I came to Birmingham in 2010, having previously held a Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge. I completed my BA (2000), M.St (2005) and D.Phil (2008) at TrinityCollege, Oxford, where I was also Heath Harrison Fellow for French and an Oxford Admissions Interviewer. I was also a French Tutor for the Oxford Sutton Trust Summer School, an access scheme for state school pupils, which I had attended myself as a Sixth Former in 1999.
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. My work has been supported through major funding awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and European Commission.
Along with my colleague, Dr Berny Sèbe, a trained historian, I created the MA in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies which offers students a chance to examine the creation and legacy of colonialism in a comparative framework. The course is entirely delivered in English, with the option for students to work with a range of modern languages (European and beyond) where possible. Postgraduates also have access to wider research seminars such as those promoted through the FRANCOPOCO Network.
I am currently an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellow (2014-2016) and am undertaking a research project on the author Joseph Zobel: ‘Joseph Zobel: Négritude's Novelist? The Transnational Politics of a French Caribbean Author working between the Caribbean, Africa and Europe’ (£168,000). The project blog provides an insight into my work: http://josephzobel.wordpress.com/. The blog is aimed at anyone with an interest in researching or teaching the Francophone Caribbean, and includes pages on Francophone, Martinique, as well as Joseph Zobel.
Between 2012-2014, I was Principal Investigator on the research project “Caribbean Biopolitics of Literature. Shaping Life, History and Community through the Transformative Power of Literature” which was funded through the European Commission FP7/Marie Curie scheme. For more information, see the project's blog: http://caribiolit.wordpress.com/
I have given invited lectures and talks in English and French at events organized by the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Liverpool International Slavery Museum, University of Liverpool, the Race In The Americas research network, Ottawa University, Laval University, the Institut Français de Londres, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Université Paris III – La Sorbonne nouvelle, Université Cheikh Anta Diop Senegal and Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss my research with audiences outside academia in the UK and internationally. I took part in a Round Table with Patrick Chamoiseau in Toulouse as part of the La Novela Public Festival of Science and Culture. My activities have been discussed in the French and Caribbean press, and I have been interviewed by the Caribbean newspaper France-Antilles.
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).
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.