Eileen Julien

Eileen Julien

Professor Emerita, French and Italian

Professor Emerita, Comparative Literature


  • Ph.D., French Literature and African Studies, University of Wisconsin, 1978
  • M.A., French Literature, University of Wisconsin, 1970
  • B.A., French Education, Spanish Minor, Xavier University of Louisiana, 1969

Research areas

  • 20th-century literature and culture, especially the novel
  • Postcolonial theory
  • The literatures of Africa, the African diaspora and France and their relationships to one another

About Eileen Julien

My teaching and research focus on multiple aspects of literature and culture in Africa and the Americas, their historical and cultural ties and divergences, and the factors of colonialism, decolonization, and contemporary political and economic processes. In the African context I have been especially interested in the perceived tension between being “modern” and being “ourselves” and what this implies for understanding the relationship between “indigenous” or “local” resources, such as oral traditions, and contemporary forms such as the novel. The workings of gender and the diasporic consciousness or yearning that exceeds national belonging are themes that also figure in my work and teaching. In this vein, I have begun to explore most recently the distinctive culture of my birthplace, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Selected publications


  • Travels with Mae: Recollections of a New Orleans Girlhood and Beyond. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.
  • Associate Editor, Encyclopedia of African Literature. Ed. Simon Gikandi. Routledge, 2002.
  • African Novels and the Question of Orality. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1992.


  • “Loss, Love, and the Art of Making Gumbo.” Interview by Shona Jackson. 30th anniversary issue of Callaloo on food and literature. 30.1 (2007) 95-109.
  • “Arguments and Further Conjectures on World Literature.” In/Outside: English Studies in Korea 18 (April 2005): 117-33. Published also in Studying Transcultural Literary History. Ed. Gunilla Lindberg-Wada. Et al. Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2006.
  • “When a Man Loves a Woman: Gender and National Identity in Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman and Mariama Bâ’s Scarlet Song.” African Studies After Gender?. Ed. Catherine Cole, Takyiwaa Manuh, and Stephan Miescher. Bloomington: Indiana U Pr, 2006.
  • “The Extroverted African Novel.” The Novel: History, Georgraphy and Culture. Vol 1. Ed. Franco Moretti. Princeton U Pr, 2006. Also published as “Il romanzo africano: un genere ‘estroverso.’” Il romanzo. IV. Ed. Franco Moretti. Milano: Einaudi, 2003. 155-179.
  • “Reading ‘Orality’ in French Language Novels from Sub-Saharan Africa.” Francophone Postcolonial Studies: A Critical Introduction. Ed. Charles Forsdick and David Murphy. London: Arnold, 2003. 122-132.
  • “The Romance of Africa: Three Narratives by African American Women.” In Beyond Dichotomies. Ed. Elisabeth Boyi. Albany: State University of New York Pr, 2002.
  • “Terrains de rencontres: Césaire, Fanon and Wright on Culture and Decolonization.” The French Fifties. Ed. Susan Weiner. Spec. issue of Yale French Studies 98 (2000): 149-66.

Courses taught

  • Black Artists in Paris
  • The Postcolonial Novel
  • Peripheral Modernities: The View from Senegal
  • Studies in Francophone Literature: From Frantz Fanon to Edouard Glissant
  • Roman et poésie
  • Littérature du Sénégal

Honors, fellowships, & awards

  • Guggenheim Fellowship, 1998-1999
  • Fulbright Senior Scholar, Dakar, Sénégal, 1993-1994, January-July, 1995
  • Carnegie Faculty Fellowship, Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, 1985-1987