Francophone/postcolonial literature; colonial history; 18th-century culture
Teaching and Research
My teaching and research areas include francophone/postcolonial literatures and cinemas of North Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean and the cultural dimensions of migration and diaspora. I also teach and write about eighteenth-century French culture, particularly with regard to orientalism, colonialism and the history of slavery.
My most recent book, co-written with historian Myriam Cottias, is a critical re-edition of two mid twentieth-century novels by the Martinican writer, Mayotte Capécia. Our introductory essay explores the convergence of race, gender, colonialism and the Vichy regime that formed the context of these two polygraphic texts.
My latest monograph, Trading Places, examines the place of slavery in eighteenth-century French literature, philosophy and material culture, particularly textiles and furniture. It focuses on the longstanding silence surrounding colonial slavery and on processes of displacement and disavowal.
My current book project, After Violence, is about literature and cinema in contemporary Algeria. I look both at how memories of the ‘Black Decade’ of the 1990s are finding expression in the arts, and at new developments in Algerian culture, for example the establishment of new publishing ventures, and the emergence of new literary voices and forms.
Other work in progress includes an essay on the Thousand and one Nights in the Maghreb and a piece on Montesquieu’s Persian Letters as a migration narrative.
I’m also the co-director of Columbia’s Paris-Amman Middle-East/North Africa summer program, an intensive Arabic language course combined with a cultural and historical seminar.