My research specialism is Francophone literature and culture, and I work primarily on Francophone Caribbean literature and culture, focusing on Martinique, Guadeloupe and Haiti, including Haitian diasporic authors living and working in Canada.
After my BA in French & German, which I received from Trinity College, Oxford (2004), I remained at Oxford for my postgraduate degrees (M. St, 2005; D. Phil, 2008) which were both fully funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. During this time, I delivered French and Francophone Literature Tutorials, was the Sub-Faculty Heath Harrison Language Tutor for French Language, and an Admissions Interviewer. I was also a French Tutor for the Oxford Sutton Trust Summer School, an access scheme which I had attended as a pupil in 1999. In 2008, I was appointed to a postdoctoral Research Fellowship at Homerton College, University of Cambridge, before taking up my Lectureship at Birmingham in January 2010.
Between 2012-2014 I am Principal Investigator on “Caribbean Biopolitics of Literature. Shaping Life, History and Community through the Transformative Power of Literature” a research project awarded 209,033 EUROS by the European Commission FP7/Marie Curie scheme. For more information, see the project's blog http://caribiolit.wordpress.com/
From autumn 2014, I will be on research leave funded by an AHRC Early Career Fellowship of £168,000. My research project, Joseph Zobel: Négritude's Novelist? The Transnational Politics of a French Caribbean Author working between the Caribbean, Africa and Europe, proposes a re-reading of Martinican author Joseph Zobel’s entire body of published work and other cultural output (sculpture and film). The research questions focus on three key areas which must be better understood in order to situate Zobel: dominant interpretations of the Negritude movement and its insights into race, diaspora, transnationalism and gender; postcolonial ecocriticism and how it informs Zobel’s economic critique of Caribbean society, and appraisals of the colonial legacy in Europe and internationally. For more information, see: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/french/news/2014/hardwick-ahrc.aspx
I have given invited research papers in the UK, France and Canada, and I have organised research events, conferences and workshops at Birmingham (colloquium on Biopolitics in 2013; visit of Maryse Condé and Richard Philcox in 2010), Cambridge (2009) and Oxford (2007, 2008). My research activities have been discussed in the French and Caribbean Press, most recently in a 2013 interview in the newspaper France-Antilles. I have also taught a range of authors and filmmakers from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Canada and the Indian Ocean.
From 2014, I will be supervising an AHRC-funded PhD student working on Francophone Postcolonial culture, funded through the Midlands 3 Cities Consortium: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/calgs/scholarships/ahrc-faqs.aspx
I provide teaching and dissertation supervision for a number of M.Phil courses, focusing on Francophone Postcolonial literature and culture and questions of identity. For courses where French is not a required component, materials are available in English:
Colonial and Postcolonial Cultures
Sexuality and Gender Studies
Contemporary Literary Cultures
Heritage (Distance learning MA)
Prospective MA and PhD students from the UK and abroad are welcome to email me to discuss research proposals concerning projects on Francophone Postcolonial cultures.
My research and teaching focus on the French language in a global context, exploring the history of colonialism and how we can understand colonialism's legacy in the current era.
In particular, I investigate how literature, film and art raise challenging questions about globalisation, politics, the environment and exploitation. I also focus on strategies of resistance in postcolonial literature, asking how cultural figures explore and challenge power hierarchies and promote alternative perspectives, courage and compassion - qualities which permeate the works I research and teach.
My book Childhood, Autobiography and the Francophone Caribbean (Liverpool University Press, 2013) sets out to examine a major modern turn in Francophone Caribbean literature towards the récit d'enfance, or childhood memoir, and to ask why this occurred post-1990, connecting texts to recent changes in public policy and educational policy concerning the commemoration of slavery and colonialism both in France and at a global level. Review: "Louise Hardwick expertly analyses this relatively understudied genre which uses childhood narrative in as much a politically as an aesthetically subversive manner", Professor J. Michael Dash, New York University
My 2012 article, 'Depicting Social Dispossession in Guadeloupe: Nèg Maron, Lettre ouverte à la jeunesse and the General Strike of 2009' , focused on questions of youth disillusionment and political action in Guadeloupe. This article shows that important works of contemporary literature and film anticipated the social and political themes which were raised during the general strike which paralysed the island of Guadeloupe in 2009.
Between 2012-2014 I am Principal Investigator on the European Commision funded project “Caribbean Biopolitics of Literature. Shaping Life, History and Community through the Transformative Power of Literature” The award has been used to fund a Marie Curie Intra-European Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Alessandro Corio. The project explores the intersections between race and métissage, power and violence in Caribbean literature. There is an active blog for the project: http://caribiolit.wordpress.com/
I am also an active founder member of the FRANCOPOCO Network.