Projects per year
I am a historian of modern Europe with particular interests in modern French history and war. I am a graduate of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, the University of Leeds, and Royal Holloway, University of London. Prior to my appointment at Strathclyde, I was Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Durham and then Lecturer in Modern European History at the University of Edinburgh. Before moving into an academic career, I worked for a major financial services firm in London, specialising in Corporate Tax.
My first research project explored the memory and impact of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. My book, Under the Shadow of Defeat: The War of 1870-71 in French Memory (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), is the first wide-ranging analysis of how memories of the Franco-Prussian War impacted upon French political culture and identities, and analyses the first widespread war remembrance in Europe. This research was funded with grants from the AHRC, Royal Historical Society, University of London Central Research Fund, and Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. I am working on a new related project exploring the European impact of the Franco-Prussian War. I sit on the scientific committee organising the official Franco-German commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Franco-Prussian War led by the Souvenir Français.
My second book, Vichy's Double Bind: French Axis Entanglements and Relations with Fascist Italy, 1940-1943, is currently under review at Cambridge University Press. My research analyses relations between Vichy France and Fascist Italy at government level and locally in south-eastern France, Corsica and North Africa, and the Italian occupation of France. This project seeks to shift the focus of historical investigation away from analyses of collaboration and resistance that are conceived exclusively in Franco-German terms. This research has been funded by grants from the British Academy and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.
In 2016-18, I worked on a project funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 'Relations between Britain and France in World War Two', which involved collaborations with the British Embassy in Paris, the French Embassy in London, the Institut Français d’Ecosse and the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni.
I have also co-edited A Fascist Decade of War: 1935-45 in International Perspective, with Dr Marco Maria Aterrano, which was published by Routledge in 2020.
My research blog on the history of modern France at war can be found at: http://francehistory.wordpress.com/
I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am currently the Treasurer of the Society for the Study of French History. I am also a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.
My research interests lie primarily in the following areas:
- Vichy France
- The Franco-Prussian War
- French-Italian relations in the Second World War
- Memory and commemoration of war
- Relations between Britain and France in the Second World War
- Corsican nationalism, history and politics
I have recently completed the manuscript for my second book, Vichy's Double Bind: French Axis Entanglements and Relations with Fascist Italy, 1940-43. This book advances a significant new interpretation of the Vichy regime that governed France between 1940 and 1944. Challenging the often exclusive focus upon French encounters with the Nazis in much of the scholarship on France during the Second World War, this book argues that in its dealings with Fascist Italy, Vichy found itself confronted with a double bind. Offering the first wide-ranging study of French relations with Fascist Italy between 1940 and 1943 across France, North Africa and the Levant, this book suggests that Italy presented a set of challenges that had far-reaching consequences for Vichy’s pursuit of collaboration, its response to occupation and its domestic and foreign policies more broadly.
I teach the following undergraduate and postgraduate classes:
V1217 Modern Europe
V1303/V1440 France at War, 1870-1962
V1399/1706 Identity War and Revolution in Europe, 1789-1918
R1107/8 French Language 1a/1b
R1203/4 French Language 2a/2b
R1215 French Culture and History 2
R1315 French Culture and History 3
R1408 France since 1945
R1502 French Language (Interpreting)
R1506 French Studies 4 (Core Class)
History and French Dissertations
V1977 War, Sacrifice and the Nation in Europe, 1789-1918
Expertise & Capabilities
- Nineteenth and twentieth century French History
- Second World War, especially French-Italian relations and relations between Britain and France
- Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871
- First World War memory and commemoration
- Corsican nationalism and identity
- French History
- French-Italian relations
- World War Two
Research Output per year
Research output: Book/Report › Anthology
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter
Activities per year
Karine Varley (Organiser)
Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Organiser of major conference