Dr Louise Hardwick BA, M.St, D.Phil (Oxon)



Lecturer in French, specialising in Francophone Postcolonial literature, film and culture.


  • BA (Hons) 1st Class (Oxon)
  • M. St (Distinction) (Oxon)
  • D. Phil (Oxon)


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.


  • Convenor: Y4 module "Francophone Caribbean Literature & Film" which examines the depiction of slavery, colonialism, racism, identity and immigration and introduces key concepts in Francophone Postcolonial theory.
  • Convenor: Y2 module La France moderne 2 which examines French Republicanism from 1789 to the present day and is entirely delivered in French
  • Dissertation Supervisor for Y4 Dissertation Module (Francophone Postcolonial topics)
  • I contribute lectures and seminar materials to other Year 1 and Year 2 modules such as IFLFS and PCS, introducing Francophone literature and culture.
  • I teach on the Y2 and Y4 Core French Language modules (grammar, written accuracy and translation) 

I am very interested in the possibilities offered by virtual University campus systems and fully integrate electronic resources into the modules I convene at Birmingham.

Postgraduate supervision

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 
  • Critical Theory
  • 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.

Other activities

Online content

Public talks

  • January 2010 - Haiti: Beyond the Earthquake public engagement activities

Membership of Scholarly groups organisations

  • I am one of the founding members of the University of Birmingham FRANCOPOCO Network (Francophone Colonial and Postcolonial), created in March 2010. The FRANCOPOCO Network welcomed its first Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Alessandro Corio, in 2012 thanks to a major European funding grant.
  • I am an active member of international scholarly societies, including the Society for French Studies and the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies

Personal distinctions

  • 2006  OxTalent IT award for WebLearn site Cahier d’un retour au pays natal
  • 2003  Peter Kirk Scholar (national award to undertake independent research project in Europe)
  • 2003  Oxford University Heath Harrison Scholarship



Articles in journals

Chapters in books

Other publications

  • 2010      ‘When all else has fallen, culture remains’ Foreword to Creative Writing Anthology   (Birmingham students’ production) and original translation of ‘Beloved Haiti’, newspaper article by Maryse Condé, with the author’s kind permission
  • 2005     Online Website (University of Oxford or University of Birmingham log in required) Introduction to Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal

Selected international research conference papers and related research activities

  • March 2014, 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, New York, 'Depicting Social Dispossession in Guadeloupe: Nègre Maron, Lettre ouverte à la jeunesse and the General Strike of 2009'. My report can be found here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/french/news/2014/hardwick-colloquium.aspx
  • February 2014, 'Creolizing the "coolie": a Biopolitical Reading of Indian Indentured Labourers and the Francophone Caribbean Ethnoclass Hierarchy' Francophone Seminar, University of Oxford
  • June 2013, ‘Creolizing the “Coolie”: Indian Indentured Labourers, the Francophone Caribbean Ethnoclass Hierarchy and Biopolitics’ at colloquium 'Race, Biopolitics and Violence', University of Birmingham
  • June 2013, Invited Keynote Paper 'Teaching Césaire's Poetry' at Aimé Césaire Centenary conference held at the Institut Français, London
  • April 2013 Fieldwork in Martinique, generously supported by a CAL Research and Knowledge Transfer grant. My report can be found here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/french/news/2013/hardwick-fieldwork.aspx
  • March 2013 20th and 21st Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia. 'Comment répondre à ces "pourquoi" d'enfants? Tracing Childhood, Tracing slavery in Francophone Caribbean Literature'. I also networked with colleagues at GIT, and my report can be found here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/french/news/2013/hardwick-conference-atlanta.aspx
  • July 2012   Society for French Studies Annual Conference, University of Exeter. Paper: ‘Using Technology to Encourage Close Reading: an online teaching resource on Aimé Césaire’s Cahier d’un retour au pays natal
  • June 2012  Invited Keynote Paper, University of Cambridge: ‘Language Teaching and Learning: an Early Career Perspective’ at the Language Teaching and Learning Graduate Training weekend, Dec 2011   
  • European Science Foundation Conference Paper: ‘The récit enfance /childhood memoir in Francophone Caribbean Literature’ at ‘First Person Writing, Four-Way Reading’, Birkbeck, University of London
  • June 2011  Invited Keynote Paper, University of Oxford: ‘Developing IT Resources in Francophone Postcolonial Studies for Teaching and Research’ at the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies Graduate Conference, ‘Technology in Text and Context: between Progress and Conflict’
  • July 2010   Invited Talk, Liverpool International Slavery Museum: Conference Report on‘Post-Slavery in the FrancophoneCaribbean’ at the ‘Post-Slavery Symposium’. 
  • June 2010  Invited Paper, University of Liverpool: ‘Post-Slavery in the Francophone Caribbean’ at ‘Rethinking Post-Slavery Seminar’
  • Feb 2010    Florida: ‘Thwarted Expectations? Stasis and Change in Dany Laferrière’s récits d’enfance ’ at “The Francophone Caribbean and North America”, Florida State University, Tallahassee. Keynote speaker Dany Laferrière
  • Oct 2009     Ottawa: ‘Depictions of Childhood in Haitian Diasporic Literature from Canada’, at “World Seminar on Canada”, Ottawa University, Canada
  • May 2009    Oxford: ‘The récit d’enfance in Francophone Caribbean Literature’at « Littérature et pensée postcoloniales: questions de genre », Exeter College, Oxford
  • June 2008   Invited Paper: ‘Poétique de l’ethnicité antillaise: de Moreau de Saint-Méry à Raphaël Confiant’ at the Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques , « Migrations, transferts et échanges de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique »in Quebec City, Canada
  • May 2008    Invited Paper: ‘La question de l’enfance chez Maryse Condé’ at « Colloque international  autour de Maryse Condé », Trouville, France
  • Filmed interview, Trouville, French-language documentary on Maryse Condé (Kréyol Productions, Guadeloupe [forthcoming 2010/2011])
  • May 2008    Oxford: Seminar Organiser: « Portraits d’Aimé Césaire (1913-2008) ». Speakers: Patrick Chamoiseau, photographer Jean-Luc de Laguarrige, Professor Dominique Combe and Louise Hardwick, organised as part of the Semaine de la Martinique , Oxford, for which I was Graduate Advisor
  • Nov 2007    London: ‘Organising a Graduate Conference’ talk given at Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies Study Day, Institut Français, London
  • Sept 2007   Oxford: Sole Organiser: Oxford French Graduate Conference, “CRIME”. Keynotes Professors Lisa Downing (Exeter University) and Lorna Milne (St Andrews)
  • Oct 2006    New York: ‘“Peau Noire, Masques Blancs” Troubled Identities in Maryse Condé’ at City University New York Graduate Conference, “Locating Empire”
  • Oct 2005    Oxford: Organiser of 2-day visit by Maryse Condé and Richard Philcox to Oxford to speak at Francophone Graduate Seminar
  • July 2005   Perth, Australia: ‘Confronting the Ghosts of the Past: Spectres and Stereotypes in Condé’s Moi, Tituba sorcière and “Leçon d’histoire”’ Australian Society for French Studies annual conference, University of Western Australia , , 9.2 (2006) 257-276  , , 9.2 (2006) 257-276  , , 9.2 (2006) 257-276 


French Caribbean – history, culture, literature and film from Haiti and its Diaspora in Canada and the United States; Martinique; Guadeloupe; French Guiana

Media experience

I have given interviews for the French Caribbean press.

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