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The University of Southampton
Languages, Cultures and Linguistics Part of Humanities

Professor Michael Kelly OBE PhD HonFCIL Officier des Palmes Académiques, Chevalier des arts et des lettres

Emeritus Professor of French

Professor Michael Kelly's photo

Professor Michael Kelly is Emeritus Professor of French in Modern Languages and Linguistics at the University of Southampton.

Mike is a specialist in modern French culture and society, especially the history of ideas and intellectuals, and on public policy in the area of languages and language education, in the UK and in Europe more broadly.

He studied French at Warwick University (BA and PhD), and lectured at University College Dublin, before being appointed Professor of French at Southampton. Mike has at different times been Head of Modern Languages and Linguistics and Head of Humanities. He directed a number of major UK projects, including LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies , Routes into Languages and Links into Languages. He has been a Board Member of the European Language Council since 1997. He has received honours from the French government for his work in promoting French studies, and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2014 for his services to higher education and European cooperation. He took retirement from the University in 2016.

He is currently working on languages in war and conflict, and on public policy in relation to languages. He recently published an edited volume on Languages after Brexit (Palgrave, 2017).’

Research interests

French culture and society

Mike works on French cultural history in the 20th century, especially the history of ideas and intellectuals. He has published widely on the cultural and intellectual reconstruction of France after the Second World War. He has also published several articles on relations between Britain and France in culture and ideas. He has recently published on intellectuals and religion in the 1930s, and is currently working on debates around atheism and secularism/ laïcité in both countries. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal French Cultural Studies , which he helped to found.

Language policy

Mike works on policy and practices relating to languages in war and conflict. Following an AHRC-funded project, Languages at War with Prof. Hilary Footitt (University of Reading) he has co-edited two books on the subject, and published a study of language issues during the UN and NATO peace-keeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the 1990s, with Dr Catherine Baker (University of Hull). He is co-editor with Prof. Footitt of a book series on Languages at War, with Palgrave Macmillan and is co-editing a Handbook on the subject.

Mike is particularly committed to strengthening the capability of people in the UK to communicate in languages other than English. He was a prime mover and member of the Nuffield Language Inquiry, which put languages on the public agenda in 2000. He is a Trustee of Speak to the future , the national campaign on languages, which aims to provoke a step change in the country's attitudes and achievements in language learning. He recently published an edited volume on Languages after Brexit. How the UK speaks to the world (Palgrave 2017).

Beyond the UK, Mike is concerned to improve the ability of European citizens to live in a multilingual and multicultural world. He completed a substantial project for the European Commission to develop a Profile for language teacher training across Europe (2004) which several EU member states have used in appraising their programmes for training language teachers. He led the ERASMUS-funded LanQua project working with 61 European partners to develop a toolkit for quality assurance in languages across Europe. He is Secretary of the European Language Council , and Editor of the European Journal of Language Policy/ Revue européenne de politique linguistique .

Mike has supervised and examined doctoral theses in several areas of modern French cultural studies, and in aspects of applied linguistics, including language education, discourse analysis and intercultural communication.

Mike has taught in most areas of modern French studies, including French thought, bande dessinée and the politics and society of contemporary France. He has also taught European and transnational cultural studies, and intercultural communication.

From 2000-2011 he was Director of the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, and was active in developing national strategies to increase the interest of students in studying these subjects, and at the same time working to encourage and disseminate more effective approaches to teaching and learning. Since then, he has directed LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies , which leads projects in the area of educational development at national and European levels, and offers a programme of professional development for staff in schools and universities.

Professor Michael Kelly
Building 65 Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

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