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Ayshka Sene
Research Associate



Ayshka joined the Department of Sociology in March 2021 as a Research Associate on the ‘Archiving the Inner City Project: Race and the Politics of Urban Memory’ (directed by Gareth Millington and funded by the Leverhulme Trust). The project explores the contested ways that the times and spaces of the twentieth century ‘inner city’ are made legible in the present, focusing on sites in London, Paris and Philadelphia.

Ayshka studied Modern Languages at the University of Bath and Cardiff University where she received her PhD in 2018. Her doctoral research on the history and memory of British women interned in Occupied France was funded by the AHRC. Ayshka previously worked as a Research Fellow at Nottingham Trent University and a Research Associate on the EU-funded H2020 project, 'Unsettling Remembering and Social Cohesion in Transnational Europe' (UNREST) at the University of Bath. Ayshka was also an Archival Researcher on the Discovery Channel documentary, 'World War II: Witness to War' in 2018.

Ayshka’s doctoral research focused on the experiences of British women interned in Besançon and Vittel, two Nazi camps in Eastern France during the Second World War. It mobilised archival material in Britain and France, oral history interviews, memoirs, letters and interviews undertaken at various points since the war. Her work highlights the importance of 'Britishness' in internees' negotiation of the Occupation and how national identity has shaped the inclusion of their experiences in cultural memories of the war in Britain and France.

Ayshka also specialises in the creation of online learning materials; she has produced a podcast on disease, contagion and confinement in France’s overseas penal colonies (‘Podcasts from the bagne’) and a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the memory of conflict and violence in 20th-century Europe.



Ayshka’s research interests include:

  • The history and memory of the Second World War in France and Britain
  • National identity and belonging in France
  • Oral history theory and practice

Ayshka’s research engages with Francophone and Memory studies. Her work focuses on the history and memory of British women interned in France during the Second World War, in particular the intergenerational transmission of memory and the intersection of these familial accounts with national memories and myths in popular culture.

Her research also questions how national identity shaped these women’s lives and whether their experiences have been remembered in France and Britain. Ayshka is keen to explore how contested memories are represented by museums and heritage organisations in France.


Selected publications

  • Sené, A. 2023. 'The Golden Cage: The Orphan Story of British Women and Internment in Vittel' In: Carr, G and Pistol, R (eds) British Internment and the Internment of Britons 1939-1945: Camps, History and Heritage. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 2023.
  • Sené, A. and Millington, G. 2023. 'Archiving the Inner City' [Podcast]
  • Sené, A, ‘There’s no place like home’: Discovering narratives of Britishness and belonging amongst internees in Vittel. 2022. In preparation.
  • Sene, AL, Clarke, D & Parish, N 2021, Taking Agonism Online: Creating a Mass Open Online Course to Disseminate the Findings of the UNREST Project. in S Berger & W Kansteiner (eds), Agonistic Memory and the Legacy of 20th Century Wars in Europe. pp. 179-202.
  • Sené, A, 2020. Podcasts from the bagne [Podcast].
  • Sené, A, Parish, N, 2019. ‘How we remember war and violence: theory and practice UNREST MOOC.’ Bath: University of Bath Research Data Archive.

Contact details

Dr Ayshka Sené
Research Associate
Department of Sociology
University of York
YO10 5GD