporting Learning Award, University of Oxford, 2019
  • Diploma in Translation, Chartered Institute of Linguists, 2016
  • Online Course in Subtitling, University College London, 2015


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