December 08, 2006

Faculty member to head French-speaking group

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A foreign language scholar at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will soon lead a national literary group.

Anne F. Carlson, assistant professor of French, will assume the presidency of the Francophone (French-speaking) caucus of the African Literature Association during its annual conference set for March at West Virginia University. She has served as vice president of the caucus since 2001.

"I am honored to have the chance to serve as president of the Francophone Caucus," Carlson said. "My membership in the African Literature Association is very important to me because it offers me the opportunity to interact with a community of scholars who share a similar passion for Africa, Africans and African literature and cultures."

The ALA is an independent non-profit professional society open to scholars, teachers and writers from every country. It exists primarily to create a worldwide audience for African writers and artists. The Francophone Caucus is a sub-group of the association whose mission is to promote Francophone African populations within the general association.

Each year, the association invites scholars, artists and filmmakers from across the world to its annual conference, Carlson said.

"So the ALA has also given me the opportunity to meet a number of renowned people in the field," she said. "Every couple of years, the annual ALA conference is held on the African continent. I have been lucky to have had the chance to travel to Egypt and to Ghana to participate in these conferences."

Carlson teaches a broad range of courses in French and foreign languages at SIUC and she serves as coordinator of the French graduate assistants. Her research focuses on North African Francophone women writers and dance.

"I am most interested in studying how North African Francophone women writers negotiate the intersections between text and dance as a means of self expression and an assertion of their own identity. This relationship between text and dance includes a negotiation of French colonialism, a subversion of Orientalist stereotypes and often a refusal to follow Islamic practices. It is a process by which women writers are forming new definitions of selfhood," she said.

Carlson received a bachelor's degree in French from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota in 1989, a master's degree in French from Middlebury College in 1990 and a doctorate in French from the University of Wisconsin in 2001, where she focused on the study of contemporary French and Francophone literatures and cultures, foreign/second language methodology and instructional technology.

Recruiting and retaining high quality faculty are among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.


Anne F. Carlson

Anne F. Carlson
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