The LSU Center for French and Francophone Studies (CFFS) is a member of the Centers
of Excellence Network, designated by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
The mission of the CFFS is to promote the development of French and Francophone culture
and scholarship at LSU and in Louisiana more broadly.
The CFFS serves as a research and pedagogy hub bringing together members of the LSU community who share an interest in French and global Francophone studies, including the Department of French Studies which houses the CFFS and is a close collaborator in its programming. As part of its mission, the CFFS seeks to continuously engage, both in person and virtually, with scholars and students across all units at LSU to promote interdisciplinary programming around French culture. This includes collaborations with International Programs, the Office of Research and Development, the LSU Rural Life Museum, and LSU University Press.
In addition to its role within LSU, the CFFS serves the broader community, including the Friends of French at LSU, the Louisiana Museum of Art, Whitney Plantation, the Consulate General of France in New Orleans, and regional higher-ed institutions. Through public scholarship and cultural events that reinforce the continued importance of French in South Louisiana, the CFFS affirms Louisiana’s deep historical and cultural connections to the broader Francophone world. To that end, the CFFS also sponsors international exchanges with France, Canada, Francophone countries in Europe and Africa, and the French Antilles.
The CFFS will accomplish its goals by fully or partially sponsoring colloquia, lectures and workshops on arts, humanities, and social sciences in Louisiana and global French communities in support of its mission, and will seek internal and external funding to support all of its activities on a continuous basis.
Director: Jeffrey Leichman
Jeffrey M. Leichman (he/him) is Jacques Arnaud Associate Professor in the Department of French Studies at Louisiana State University and Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies. Professor Leichman’s research focuses on performance cultures from the early modern period through the present, with three main areas of concentration: early modern European and colonial theatre; immersive digital humanities; and performance in cinema. Recent publications include work on New Wave film director Jacques Rivette, in dialogue with eighteenth-century polymath philosopher Denis Diderot and (French Studies 75.1); representations of Native Americans in eighteenth-century French comic theatre (in Rêver le Nouveau Monde, 2022); pedagogical approaches to Aimé Césaire and Pierre Corneille (in MLA Options for Teaching French Neoclassical Tragedy, eds. Bilis and McClure); and computer-designed procedural narrative as historiography (in Modes of Play in Eighteenth-Century France, eds. Falaky and McGinnis). He is also co-editor with Karine Bénac-Giroux of Colonialism and Slavery in Performance: Theatre and the Eighteenth-Century French Caribbean (Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment/Liverpool UP, 2021), and the author of the monograph Acting Up: Staging the Subject in Enlightenment France (Bucknell UP, 2016; reviews here). In 2018-2019, Mr. Leichman was a fellow in residence at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Nantes, France.
A digital humanist with a focus on simulation and immersive environments for literary-historical research, Professor Leichman was the principal investigator for the NEH-funded Interactive VR Simulation of an Eighteenth-Century Paris Faire Theatre: VESPACE (HAA 266501-19), and co-directs Virtual Theatres in the French Atlantic World: Urbanism and Spectacle (18th-19th centuries) with Dr. Pauline Beaucé with support from the Thomas Jefferson Fund of the French Foreign Ministry’s FACE Council. As Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies, Mr. Leichman is looking forward to collaborating with scholars and centers from around the country and the world at LSU. In addition to serving as an incubator for doctoral student research initiatives, the LSU CFFS will curate public-facing scholarly events around the global Enlightenment and performance studies, with a special focus on collaborative digital projects that look beyond the statistical capacities of computing to reconceive French studies as an inclusive, engaging, and intellectually vital center for twenty-first century humanistic inquiry.
Assistant Director: Todd Jacob
Assistant to the Chair
Office: 416B Hodges
Graduate Research Assistant: Rachel Kirk
Rachel Kirk is a doctoral student in French Studies interested in the representations of environmental justice and resistance to colonialism in literature, art, and oral histories in the Francophone world. She has led several high school and university intercultural education programs in metropolitan France, Spain, Morocco, Martinique, and the U.S. South. She was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Rabat, Morocco and she has a Master’s in International Education Development from Columbia University and a B.A. in Political Science and French from Virginia Tech.