Upcoming Event – Of Islands & Archives: Celebrating Île en île and World Literature in French

Celebrating Île en île and World Literature in French

DATE: Mon, November 16th, 6:00 PM (EST).
You can register here to access the Zoom link.

Please join us for a dialogue marking the culmination of two decades of research work building Île en île, a digital humanities archive documenting the cultures with especial focus on the literature of the world’s Francophone islands. A pioneering addition to the French-speaking Internet, Île en île has served to present to a global audience works by authors far removed from a Parisian “center.” Online since 1998, it is an extensive archive with biographies, bibliographies, excerpts of prose and poetry, and an audio and video archive.

Île en île will remain online, but is transitioning in 2020 to become a fixed archive. This is an opportune moment for this group of scholars to address the evolution of scholarly research and pedagogical methods of Francophone Studies, in geography, technology, and with parallel fields of the humanities. Join scholars Régine Michelle Jean-CharlesFrançoise LionnetThomas C. Spear, and Alex Gil who will address the transformations that have taken place in the last decades in the field of Francophone Studies as well as with the digital resources available to scholars, students, readers, and teachers.

Île en île features authors from French-speaking islands and their diaspora: from the Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti, and continental French Guiana), from the Indian Ocean (the Comoros – including Mayotte –, Madagascar, Mauritius and La Réunion), and from the South Pacific (New Caledonia and Polynesia).

See participants below:


Régine Michelle Jean-Charles is a Black feminist literary scholar and cultural critic specializing in francophone studies. She is an associate professor of French and African and African Diaspora Studies at Boston College. Her scholarship and teaching on world literatures in French includes Black France, Sub-Saharan Africa, Haiti and the Haitian diaspora. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an AM and PhD from Harvard University. She has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Mays Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She is the author of Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary (Ohio State University Press, 2014) as well as numerous essays that have appeared in edited volumes and journals such as American QuarterlyFrench ForumThe Journal of Haitian StudiesResearch in African LiteraturesPalimpsest, and Small Axe. She is currently working on two book projects: one on literary ethics in contemporary Haitian fiction and another on Haitian girlhood in literary and visual texts.

Alex Gil is the Digital Scholarship Librarian at Columbia University Libraries. He collaborates with faculty, students and library professionals leveraging computational and network technologies in humanities research, pedagogy and knowledge production. He coordinates the Butler Library Studio at Columbia University, a tech-light library innovation space focused on digital scholarship and pedagogy; co-founder and moderator of Columbia’s Group for Experimental Methods in the Humanities, a vibrant trans-disciplinary research cluster focused on experimental humanities; senior editor of sx archipelagos, a journal of Caribbean Digital Studies, and co-wrangler of The Caribbean Digital conference series. He is also founder and former chair of Global Outlook::Digital Humanities.

Thomas C. Spear is Professor of French at Lehman College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. Author of numerous articles on French and Francophone novelists, he specializes particularly on forms of autofiction. His publications as editor include two collective volumes of short texts by Haitian authors – Une journée haïtienne (2007, reprint 2020) and Une soirée haïtienne (2020) – and, with Colette Boucher, Paroles et silences chez Marie-Célie Agnant (2013). He is editor, since 1998, of Île en île, an archive featuring authors from French-speaking islands and their diasporas. He has two book-length projects in the works: a “sidafiction” (an AIDS memoir of the 1980s) and an autofiction set in the Midwest of the baby boom years. http://thomasspear.com

A past-President of the American Comparative Literature Association, Françoise Lionnet is Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and African and African American Studies at Harvard. She is also Distinguished Research Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles where she served as Director of the African Studies Center (2010-15) and Co-Director of the Mellon Postdoctoral Program “Cultures in Transnational Perspective” (2005-2015). Her current research is primarily on Indian Ocean literary, cultural, and historical studies, in relation to Atlantic and Caribbean Studies. Interested in the longue durée of colonialism from the eighteenth-century to the present, she edited a 2018 translation of the first Creole poet Évariste Parny. Among her other books: Writing Women and Critical Dialogues: Subjectivity, Gender and Irony and The Known and the Uncertain: Creole Cosmopolitics of the Indian Ocean (both published in Mauritius in 2012); The Creolization of Theory (2011); Minor Transnationalism (2007); Postcolonial Representations: Women, Literature, Identity (1995); and the pioneering Autobiographical Voices: Race, Gender, Self-Portraiture (1989).

This event is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at the Graduate Center, CUNY and co-sponsored by the Ph.D. Program in French.