Francoise Lionnet Photo

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. In Fall 2015, she also holds the Mary Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the Newhouse Humanities Center, Wellesley College. She is on leave from UCLA where she is a Distinguished Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Comparative Literature, and Gender Studies. Until July 2015, she served as Director of the UCLA African Studies Center. She is a Research Associate of the Center for Indian Studies in Africa at the Univ. of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, SA. Her research focuses primarily on Indian Ocean literary, cultural, and historical studies, in relation to Atlantic and Caribbean Studies. She is interested in the longue durée of colonialism in those regions, and focuses on 18th to 21st century writers.


  • Ph.D. University of Michigan


See publications for books.

Edited Volumes

  • Special double issue of Yale French Studies “Post/Colonial Conditions: Exiles, Migrations, Nomadisms” (82 and 83, 1993) co-edited with Ronnie Scharfman.
  • Signs on “Postcolonial, Indigenous, and Emergent Feminisms” (1995) and “Development Cultures” (2004), both co-edited with several others.
  • L’Esprit créateur (Fall 2001) on “Cities, Modernity, and Cultural Memory in France and the Francophone World”
  • Comparative Literary Studies, “Intra-National Comparisons” 40: 2 (Spring 2003), co-edited with D. Castillo and P. M. Lutzeler.
  • MLN, “Francophone Studies: New Landscapes” 118: 4 (Oct. 2003), co-edited with Dominic Thomas.
  • International Journal of Francophone Studies, “Between Words and Images: The Culture of Mauritius” (Fall 2010-Winter 2011)
  • Words Without Borders(May 2012); “Writing from the Indian Ocean”

Recent and Forthcoming Articles

  • “Literary Routes: Migration and The Creative Economy,” co-authored with Bruno Jean-François, PMLAforthcoming 2016.
  • “Worlding Baudelaire: Geography, Genre, and Translation,” MLA series, Approaches to Teaching Baudelaire’s Prose Poems, ed. Cheryl Krueger. forthcoming 2016.
  • “Truth, Trauma, Memory: Aminatta Forna’s Global Aesthetics,” co-authored with Jennifer MacGregor,Contemporary British Novel since 2000, Edinburgh UP, forthcoming 2016.
  • “World Literature, Postcolonial Studies, and Coolie Odysseys: The Case of JMG Le Clézio’s and Amitav Ghosh’s Indian Ocean Novels,” Comparative Literature, 67, 3 (Sept 2015): 287-311.
  • “Creole (creolization)” Encycopledia of Race, Ethnicity and Nationalism. Wiley-Blackwell. (on line)
  • “Mémoire, traduction et pouvoir: À partir des Fables créoles de Xavier Le Juge de Segrais,” Nouvelles études francophones 28, 2 (2013): 90-100.
  • “Conventions critiques, paysages littéraires et écocritique postcoloniale,” French Global, eds. Christie McDonald & Susan Suleiman, Paris: Garnier, 2014.
  • “Les femmes évanescentes du cycle mauricien: entretien avec Françoise Lionnet.” Réalisé par Eileen Lohka. Les Cahiers Le Clézio 6. Paris: Ed. Complicités, 2013. 113-23
  • “Creole: The Original Language,” Interview with Christopher Lee, Mail & Guardian weekly, Johannesburg, 04 Oct 2013,
  • “Consciousness and Relationality: Sartre, Lévi-Strauss, Beauvoir and Glissant,” Yale French Studies 123 (July 2013): 100-17. In Rethinking Claude Lévi-Strauss, ed. Robert Doran.
  • “Languages, Literatures, Pedagogies: Africa and Diaspora Studies,” CLS 50.2 (2013): 219-27
  • “Littérature-monde, francophonie et ironie: modèles de violence et violence des modèles,” Parodies, pastiches, réécritures: la question des modèles dans les littératures francophones. Lise Gauvin & Cecile van den Avenne, eds. Lyon: ENS, 2013, 119-38.
  • “Shipwrecks, Slavery, and the Challenge of Global Comparison: From Fiction to Archive in the Colonial Indian Ocean” [Presidential Address, ACLA 2012] Comparative Literature 64, 4 (2012): 446-61.
  • “The Mirror and the Tomb: Africa, Museums, and Memory,” Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts, ed. Bettina Messias Carbonell (2nd Edition: Oxford: Wylie-Blackwell, 2012), 189-199.
  • “Counterpoint and Double Critique in Edward Said and Abdelkebir Khatibi: A Transcolonial Comparison,” A Companion to Comparative Literature, Ali Behdad and Dominic Thomas, eds. Blackwell, 2011.
  • “World Literature, Francophonie, and Creole Cosmopolitics,” The Routledge Companion to World Literature, Theo D’haen, David Damrosch and Djelal Kadir, eds. Routlege, 2011.

Honors & Awards

  • Mary Cornille Distinguished Visiting Professor, Newhouse Humanities Center, Wellesley College 
  • PI—HED/USAID Grant for Educational Project in Rwanda, “Women’s Leadership Program” (2012- )
  • Principal Co-PI, Mellon Foundation grant for the “Cultures in Transnational Perspective” Postdoc  Program (2005-15)
  • French Gov. Award: Chevalier/Ordre des palmes académiques, 2004
  • 2002 Best Mentor Award from Women in French (WIF)
  • Professor Lionnet has held fellowships and grants from the Cornell Society for the Humanitie the American Philosophical Society, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fulbright  Foundation, the SSRC, the United Nations Fund (UNFPA), the UCHRI, the Humanities  Research Institute at the University of California-Irvine, the Center for Advanced Feminist  Studies at the University of Minnesota, and the NEH. She directed the NEH/Northwestern Summer Institute in French Cultural Studies in 1995
  •  In June 2003, she held a residency fellowship at the Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio  Center, Italy