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What was your previous position and where?Before becoming an assistant professor of French at LSU, I was a full-time instructor at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City and a Ph.D student in the Department of French and Romance Philology at Columbia. I also worked as assistant to the famed specialist in comparative literature, Edward Said, in the University Seminar on the Theory of Literature.
What brought you to LSU?One of the members of the University Seminar on the Theory of Literature, Mary Ann Caws, professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, suggested I apply to LSU. Her former colleague at the University of Kansas, John Erickson, had become the chair of the Department of French & Italian at LSU and was looking for a specialist in avant-garde movements who had editorial experience to work with his journal, L'Esprit Createur. While at Columbia, I had been one of the founding members of the editorial board of professor Sylvere Lotringer's journal Semiotexte. I had visited Louisiana twice before and was very interested in living in the one region of the country which has an indigenous francophone culture. Moreover, John Erickson, who shared my interest in avant-garde movements, told me that LSU was developing an interdisciplinary program in comparative literature. For someone with my interests in art, anthropology, literary theory and philosophy, this was very appealing.
What is your research interest?My research interests are quite diverse, from intermedia studies, which examine the relationships between literature and other art forms and discourses, to studies about place and regional specificity in bi-lingual areas such as Belgium and Mauritius. I often study hybrid forms such as the graphic novel and artist's book. I have studied the role of the literary review throughout the 20th century and my current book deals with the poet-philosopher Michel Deguy's role in disseminating the poetry of the Americas throughout the francophone world.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?Three areas are of special interest to me: the Program in Comparative Literature, which works closely with other interdisciplinary programs such as women's and gender studies, film and media studies, and Louisiana and Caribbean studies, as well as with creative writing; the Atlantic studies initiative; and francophone studies in bi-lingual areas such as Belgium, Mauritius and Canada.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?I have wonderful colleagues and talented students who profit from being in this diverse and interesting place, which is unlike any other part of the United States. Louisiana is part of the francophone world and we benefit from the generosity of foreign governments such as France, Belgium and Canada. Baton Rouge is a community where I have been able to indulge some of my passions for historic preservation and for music. I am in awe of a university which accomplishes what it does with such limited resources.
What are your major accomplishments?My last book "Le Peintre comme modèle : Du Surréalisme à l’Extrême contemporain," published by Presses Universitaires du Septentrion, was awarded the Prix Debrousse-Gas-Forestier by the French Académie des Beaux-Arts in 2007 and it also was awarded the Modern Language Association Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for the Outstanding Critical Study in French and Francophone Literature of 2007. The French Ministry of Culture and Communication inducted me as a Chevalier into the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2009. I have been on the editorial boards of several excellent journals in addition to Semiotexte and L'Esprit Createur - Pleine Marge, mondesfrancophones.com, Etudes Francophones and the CHIASMA monograph series published by Rodopi. I have held elected and appointed positions in the Modern Language Association and was just named to the governing council of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. I am also proud of the accomplishments of my former doctoral students in both French and Comparative Literature who are teaching in four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. and aboard. The Comparative Literature Program at LSU has enormous potential. The students are outstanding and I hope we may have endowed scholarships in the future to attract many more highly qualified students.