Program Co-directors


Françoise Lionnet | Professor, Director, African Studies

Teaching & Research Interests:

Comparative and Francophone literatures, Indian Ocean and Caribbean studies, postcolonial, African and African-American studies, autobiography, race and gender studies.

  • Ph.D. University of Michigan
  • Previously at Northwestern University where she held the Pearce Miller Professorship in Literary Studies until 1998
  • Visiting Professor, Romance Studies, Duke University, 1996
  • Special Professor, Department of French, University of Nottingham, UK, 2003-06
  • Directeur d’études associé, EHESS, Paris, 2004
  • Autobiographical Voices: Race, Gender, Self-Portraiture (Cornell, 1989, 1991)
  • Postcolonial Representations: Women, Literature, Identity (Cornell, 1995)
  • Minor Transnationalism, co-edited with Shu-mei Shih (Duke, 2005, 2009)
  • The Creolization of Theory, co-edited with Shu-mei Shih, (Duke, Spring 2011)
  • Writing Women and Critical Dialogues (Mauritius: l’Ateiier d’écriture, 2012)
  • The Known and the Uncertain: Creole Cosmopolitics of the Indian Ocean (Mauritius: L’Atelier d’écriture, 2012)
  • The Indies, Otherwise: Creolization, Comparison, and World Literature (under contract, Stanford UP)
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:
  • “Languages, Literatures, Pedagogies: Africa and Diaspora Studies,” CLS, under review.
  • “Un monde… des mondes,” Préface, Point barre: Revue de poésie 13 (2012).
  • “Consciousness and Relationality: Sartre, Levi-Strauss, Beauvoir, and Glissant,” Yale French Studies, forthcoming 2012.
  • “‘New World’ Exiles and Ironists from Evariste Parny to Ananda Devi,” Postcolonial Poetics. Jane Hiddleston and Patrick Crowley, eds. Liverpool University Press, 2012.
  • “Cosmopolitan or Creole Lives? Globalized Oceans and Insular Identities,” Profession, December 2011. Japanese trans. in Hikaku Mainoriti Gaku, journal of the Hikaku Mainoriti Kenkyukai.
  • “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, October 2011.
  • “World Literature, Francophonie, and Creole Cosmopolitics,” The Routledge Companion to World Literature, Theo D’haen, David Damrosch and Djelal Kadir, eds. Routlege, September 2011.
  • “En guise de preface,” Les fruits de la coïncidence by Jacqueline Pilot, Mauritius: l’Atelier d’écriture 17-18 (2011).
  • “Foreword: ‘detwra tipetal rouz…’,” Flame-Tree Lane by Dev Virahsawmy, Pink Pigeon Press, 2011.
  • “Introduction: Mauritius in/and Global Culture,” in Between Words and Images: The Culture of Mauritius, special issue of International Journal of Francophone Studies 13: 3&4 (2010-11): 371-400.
  • “Cing mètres d’ordre et de sagesse…: Ananda Devi’s Unfurling Art of Fiction,” Ecritures mauriciennes au féminin: Penser l’altérité.  Veronique Bragard and Srilata Ravi, eds. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2011, 283-314.
  • “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. Presses de l’ENS, à paraître.
  • ” ‘Dire exactement’: Remembering  the Interwoven Lives of Jewish Deportees and Coolie Descendants in 1940s Mauritius,” Yale French  Studies 118/119 (2010): 111-135.
  • “Critical Conventions, Literary Landscapes, and Postcolonial Ecocriticism” French Global; A New Approach to Literary History, Christie MacDonald & Susan Suleiman, eds., Columbia UP, 2010, 127-144.
  • “Ces voix au fil de soi(e): le détour du poétique,” Assia Djebar: Littérature et Transmission-Colloque de Cerisy, Wolfgang Asholt, Mireiile Calle-Gruber et Dominique Combe, eds., Paris: Presses Sorbone Nouvelle, 2010, 23-36.
  • “Matière à photographie: cosmopolitique et modernité créoles à l’Ile Maurice,” French Forum 34:3 (2009): 75-99.
  • “Universalisms & Francophonies,” International Journal of  Francophone Studies 12:2&3 (2009): 203-221.
  • “Fictions of (Under)Development: Hunger Artists in the Global Economy,” On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions, ed. Bhavnani, Foran, Kurian & Munshi, Routledge, 2009, 215-231.
  • “Continents and Archipelagoes: From E Pluribus Unum to Creole Solidarities,” PMLA 123.5 (October 2008): 1503-15.
  • “Disease, Demography and the Debré Solution: Broken Promises and Stolen Children in Réunion Island (2006, 1966 1946),” International Journal of Francophone Studies 11/1+2 (2008): 211-27.
  • “Postcolonialism. Language and the Visual: By Way of Haiti,” Journal of Postcolonial Writing 44.3 (September 2008): 227-239.
  • ” ‘The Indies’: Baudelaire’s Colonial World,” PMLA 123. 3 (May 2008): 723-36.
Professional Activities:
  • President, American Comparative Literature Assciation (2011-12)
  • Director, UCLA African Studies Center (2010- Present)
  • Director, UCLA Global Fellows Postdoctoral Program (2005-2007)
  • Co-Director, UCLA Mellon Postdoctoral Program (2005-2014)
  • Executive Council MLA (1998-02)
  • Advisory Board, ACLA (2003-06)
  • MLA representative to the ACLS (2003-06; 2010-14)
  • Board of Governors, UCHRI (2004-09)
Honors and Awards:
  • Principal Co-PI, Mellon Foundation grant for the “Cultures in Transnational Perspective” Postdoc Program (2005-14)
  • 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 Humanities, 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



