History of the Center

The Center for French and Francophone Studies was founded in 1983 and first funded by a grant for Excellence in Education from the Louisiana State Legislature in 1985. It has been designated a centre pluridisciplinaire (multidisciplinary center) and then a centre d'excellence by the French Embassy in New York. It collaborates closely with several international institutions: the Consulate General of France in New Orleans, the Cultural services of the French Embassy in New York, the Bureau of the Community Wallonie-Bruxelles in Louisiana, the Delegation of Quebec in Atlanta, and the Canadian Consulate in Dallas. The mission of the Center is to promote interdisciplinary research on the cultural practices, languages, and literatures of Louisiana and the Francophone world. The Center actively promotes research and teaching by supporting and organizing colloquia, seminars, and symposia, inviting world renowned scholars, critics, writers, and filmmakers to give lectures and conferences, and by providing stipends and grants to students. 

Directors of the Center for French and Francophone Studies

Name Term
Jeffrey Leichman Current
Alexandre Leupin 2015-2022
Sylvie Dubois 2008-2015
Bernard Cerquiglini   2004-2007
Pius Ngandu Nkashama  2001-2004
Assia Djebar  1997-2001
Nathaniel Wing (acting)  1994-1997
Edouard Glissant    1987-1994


Among others, the Center has organized the following events:

Year Event
2017-2019 LSU’s Center of French and Francophones Studies, alongside the Université des Antilles, received a $235,000 grant provided by the Partner University Fund, the FACE Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This grant is the largest amount awarded to the LSU French department and the largest ever to LSU for a collaboration between the LSU and French government. 
2011 "Dialogue de Louisiane/Louisiana Dialogues", workshop to promote dialogues between American and Francophone cultures 
2009 Symposium on "Louisiana: A History in Letters (L'histoire épistolaire de la Louisiane)"

Creation of The Francophone Heritage of Louisiana, A Compilation of a Corpus of Early Louisiana French Correspondence (FHL) and Louisiana Letters (LL), projects involving the electronic preservation of rare hand written, French language documents. Funding provided by grants from the French government

"Une première rencontre sur le dialogue entre la vallée de l'Ubaye, la Louisiane, et le Mexique"
("A First Meeting on the Historic Dialogue Between the Ubaye Valley, Louisiana, and Mexico")

Revisiting Flaherty's Louisiana Story, a collaborative film and media project


"L’énonciation des lieux/Le lieu de l’énonciation", a symposium that explored how place related to the understanding of the literary and artistic sensibility of North AmericanFrench speaking communities in the past thirty years and compares these communities with other Francophone groups throughout the world


"Contact of Cultures: The Haitian Factor in the Louisiana Purchase and Beyond", a symposium focusing on the Haitian influence of the Louisiana Purchase. Sponsored by the Center.


"Victor Hugo: Les Années d'exil 1851-1870", colloquium with panels that consisted of renowned Hugo scholars and critics.


"Creole Echoes: Francophone Music and Literature of 19th Century New Orleans", bilingual exhibit examining the music and literature of nineteenth century Creole New Orleans with an emphasis on Francophone citizens of the city.

1998 "Journées d'Histoire Franco-Louisianaise/France-Louisiana History Days", interdisciplinary colloquium with the objective to make the public aware of the vast resources of LSU.
1996 "Icono-Graphies" colloquium
1995 African and African-American Film Festival

"Poetic Voices" Colloquium

Co-sponsorship of the "African Film Festival" with the LSU Department of Geography and Anthropology


"Experiencing Languages in Louisiana" an examination of the problems and perceptions of "foreign language speakers" in Louisiana, Native Americans, Vietnamese, Spanish, African American English, Cajun, Creole


"Renvois d'ailleurs/Echoes from Elsewhere", a colloquium on multilingualism and cross - cultural communication in works of fiction, criticism and theory

Summer Teacher Institute and Colloquium: "Intertextuality in the Americas" co-sponsored by the NEH


"Deuxièmes Rencontres de Poésie (Second Poetry Symposium)", a presentation of French West Indian creole storytellers and Louisiana creole and Cajun storytellers.

Colloquium on "Surrealism"


"La Chose médiévale (The Medieval Thing)", a colloquium on medieval studies and contemporary interdisciplinary approaches to the field



"The Plantation System in the Americas": an international conference plantation economy, slavery, forms of culture, music, architecture, and oral expression that emerged from the plantations in the American South and the Caribbean.

1987  International colloquium on "Teaching French culture and Civilization" co-sponsored by the French, Belgian, and Canadian governments
1986  Lacan and the Human Sciences: An International Colloquium", a colloquium on psychoanalysis, philosophy, and literary interpretation


The Center has sponsored lectures and graduate seminars that included philosopher and critic Jacques Derrida, Nobel Prize winning poet Derek Walcott, Caribbean novelist and Goncourt prize winner Patrick Chamoiseau, post-colonial theorist Gyatri Spivak, novelist Pierre Michon, renowned scholars such as Ross Chambers (University of Michigan), Denis Hollier (Yale), Peter Brooks (Yale), Barbara Johnson (Harvard), Françoise Gaillard (University of Paris), Henri Meschonnic (University of Paris), François Weil (Ecole des Hautes Etudes), Pierre Guyotat, Jacques Henric, Catherine Millet, Valère Novarina, Jacques Roubaud and many more.