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College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty Profile

régine m. jean-charles

photo of Régine M. Jean-Charles

Education

A.B., University of Pennsylvania

A.M. and Ph.D., Harvard University

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How long have you been at Boston College?

I came to Boston College in 2008, after a year as Visiting Scholar at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia.

What courses do you teach?

RL 374 How to Read/ Write about Africa
RL 470 Paris Noir: From Le Hip-Hop to La Negritude
RL 476 Francophone African Cinema
RL 454 Francophone Women Writers

What are your research interests?

My field is francophone African and Caribbean literatures and cultures, and my focus therein is women and gender studies especially global feminisms of Africa and the diaspora. My first book, Conflict Bodies: Representations of Rape in the Francophone Imaginary examines the portrayal of sexual violence in novels, drama, films, documentaries, and photography from Haiti, Guadeloupe, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In many ways, this work is emblematic of my scholarship and research practices: taking a feminist, comparative, interdisciplinary and cultural studies approach that critically engages francophone African and Caribbean literature.

What do you like about teaching at Boston College?

I really enjoy having such a range of students in my classes, some who have been studying French since high school, others who come as children of Haitian descent in households where they spoke both French and Kreyol, or those who are just looking for something new to learn about in their study of French. Because I am jointly appointed in the African and African Diaspora Studies Program, I see a lot of variety in the students who take my classes—the self-selected group inclined to think critically about race and gender, and then those who are just discovering these areas. For the latter, it is literally like opening up a new world and way of thinking which I find very exciting! I try to encourage my students to be “readers of the world,” to not only consider the themes, topics and approaches in the contest of the classroom, but also their real-world application. In my course, "Paris Noir" (Black Paris), for example, we discuss racial identity, inequality, and social justice. These are issues not particular to the texts we are reading, but to the world we are living in today. It is also very touching to see students grapple with a challenging topics such as racism and sexism in another language, and to be able to thoughtfully express their views on subjects they may having conversations about in other contexts.