Steven Nelson | Associate Professor

Teaching & Research Interests:

Steven Nelson is Associate Professor of African and African American Art History and an affiliated faculty member with UCLA’s Digital Humanities program. He is currently working on a book length study of the Underground Railroad and a manuscript titled, Dakar: The Making of an African Metropolis.

  • Ph.D. Harvard University
  • Assistant Professor, Turfs University, 1998-2000
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Wellesley College, 1999
  • “Karmen Geї: Sex, the State and Censorship in Dakar,” African Arts, vol. 42, no. 2 (Spring 2011): 74-81.
  • “Le Point de vue de Steven Nelson,” Response to Jean-Pierre Warnier, The Pot-King: The Body and Technologies of Power, Politique Africaine, no. 112 (December 2008): 183-186.
  • “Diaspora and Contemporary Art: Multiple Practices, Multiple Worldviews,” in Amelia Jones, ed., Companion to Contemporary Art Since 1945 (BlackwellCompanions to Art History). Oxford: Blackwell, 2006, 296-316.
  • “Allan DeSouza: Seeing is (not necessarily) Believing,” in Laurie Ann Farrell, ed. Looking Both Ways: Art of the Contemporary African Diaspora. Exhibition catalogue. New York: Museum for African Art, 2003, 75-83.
  • New Histories. Co-editor with Lia Gangitano. Exhibition catalogue. Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1996.
Symposia and Presentations:
  • Inaugural Speaker, Richard Cohen Lecture Series on African and African American Art, Harvard University (April 2013)
  • Conversation with María Magdalena Campos-Pons, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. (January 2012)
  • “Karmen Geї: Sex, the State, and Censorship in Dakar,” Invited Speaker, Yale University (March 2009)
  • “Dakar after the Revolution: Djibril Diop Mambety’s Contras’ City and May ’68,” Invited Speaker, Art History Spring Lecture Series, Stanford University (May 2008)
  • Partially Buried or Turning Green into Black,” “Bridging the Gaps: African American Art Conference 2004,” Harvard University (November 2004)
  • Conversation with Manthia Delaware on the exhibition, “You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Sardou Kieta and Malice Sidibé.” UCLA Hammer Museum (February 2002)
Professional Activities:
  • Elected to the General Assembly, Comité international d’histoire de l’art (2012-16)
  • Appointed Treasurer for the National Committee for the History of Art (2012-16)
  • President, Arts Council of the African Studies Association (2011-12)
Honors and Awards:
  • Post-1750 Book Review Editor for Europe, Africa, and Asia, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. (2013-16)
  • Getty Consortium Scholar, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2011-12)
  • Arnold Rubin Outstanding Publication Award, Honorable Mention for From Cameroon to Paris: Mousgoum in and out of Africa. Arts Council of the African Studies Association. (2011)
  • Alice Davis Hitchcock Honorable Mention Award for From Cameroon to Paris: Mousgoum in and out of Africa. Society of Architectural Historians. (2009)
 Past Director


