Professor Andrew Hussey OBE

Contact details

Professor Andrew Hussey OBE
BA Hons (Manchester), M.Phil., PhD (Manchester)
Professor of Cultural History, School of Advanced Study
Central Services of the School
Reid Hall 4 rue de Chevreuse 75006 Paris
Email address:

Research Summary and Profile

Research interests:
Communities, Classes, Races, Contemporary History, Cultural memory, Language and Literature (French), Literatures in a modern language, Philosophy, Politics, Socialism, Communism, Anarchism
Africa, Europe
Summary of research interests and expertise:

Professor Andrew Hussey is a native of Liverpool and studied at the universities of Manchester and Lyon III. He started his career as a journalist writing for Julie Burchill's Modern Review and since has written for every major British newspaper as well as the TLS the LRB and the Literary Review. These days he writes mainly for the New Statesman and the Guardian/Observer.

Professor Andrew Hussey’s research focuses on extremist tendencies in French and North African politics and culture. As an essayist, broadcaster and public speaker, Professor Hussey communicates this research far beyond academic audiences to reach a general public through his engagement with French and North African culture and its relation to the English-speaking world. His work has led to debate about the contemporary significance of French and North African cultures in the 21st century.

Hussey’s latest book is called THE FRENCH INTIFADA: THE LONG WAR BETWEEN FRANCE AND ITS ARABS and was published by Granta in the UK and Faber and Faber in the US in 2014. It has had a largely positive critical reception, but has also been attacked for promoting a pessimistic view of present and future conflicts and the relative failure of counter-terrorism in Europe. Notwithstanding translations into other languages and countries are underway – including France where the book (in English) has already sparked fierce debate.

Hussey’s current projects include a book HEROIN: A CULTURAL HISTORY. This is intended as a study of how heroin has had an impact on ‘creativity’ in the West, and functions as a way of funding and organized crime and terrorism in its wake.

In September 2014, Hussey will publish in French GUY DEBORD. This is the French translation Hussey’s book of 2001, THE GAME OF WAR: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF GUY DEBORD. This was the biography of the French thinker Guy Debord, who killed himself in 1994 and who until then was known as one of the key ‘strategists’ of May 68 and who had been involved in Red Brigade terrorism in France and Italy. This book was ‘International Book of the Year’ in the TLS in 2001 but is now finally published in French after a series of legal wrangles. It has a preface by Will Self and is published at the moment when Debord’s writing has become part of the French national curriculum.

Hussey is also currently writing ISIDORE ISOU: UNE VIE, a biography of the French-Romanian poet Isidore Isou. Its significance is that it resurrects the experience of Romanian Jews in 1930s French-speaking Romania.

Since 2001 Hussey has published long essays in The Guardian, The Observer, The Financial Times and the New Statesman investigating the link between intellectual violence and real violence in French and North African culture. Hussey has given 48 invited lectures to non-academic audiences. These include the Cheltenham Literary Festival, The South Bank, The ICA, Free University of Berlin, The British Council Algeria. His books appear on university syllabuses across the world, not only in Departments of French but also history, urbanism, cultural studies.

Spoken Written
Italian Intermediate -
French Fluent -
Spanish Fluent -
Publication Details

Related publications/articles:

Date Details
01-Dec-2015 Georges Bataille and Literary Fascism in France


 (2015) (in press) in Bataille, Mark Short (ed.)

01-Oct-2015 Insurrections en France, Du Maghreb Colonial Aux Emeutes de Banlieues, Histoire d’une langue guerre.


(2015) L’Artilleur, Paris

28-Jun-2015 Samar Yazbek: ‘Syria has been hung, drawn and quartered’


(2015) Observer. Nominated for Amnesty International Prize

21-Jun-2015 The History of Modern France; How the French Think – reviews


 (2015) The Guardian

15-Jun-2015 The Return of the Post-colonial Repressed and the New Anti-Semitism in France


(2015) (in press) Bulletin of the Institut Fritz Bauer, Frankfurt

10-May-2015 Le Corbusier, Piaf, the feuding Le Pens … the wartime rifts that still divide France

 (2015) The Guardian

03-May-2015 La Haine 20 years on: what has changed?


 (2015) The Guardian

15-Mar-2015 Paul Bocuse: god of French food


 (2015) The Guardian

19-Jan-2015 The French Intifada, The Long War Between France and Its Arabs


(2015) Granta UK, Faber USA. ISBN-13: 978-1847082596. To fully understand both the social and political pressures wracking contemporary France—and, indeed, all of Europe—as well as major events from the Arab Spring in the Middle East to the tensions in Mali, Andrew Hussey believes that we have to look beyond the confines of domestic horizons. As much as unemployment, economic stagnation, and social deprivation exacerbate the ongoing turmoil in the banlieues, the root of the problem lies elsewhere: in the continuing fallout from Europe’s colonial era. Combining a fascinating and compulsively readable mix of history, literature, and politics with his years of personal experience visiting the banlieues and countries across the Arab world, especially Algeria, Hussey attempts to make sense of the present situation. In the course of teasing out the myriad interconnections between past and present in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Beirut, and Western Europe, The French Intifada shows that the defining conflict of the twenty-first century will not be between Islam and the West but between two dramatically different experiences of the world—the colonizers and the colonized.

10-Jan-2015 Paris attacks leave my city asking: how do we react in the face of this horror?


 (2015) The Guardian

07-Dec-2014 La Santé prison: visitors welcome


(2014) The Observer

01-Dec-2014 Tangiers, Capital of Treason


in Paul Bowles - The New Generation: Do You Bowles?, Anabela Duarte (ed.), Brill, 2014, pp. 100-123, ISBN 13: 9789042039087

05-Oct-2014 Napoleon the Great review – an entertaining and deeply forensic examination


(2014) The Observer

25-Sep-2014 Guy Debord , la société du spectacle et son heritage punk


Will Self (Preface), Marguerite Baux (Translator) (2014) Editions Globe, pp. 456,  avec un preface de Will Self. 

01-Sep-2014 The Challenge of North Africa

Edited Book

 A. Hussey and M. Rose (eds.) (2014) SENAR/British Council. ISBN 978-0-86355-758-3

01-Sep-2014 Algiers Underground : A Psychogeographer's guide


 in The Challenge of North Africa, Andrew Hussey and Martin Rose (eds), SENAR/British Council, 2014, pp. 101-115

01-Jan-2008 Paris, Ville rebelle


Paris, ville rebelle est le tome 2 de Paris, ville catin, couvrant cette fois-ci la période 1800-2005. L'auteur y poursuit sa dissection du mythe parisien. Nous sommes toujours loin d'une sociologie ou d'une Histoire soporifiques : le livre est rempli de descriptions de lieux et de personnages plus vrais que nature. Les couleurs se mêlent aux références pour former un véritable roman, loin des cartes postales figées. Le résultat est une nouvelle cartographie de la capitale, recomposée à travers les yeux des marginaux et des rebelles, des artistes et des classes de l'ombre. Plutôt que le seul champ de Mars, c est aussi Belleville que l'on explore, ses ouvriers et immigrés. Plutôt que la seule jeunesse bohème du quartier latin, nous plongeons aussi dans le coeur des Halles. L'auteur nous entraîne dans les recoins les plus obscurs, révélant des faits que d'autres historiens préfèrent taire de peur de se salir les mains. Qui sait par exemple qu'un groupe important de Communards a été assassiné au 19ème siècle tout près de l'actuelle tombe de Jim Morrisson, où les adolescents viennent aujourd hui poser des fleurs en chantant ? Outre sa fascination pour l'anarchie, Hussey nous dresse aussi une histoire de la scène littéraire et artistique : Victor Hugo, Balzac, Georges Bataille, Sartre et les existentialistes, Guy Debord et le situationnisme, jusqu'à Michel Houellebecq, que l'auteur a longuement rencontré. Ce livre est une analyse vivante et polyphonique de la façon dont le pouvoir tente depuis deux cent ans de museler l'esprit rebelle de la capitale, qui de temps en temps explose, d'être trop pressionné, comme ce fut le cas en mai 68.

10-Apr-2007 Paris, Ville Catin


Paris, ville des arts et de l'élégance, du raffinement parfumé, de la poésie romantique ? Qui croit encore à ce cliché de surface ? Le vrai Paris s'est au fil des siècles construit sur autre chose que de la ouate : du sang, de la boue et du sperme. C'est la thèse soigneusement et passionnément démontrée par Andrew Hussey, érudit iconoclaste tellement amoureux de la capitale française qu'il en accepte tous les vices passés. Scènes de débauche, cannibalisme, corruption, massacres, famines, prostitution, maladies et autres réjouissances colmatent les fondations de cette ville sublimement monstrueuse. Il fallait un Anglais pour scruter sans chichis le roman de Paris, à travers les yeux des petites gens, des bas-fonds, des classes dangereuses et des insurgés. La Grande Histoire n'est pourtant pas négligée - on croise dans ce récit titanesque les plus grands noms, de Philippe le Bel à Catherine de Médicis -, mais elle montre son vrai visage, cruel et fou. Best-seller dans les pays anglo-saxons, voici un regard joyeusement sombre sur la Ville Lumière, qui fera date.

25-Mar-2006 Paris, The Secret History (Penguin UK, BLoomsbury USA)


Paris arouses strong emotions. In its long and vast history, it has been variously represented as a prison, a paradise and a vision of hell. It has also been characterised as a beautiful woman, a sorceress and a demon. As Andrew Hussey shows in this remarkable book, literature is an accurate reflection of daily life: Paris really is made up of violently different spaces and multiple personalities, always at odds with each other and often in noisy collision. It has been like this for nearly two thousand years. Like Peter Ackroyd's biography of London, Andrew Hussey's book on Paris makes no claim to be a definitive history. Instead, it is an account of the city's history from the point of those who experienced its citizenry. The city itself is like a palimpsest: the very stones and street names allude to its often violent and turbulent past. It is a city of secret adventures, of hidden meanings which, on journeys from royal palaces to bars, brothels and opium dens, this book uncovers. Covering two thousand years of Paris' history, this is a sweeping, vivid portrait of an endlessly fascinating city.

01-Jan-2005 Writing Tangier (Abdelmaalik University)

Edited Book

Conference proceedings from a conference held in Tangier in 2004

01-Jan-2002 The Beast at Heaven's Gate: Georges Bataille and the Art of Transgression

Edited Book

The conference proceedings of an event held in Barcelona to 'celebrate' Bataille's centenary.

07-Oct-2001 The Game of War: The Life and Death of Guy Debord


Since his death in 1994 (when he put a bullet through his heart in his lonely farmhouse) Guy Debord has been hailed as one of the key thinkers of the age. In Britain and the United States, his theories on the 'spectacle' of modern life were simultaneously hailed as deadly truths by underground subversives and accorded the highest academic prestige. In the same way, the Situationist International (SI), a volatile group of artists, revolutionaries and intellectuals which he led through the 1950s and 1960s, is considered to be the most important art movement since Dada and the Surrealists. Debord himself was a welter of contradictions, whose public life was entirely predicated upon the singlemindedness of his revolutionary intentions, but who privately sought oblivion in infamy, exile and alcoholism. Implicated in the events of May 1968, Italian terrorism and the murder of his friends, and under surveillance by the French secret police for over a decade, he mixed in elite art, business and political circles, and has had admirers and devotees of all political colours and ranks. This biography is an appraisal of a lone and defiant figure whose story follows and, at one historic moment in 1968, appears to lead the drift of art and politics in post-war Paris. 'It could almost be believed that I was the only person to have loved Paris,' Debord said. Then, almost with a shrug, 'but no one has twice raised Paris to revolt.'

02-Feb-2000 The Inner Scar: The Mysticism of Georges Bataille


Drawing on texts the French thinker wrote between 1938 and 1947, Hussey addresses the question and challenge of Bataille's relation to mysticism, examining the relation between his account of an inner experience of lost identity, and how he parallels it to traditional forms of religious mysticism

01-Jan-1996 The Hacienda Must be Built: On the legacy of Situationist Revolt


This volume details essays and documents relating to an international conference on the Situationist International held at the Hacienda nightclub in Manchester, England, January 1996.

Professional Affiliations

Professional affiliations:

Name Activity
Conseil de L'Ecole Doctorale de la Sorbonne Member
Hammamet Conference Fellow
Royal College of Defense Studies Visiting Professor
Institut Fritz Bauer Research Fellow


Name Type Activity Start date End date
C.K. Scott Prize for Literary Translation Publications related Judge 01-Aug-2013 31-Jul-2016
Relevant Events

Related events:

Date Details
27-Apr-2015 Twenty Years of Hate

 with Geoff Bird, BBC Radio 4

08-Apr-2015 Charlie Hebdo Aftermath

 with Geoff Bird, Channel 4 News

Other editing/publishing activities:

Date Details
2015 Francosphères

 Editor. Liverpool University Press. Two issues per year. ISSN: 2046-3820 (Print), 2046-3839 (Online)

Consultancy & Media
Media experience:
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