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Sean Killackey

Sean Killackey

In this current day when there seems to be a lot of talk about which is more important, STEM or humanities studies, I am excited about texts that are 270 years old. That might seem contradictory, but my research into the literature of the Enlightenment looks at precisely the origins of these tensions and their relevance for today. When I’m reading Bernardin de St. Pierre’s novel Paul et Virginie, or Buffon and Daubenton’s Histoire Naturelle, or even Raynal (and Diderot’s) Histoire des Deux Indes, I’m impressed at how what we will eventually call science functions with humanities, as a part of humanities perhaps, to write a better future for humankind. The broad concepts I work with fall under the umbrella terms of disenchantment and re-enchantment, and it’s all about how authors and texts in the 18th century strip away mystical explanations for the functioning of the physical world, observe carefully to record the world as they see it, and transmit that experience in a way that conveys a context of knowledge with meaning and a sense of our place in the universe. In writing my dissertation, I hope to provide some new tools for readers to explore these and other texts, to descend into the archeology of thought itself (with help from Foucault) and shed some light on how differently western culture conceived of knowledge, meaning, and creative work 200 to 300 years ago at a moment when our modern paradigm was taking shape. I’m also thinking a lot about how engraved illustrations played a role in these projects, so I hope to see how early modern print culture studies can speak to the interplay of word and image in particular editions of the works I study.

This has been a fascinating voyage that has come a long way from my first encounters with Baudelaire’s darkly romantic poems as an undergraduate at St. Olaf College. My time at University of Wisconsin-Madison for my Master’s degree helped to round out a comprehensive knowledge of six centuries of French literature and introduce me to the pedagogy concepts that serve me in teaching my classes every day.

Alexandre Dubois

Alexandre Dubois

Statement of Research:
My work analyses modern nihilist literature as a reenactment of Gnosticism. I assert that the illusions of a Judeo-Christian God that ceased to be divine are wiped out, for another divine realm is asserted in which lies the true identity of humankind. In search of new literary aesthetics through libertinism and the celebration of evil, nihilist writers broke any morality or value that Western society supported. My research centers on the study of the philosophical and political stance of nihilist literature, embodied in the knowledge of an outside world located beyond good and evil – a territory anywhere out of what society offers and in which possibilities of existence are to be renewed.

Education:
MA, French Studies, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, France (2014)
This degree work included a one year of studies at the University of Minnesota

License, French Studies, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, France (2009-12)
This degree of work included a one year of studies at the University of Birmingham

Agnes Schaffauser

Agnès Schaffauser

I am a first year PhD student in the Department of French & Italian focusing in post-colonial literature, and especially Maghrebi and Beur literature. My research interests also include gender studies and psychoanalysis. For my thesis, I will focus on clandestine immigration writings. Before my MA in French at the U of M, I completed a BA in English at the University of Paris VIII–Vincennes and an MA in American Literature at the University of Toulouse II - Le Mirail and at the University of Sussex.

Kate Droske

Kate Droske

Bonjour! My name is Kate Droske, and my current research on epistolary expression of Quebec is taking me into the sometimes delightful and sometimes disturbing realms of yetis and trolls—two monstrous, liminal figures that haunt the contemporary epistolary imaginary. Letter scholar Vincent Kaufmann describes the author-correspondent as ‘literature’s yeti,’ while those who seemingly sabotage correspondence online are frequently dubbed ‘internet trolls.’  I track these two liminal beings in contemporary correspondence as a way of rethinking the material in relationship to the letter, as well as the bodies of writing that can be classified as “epistolary” and that can engage in epistolary exchange.  I am writing my findings in the final chapter of my dissertation, which I will be defending in summer 2016.

Amgad Serour

Amgad Serour

Research Interests:
I grew up in Egypt. I received a BA in French from Cairo University and an MA, again in French, from the University of Western Ontario. In my MA work I looked at the role of different media—novels, films and graphic novels—in defining the relationship between imagination, memory and space. My doctoral work focuses on spectatorship and imagination in French twentieth century avant-garde cinema and literature. I research how avant-garde cinema and literature in interwar and postwar France participated in the emergence of new ways of spectating and imagining space, memory, and history.

Degrees:
BA, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
MA, University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada

Portrait of Abou

Abou-Bakar Mamah

Research Interests:
Previous:
My DEA dissertation topic «Démaîtrise et Déconstruction dans le roman kouroumaen» underscored the constant concern of the critics to look into the writings of the Ivorian novelist, Ahmadou Kourouma, for the means involved in exposing the situation of the Africans in the turmoil of the sociopolitical challenges born from the independences and especially the successful experience in the Africanization of his writing, in other words, the subversion of the French language. Also, it was important to emphasize that the terms used in my topic were all new in the vocabulary of literary criticism and justified the scriptural particularity of novelistic production of my work.

Current:
Building up on my previous research interest, I would like to explore within Postcolonial African Francophone Literature the Representations of Power and People, New African Identity in Afropolitanism Context as define on one hand by Achille Mbembe, and on the other hand by Jaji Tsitsi. The Aesthetics of Writing, that I will also discuss, in terms of subversion of French language seems not to go anywhere, and therefore is still one of the formal characteristics that shape various themes in the African literature today through the books of Cameroonian novelist, Patrice Nganang, for example.

Degrees:
DEA (Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies), Graduate Studies in French Language and Literature with a Major in Critical Theory Université de Lomé (Togo)

Publications:
Une Douloureuse espérance, March 2012, iUniverse Inc., Bloomington, Indiana (Novel)