Dr Claire White is a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where she studied French and German. She went on to complete her PhD thesis on ‘Work and Leisure in Late Nineteenth-Century French Culture’ at Clare College. In 2011, she took up a Research Fellowship at Peterhouse, Cambridge, before being appointed to a University Lectureship in the French Department in 2012. She held these two posts concurrently until she joined King’s College London in 2016.
Claire specialises in nineteenth-century French literature and art. Her book, Work and Leisure in Late Nineteenth-Century French Literature and Visual Culture: Time, Politics and Class, appeared with Palgrave Macmillan in 2014. It includes chapters on the works of novelist Émile Zola, poet Jules Laforgue, and Neo-Impressionist painter Maximilien Luce. The book assesses how representations of work and leisure became the vehicle for class anxieties, utopian fantasies, and reflections on the terms of cultural production in the years between the Paris Commune and the turn of the century. She has also published, in article form, on aspects of intellectual history, labour politics, and utopianism. Her next book project is a study of Zola’s negotiations with idealism. It revisits the ‘war’ waged by the naturalist writer on idealism – understood as a philosophy and an aesthetics –, and looks at how this struggle shaped his fiction.
At the Thinking Work conference, Claire will be speaking on the subjet of digging.