Shu-mei Shih | Professor

Shu-mei Shih is a scholar of comparative literature with expertise and interest in literary theory, Chinese literature, Sinophone literature, Asian American literature, and world literature. Her research focus also includes visual culture, feminism, transnationalism, comparative minority discourse, modernism, (post)humanism, and (post)colonialism. Her publications include:

  • Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader (co-editor with Chien-hsin Tsai and Brian Bernards). Columbia University Press, forthcoming.
  • Creolization of Theory (co-editor with Françoise Lionnet). Duke University Press, 2011.
    click for more >>
  • Visuality and Identity: Sinophone Articulations across the Pacific (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007)
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  • Minor Transnationalism (co-editor with Françoise Lionnet). Duke University Press, 2005. Second printing, 2009.
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  • The Lure of the Modern: Writing Modernism in Semicolonial China, 1917-1937 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2001).
    click for more >>Mandarin translation: Xiandai de youhuo, translated by He Tian (Shanghai: Jiangsu People’s Press, 2007)
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Editor of Special Issues of Scholarly Journals:
  • Editor with an Introduction, special issue entitled “Comparative Racialization,” PMLA 123:5 (November 2008). (430pp.)
  • Editor, special issue entitled “Minor Transnationalism” featuring selected translations from the book Minor Transnationalism (above) into Mandarin with a new introduction, Chung Wai Literary Monthly 36: 2 (June 2007), 13-120.
  • Co-Editor with Ying-ying Chien and with an Introduction, “Third World/Transnational Feminist Practice,” special issue of Chung Wai Literary Monthly 33: 2 (July 2004).
  • Editor with an Introduction, “Globalization: Taiwan’s (In)significance,” special issue of Postcolonial Studies 6: 2 (July 2003).


Selected Articles:
  • “The Concept of the Sinophone” PMLA (May 2011).
  • “Translating Feminism: Taiwan, Spivak, A-Wu,” lectora: revista de dones I textualitat 16 (Fall, 2010), 35-57.  (Translated into Spanish)
  • “Against Diaspora: The Sinophone as Places of Cultural Production,” appearing in:
  1. Globalizing Modern Chinese Literature: A Critical Reader on Sinophone and Diasporic Writings.               Eds. Jing Tsu and David Wang.  London: Brill, 2010, 29-48.
  2. Transforming Diaspora.  Eds. Robin Field and Parmita Kapadia.  Fairleigh Dickinson University
    Press, 2011.  (lead article)
  3. Sinophone Studies: A Critical Reader.  Eds. Shu-mei Shih, Chien-hsin Tsai and Brian Bernards.               New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming.
  • “Racializing Area Studies, Defetishizing China,” for special issue “Area and Civilizational Difference: Biopolitics, Geopolitics, History,” in positions: east asia cultures critique, forthcoming.
  • “Is the Post in Postsocialism the Post in Posthumanism?,” special issue on “China and the Human,” Social Text (Winter 2012), forthcoming.
  • “Theory, Asia, and the Sinophone,” Postcolonial Studies 13:4 (Fall 2010) 465-484.
  • “Comparative Racialization: An Introduction,” PMLA 123:5 (October 2008), 1347-1362.
  • “Hong Kong Literature as Sinophone Literature,” Journal of Modern Literature in Chinese. Vols. 8.2-9.1 (2008), 12-18.  (lead essay)
  • “Global Literature and the Technologies of Recognition,” PMLA 119: 1 (January 2004), 16-30.  (lead essay).  “Reply” to the forum on my essay, PMLA 119: 3 (May 2004), 555-556. (Translated into Mandarin in China and Taiwan)
  • “Globalization and the (In)significance of Taiwan,” Postcolonial Studies 6:2 (Summer 2003), 1-12.
  • “Towards an Ethics of Transnational Encounter, or ‘When’ Does a ‘Chinese’ Woman Become a ‘Feminist’?” differences: a journal of feminist cultural studies 13:2 (Summer 2002), 90-126. (Translated into Mandarin, Turkish, and Spanish)
  • “Globalization and Minoritization: Ang Lee and the Politics of Flexibility,” New  Formations: A Journal of Culture/Theory/Politics, 40 (Spring 2000), 86-101. (Translated into Japanese)