Leverhulme Research Fellowship for Katherine Ibbett

13 April 2021

Congratulations to Professor Katherine Ibbett, the Caroline de Jager Tutorial Fellow in French, who has been awarded a one-year Leverhulme Research Fellowship to work on her book project Liquid Empire: France Writes the River, 1530-1700

The project follows literary rivers across texts from France and the Americas, thinking about those rivers as tributaries to a wider oceanic history. In exploring rivers from the Seine to the Mississippi, across a period of time from France’s earliest Atlantic ambitions to its codification of the slave trade, it asks how the small scale of riverbank writing paradoxically allows us to trace France’s expansionist poetics and politics. 

Professor Ibbett has already carried out substantial research for this project in libraries in the UK, France, the US and Canada, and for most of this year she aims to sit tight at home in Oxford (which even after this year she still quite likes) and write a draft of the book. Next spring she plans to spend some time in Paris and Aix to look at archival material for a final chapter. She says: ‘It’s been a lot of work keeping things afloat during the pandemic, and it’s been very hard indeed to find time for research. I’m so grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for allowing me to get back to this project, and to María del Pilar Blanco, my colleague in Modern Languages, and Valerie Worth as Senior Tutor, for supporting both my application and my replacement.’