Valérie Dusaillant-Fernandes

Assistant Professor
Office: ML 342
 
  • D.E.U.G (Lettres, Arts, Expression et Communication), Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3, 1988
  • M.A. French Studies, University of Waterloo, 2004
  • PhD French Studies, University of Toronto, 2010

Biography

I spent my childhood in France and completed a D.E.U.G. in Paris (Sorbonne Nouvelle), before I moved to Canada where I started my career first as a teacher at the Alliance Française of Hamilton and then as a Marketing Coordinator/Translator in an environmental company in Guelph, specializing in impact assessment along with eco-toxicity testing and environmental technologies. I returned to academia and developed a professional interest in 20th and 21st century French Literature during my Master at the University of Waterloo French Studies Department where I completed a thesis entitled : “Writing on the Body and Violence: Study of Selected Texts from Amélie Nothomb and Sylvie Germain”. After completing this degree, I headed to the University of Toronto and successfully finished a PhD dissertation on the inscription of trauma in female autobiographical narratives in France since 1980.  I explored the textual inscription of childhood trauma in the works of six contemporary French authors and analyzed how each author articulated the traumatic scene within the context of the narrative and which textual strategies were used to convey the obsessive memory of a private childhood traumas such as incest, mistreatment or the loss of parents.

Research and teaching interests

  • 20th and 21st French and Francophone literature  
  • Literature and Arts
  • Novels, Plays, Autobiographical/Autofictional Writing
  • Trauma studies / Genocide
  • Intergenerational/Transgenerational Transmission
  • Psychoanalytic theories
  • Postcolonial theories
  • Feminist theories
  • Comic and Graphic Novels

Current projects

I specialize in 20th/21st French and Francophone Literature at the French Studies Department where I am active in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. My research focuses on the field of contemporary autobiographical/autofictional narratives, particularly those related to personal and collective traumas. I am also interested in the narratives of illness and intergenerational and transgenerational transmission in literature. While maintaining my interest in the representation of trauma in literature, I am expanding the scope of my research to include the notion of collective trauma, as expressed, for example, by the author Scholastique Mukasonga, who writes about the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda. In working on Mukasonga’s text, I decided to focus on the plight of children in situations of armed conflict and urban violence, more particularly in the literature of sub-Saharan French Africa. The specific focus of this project will be narratives that represent the lived reality of marginalized African youth who are exploited and victimized by forces outside the law. In the literature of sub-Saharan French African novels that I propose to study, the child is depicted as an observer, a victim, and sometimes an actor. Despite the range of political and social contexts and the different traumas experienced, it becomes clear in these texts that the child occupies a specific semiotic position in testifying to the cultural and moral crisis of post-colonial Africa.

Selected publications

Journal Issue Edited

Co-editor (with Adina Balint) - Online journal issue (50%): ‟Écritures modernes et contemporaines de la peur et de la résistance”, @nalyses, Vol. 9, no3, Fall 2014, https://uottawa.scholarsportal.info/ojs/index.php/revue-analyses/issue/view/223

Selected Articles and Chapters

‟Le viol de guerre vu par Koffi Kwahulé: entre thérapie et divertissementˮ, in La mémoire de la              blessure au théâtre, Isabelle Ligier-Degauque et Anne Teulade (eds.). Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2018, pp. 249-264.

‟Témoignages de la génération post-génocide au Rwanda : Transmission et quête dans Un papa               de sang de Jean Hatzfeldˮ, Voix plurielles, Vol. 14, no2, 2017 : 62-76. https://brock.scholarsportal.info/journals/voixplurielles/article/view/1641

‟Comment résister à l’imposture? Des voix engagées au cœur de la tourmenteˮ, Alternative Francophone, Issue : Fictions du terrorisme dans l’espace francophone, Vol. 2.1, 2017: 56-74. https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/af/index.php/af/article/view/29338

‟Le cancer au pays d’Alice: Lydia Flem et son conte à ne pas mourir deboutˮ, Interférences littéraires/Literaire interferenties, n° 18, mai 2016 : 251-267.

http://interferenceslitteraires.be/index.php/illi/issue/view/3

‟Au fil du temps, les masques tombent: mémoire familiale et vérité chez Delphine de Vigan”, French Forum, Vol. 40, nos 2-3, 2015 : 111-125, https://muse.jhu.edu/article/609035/pdf

‟Le récit de survivance de Serge Amisi: modalités d’adaptation textuelle et stratégies d’ajustementˮ, Dialogues francophones, Vol. 20-21, Issue 1, 2015 : 107-120, http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/difra.2015.21.issue-1/difra-2015-0006/difra-2015-0006.xml

“Quand un tremblement de terre secoue l’écriture : regards croisés sur une catastrophe dans Tout bouge autour de moi de Dany Laferrière et Failles de Yanick Lahens”, In Haïti après le tremblement de terre : La forme, le rôle et le pouvoir de l’écriture, Emmanuelle Vanborre (ed.), Peter Lang, 2014, p.15-29.

“Le sort des enfants de la postcolonie: « Suite africaine » de Léonora Miano”, In L'oeuvre romanesque de Léonora Miano. Fiction, mémoire et enjeux identitaires, Alice Delphine Tang (dir.), Paris, L’Harmattan, 2014, p. 29-44.

“Dérouter le lecteur : procédés stylistiques dans Le cri du sablier de Chloé Delaume”, In Aventures et expériences littéraires: écritures des femmes au début du vingt-et-unième siècle, Amaleena Damlé and Gill Rye (eds.), Amsterdan/New York : Rodopi, Coll. Faux Titre, Volume 394, 2014, p. 39-56.

“La mission de Scholastique Mukasonga : entretenir le souvenir et faire perdurer la mémoire des siens”, In The Unspeakable: Representations of Trauma in Francophone Literature and Art, Névine El Nossery and Amy Hubbell (eds.), Newcastle-upon-Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013, p. 97-114

“Du Vietnam au Québec : fragmentation textuelle et travail de mémoire chez KimThúy”, Women in French Studies, no 20, 2012, p. 75-89.

“Habiller le vécu de mots et d’images: le projet de Kim Thúy”, Entretien avec Kim Thúy, le 20 juillet 2012, Voix Plurielles, Volume no 9, no 2, 2012, p. 164-177​

“Revisiter l'événement traumatique: indécidabilité générique dans Le Manteau noir de Chantal Chawaf”, In Le roman français de l’extrême contemporain : écritures, engagements, énonciations, Barbara Havercroft, Pascal Michelucci and Pascal Riendeau (eds.), Québec: Éditions Nota bene, Coll. « Contemporanéités », no 4, 2010, p. 343-361.

“Auto/biographie et construction identitaire par la transmission intergénérationnelle dans La Dernière leçon de Noëlle Châtelet”, In Transmission et héritage dans l’écriture contemporaine de soi, Béatrice Jongy and Annette Keilhauer (eds.), Clermont-Ferrand : Presses Universitaires Blaise Pascal, Coll. Littératures, 2009, p. 105-116.

Awards and achievements

  • University of Waterloo Faculty Outstanding Performance Award, 2018.
  • Robert Harding Humanities and Social Sciences Endowment Award, University of Waterloo, 2014

Selected professional and community affiliations

  • Association des professeur(e)s de français des universités et collèges canadiens (APFUCC) - Elected Vice-President since June 2018
  • Association pour l’Étude des littératures africaines (APELA)
  • Council of International Francophone Studies / Conseil International d’Études Francophones (CIEF)
  • Women in French (WIF) 
Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo