Tag Archives: French Caribbean Author

Visiting Fellowship at Emory University, Atlanta

The Zobel project is on the move once again… special greetings to any new readers of this blog who are in Atlanta, Georgia! It is a privilege to be here. DSC02022

I am currently working in Atlanta as a Visiting Fellow at Emory University, where I am based in the Department of French and Italian. This is a wonderful chance for me to exchange more transatlantic perspectives on Zobel and his legacy, and was an activity I planned when I submitted my AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship application in 2013.

Zobel is widely taught across the US, through text and film, and my time in Atlanta gives me an invaluable opportunity to understand how he is taught, and to discuss possible new approaches to teaching his work based on my new research findings with my American colleagues.

Over the past few days, I’ve taught classes on Zobel and on Caribbean literature more generally with my colleague Prof. Valérie Loichot, an expert on Francophone Caribbean literature whose latest book The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature was awarded the Modern Language Association of America’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize earlier this year. It is a fascinating study and Valérie’s insights into food are particularly interesting to me in the light of my own recent work on ecocriticism and food security in Martinique.

I’ve been explaining my pDSC02161roject to faculty members and to students, and this helps me to think about how I present my research to different audiences.

It’s an excellent chance to discuss my past activities – from the Paris Salon du Livre to my work in April for the Zobel Centenary in Rivière-Salée in Martinique, to my ‘Indiana Jones moment’ at the British Library in London.

Next week, I’ll also be working with Prof. Michael Wiedorn at Georgia Institute of Technology, and I’m looking forward to meeting colleagues and students there!

I am also preparing to give research seminars and am really impressed at the quality of the poster produced by a graduate student at Emory – here it is!

poster

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August activities and Zobel project summer shutdown

Last week I attended an international Summer School at the University of Oxford on Ecoliteracy.

Ecoliteracy is a broad term which refers to a range of different practices and theories focusing on how we interact with the natural world. In our current, rapidly urbanizing western societies, it is increasingly clear that an urgent rethinking of our relationship with nature is required.

I’ve blogged before about the importance of the environment in Zobel’s works, and my experiments at using the branch of literary theory called ecocriticism to address this neglected aspect of his work. I’ve also mentioned my new role at the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) and you can read more about this here..

BiFoR and UoB logos and treeFrom his literature to his interest in Ikebana, the environment and the place of the human being within wider systems is something that urgently needs to be explored and reassessed in Zobel’s work.

The Oxford course was fantastic – the attendees hailed from many different continents and we were encouraged by our excellent teacher Jane Corbett to draw as much on our own experiences as on the theories about the environment that were on our reading list. My colleagues shared their own expertise in fields as diverse as health and safety, waste management, psychiatry, biology, retirement living and teacher training, which made for a rich and stimulating week.

It provided very fertile conditions (excuse the pun) to explore the environment in Zobel and I enjoyed setting my thoughts down on paper for my end-of-course assignment.

As a continuing professional development activity, it was refreshing to once again be the student (I’m not sure that ever stops)!

flower

I also had the pleasure of seeing some Martinican colleagues who were visiting the UK. I took them on a whistle-stop tour of Oxford, and in amongst visiting colleges, they brought me up to date on progress with the Joseph Zobel centenary in Martinique. They were also excited to hear about what the Guardian termed my “Indiana Jones moment” 🙂

Now, it’s back to my desk! I’ll be focusing on drafting my book chapters for the rest of August, and then having a period of annual leave, so I’ll return to the blog in late September – à bientôt!

This Academic Life – July 2015

It has been another busy month so time for my regular round-up post on my more ‘traditional’ academic activities!

After conference season (see last month’s ‘Adademic Life’ post), I have been busy writing.

Queue several weeks where I have barely left my office and have tried to draw together the various strands of my research into coherent threads, and to express my ideas with clarity in my book chapters.

Quite a few people seem interested in the writing process. It is different for everyone: personally, I prefer to work in silence, on a desktop computer sitting at my desk, with my books at arm’s reach. I try not to check email until the afternoon – by then, what I think of as my “research brain” is tired, and I’m ready to address administrative emails / form filling in etc.

But no researcher is an island (not even those of us working on islands!). At times like these, keeping in touch with friends and other colleagues is essential. As we tend not to work in research teams in the Arts, and are often still working to the ‘lone scholar’ model, it is really important to schedule ‘structured’ contact with others – either in person or via skype etc. This gives added perspective on what we are doing, and helps us see the wood for the trees. These support networks are vital!

In other news, this month, as part of my public engagement and impact activities, I have published an article on my Zobel research with The Guardian Higher Education Network online.

Me outside the British LibraryThe article describes my “Indiana Jones moment” when I realised that a watercolour in the British Library was mislabelled, and held a secret connection to Joseph Zobel:

http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/jul/30/my-indiana-jones-moment-the-day-i-uncovered-an-error-in-the-archives

It has been a new experience for me to write for The Guardian, and it has been both challenging and fascinating to see how to shape my research for wider audiences. I hope if nothing else the article will encourage people to learn more about the French Caribbean and Zobel, and maybe it will help other Early Career Researchers out there to tell similar stories about the different aspects of the research process.

Talk in London next week

On Friday 17th July, I will be giving a talk (in English) on Joseph Zobel at the British Library in London. The talk forms part of my collaboration with the British Library, particularly the team in the Eccles Centre, and we have been planning it for some time.

I am really looking forward to talking about my research into Martinique at the British Library, and will reveal all about a mystery image of Martinique which holds an unexpected lost connection with Zobel! I’ve been putting out some teasers on Twitter about this: https://twitter.com/ZobelProject

Here’s a short description of Friday’s talk:

  • Joseph Zobel, French Caribbean author

Louise Hardwick discusses Joseph Zobel’s work and its contribution to understandings of Négritude, colonialism and post-slavery Martinique.

I’m excited to have a chance to share my various Zobel-related adventures, from archives to school visits, in Martinique and France over the past few months with audiences in the UK. The talk takes place take place between 12.30-14.00 in the Bronte Room, British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB You can find a summary of my talk here: http://www.bl.uk/eccles/events.html And you can book a free ticket, which includes tea and coffee, here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/eccles-centre-summer-scholars-series-2015-8254723394 Venez nombreux!

Summary of activities in Martinique

Since I returned from Martinique, I haven’t had much free time to update the blog! I have given an invited seminar paper on Joseph Zobel at the University of Nottingham, and then last week was in London to discuss my project with colleagues at the British Library, where I’ll be giving a talk on Zobel in July (more on that in a future blog post…).

I’ve also begun reflecting on the activities I undertook in Martinique in April for the launch of the ‘Year of Zobel’ marking Zobel’s centenary, and have produced this summary of my fieldwork:

Dr Louise Hardwick has just returned from AHRC fieldwork in Martinique in the French Caribbean, where she undertook archival research and was an invited speaker at the festivities marking the centenary of author Joseph Zobel’s birth.

For the past two years, Louise has been preparing the centenary in collaboration with colleagues in Martinique, thinking about how her contribution can help to change the way that people in Martinique understand Zobel’s works. One of the key aims of the centenary visit was to discuss Zobel’s international reputation with Martinicans. Many Martinicans are unaware that he is a literary ambassador for the island and its rich culture.

In Rivière-Salée, where Zobel was born, there was keen public interest in Louise’s work. With the help of her University students, Louise contributed to an exhibition on Zobel at the Médiathèque de Rivière-Salée, a high-tech public library. Louise asked her students for their opinions of studying Zobel, and used the information in the exhibition to show young Martinicans that their literature is influencing young people at the throughout the world.

Louise was welcomed to Rivière-Salée by the Mayor, Andre Lesueur, and was invited to give a public talk to launch the town’s celebrations, which led to a lively debate and some great audience feedback.

At her school presentations, what better way to introduce pupils to Birmingham than by letting them know that the University welcomed the 2012 Jamaican Track and Field team.

Louise gave a presentation to 100 school pupils at the Lycée Joseph Zobel in Rivière-Salée, a school named after Zobel which holds an annual “Joseph Zobel Week”. She also spoke to 700 pupils at the middle school Collège George-Elisabeth during their whole-school celebrations of Joseph Zobel’s centenary.

The launch of the
The launch of the “Year of Zobel” at la villa Laguerre in Petit-Bourg
M. le Maire Andre Lesueur launches
The Mayor of Rivière-Salée, André Lesueur, launches “Joseph Zobel week” at Joseph Zobel High School
The Mediatheque - a high-tech public library - in Riviere-Salee
The Mediatheque – a high-tech public library – in Riviere-Salee (for some reason, WordPress won’t accept accents in my captions any more, although it did above!?!)
Louise with Raphaelle Bouville, her collaborator at the Mediatheque in Riviere-Salee, in front of the exhibition panels that Louise and her Birmingham students helped to create
Louise with Raphaelle Bouville, her collaborator at the Mediatheque in Riviere-Salee, in front of the exhibition panels that Louise and her Birmingham students helped to create

This report can also be viewed at:

http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/french/news/2015/hardwick-zobel-centenary.aspx 

3 QUESTIONS A… TV interview

Here’s the link to my TV interview (in French) for the channel ATV in Martinique about my activities during the Zobel Centenary!

The programme is called “3 QUESTIONS A”, although the presenter Jean-Marc Pulvar definitely asked more than 3 questions…

This was my first TV interview and everything happened very quickly. I had no idea what line of enquiry Jean-Marc would take – after a quick sound check, the cameras began to roll and the questions started to flow!

I had watched the programme before – it runs as a segment during the evening news and is one of the best-known daily programmes on Martinican TV. The strapline is “les hommes et les femmes qui font l’actualité de la Martinique” – the men and women who are making the news in Martinique – so I am honoured to be counted as someone who is shaping the Martinican news!

p.s. J’ai réussi à dire un petit bonjour aux lycéens du Lycée Joseph Zobel 🙂

Permanent link:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2oav76_3-questions-a-0105-louise-hardouik_news

The original link (the show was up online on ATV’s website for a week):

http://atv.mq/replay_trois-questions-a_9-2867_louise-hardwick-professeur-de-francais-et-chercheuse-en-angleterre.html

This week – launch of the Year of Zobel in Martinique

I am honoured that Rivière-Salée invited me to give the opening talk for the Year of Zobel.

Thank you to all who attended the Centre culturel in Rivière-Salée on 22 April!

My talk was in French, and was called “Joseph Zobel, le romancier de la Négritude”? I was delighted to be able to answer so many questions from the audience afterwards – thank you for this enthusiastic exchange!

And today it was a pleasure to speak at the Collège Georges Elisabeth during their “Hommage à Joseph Zobel” – congratulations to all the pupils who took part, and to all those who attended!

But it’s not over… If you are near a TV in Martinique tonight I’ll be speaking about Zobel on ATV for the programme “3 Questions à”…(3 Questions for…) and then on Zouk TV for a special episode on Zobel.

Follow updates on Twitter @Zobelproject

https://twitter.com/ZobelProject

This Academic Life – March

This month has been pretty much dominated by Salon du Livre preparations and the event itself, which was fantastic. It was extremely valuable to discuss my work on Zobel during a public debate with key cultural figures who are also interested in him from Martinique and France. You know it has been a good discussion when, unprompted, a member of the audience asks if they can take the microphone and respond to the comments we were making!

This represented a real leap forward for my work to change the public understanding of Joseph Zobel and Caribbean literature more generally. My Round Table comments drew some very positive and helpful feedback, and I’m now in the final stages of planning more research and public engagement activities in Martinique…

I’ve included the write-up of my Salon du Livre activities which appeared on the University of Birmingham news pages below:

Paris Book Fair

Louise Hardwick was an invited speaker at the prestigious Paris Book Fair this weekend, and participated in a Round Table debate on Joseph Zobel’s legacy.

The debate was organised by the Ministry for Overseas France in collaboration with a French group of cultural advisors, museum curators, writers, artists and academics who are working on Joseph Zobel. The event was a major milestone in Louise’s programme of activities in the UK, France, Martinique and the USA as an AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellow.

At the Round Table, Louise spoke alongside Professor Romuald Fonkoua from the Sorbonne, artist Roland Monpierre who has just launched a graphic novel adaptation of one of Zobel’s novels, and members of the Zobel family, Jenny Zobel and Charlotte Zobel, who are actively involved in exploring Joseph Zobel’s legacy.

Louise discussed her current AHRC-funded research project on Zobel, which will lead to a complete reassessment of Zobel’s many novels, short stories, poetry and other cultural output (including painting, sculpture and radio broadcasts), giving rise to a more complete understanding of the impact of this prolific author who played a major cultural role in Martinique, Senegal and France.

The French Minister for Overseas France, George Pau-Langevin, was present in the audience, as was the President of the Martinican Cultural Commission, Yvette Galot, who praised the Round Table debate for improving the public understanding of Zobel’s significance, commenting that “it is essential to continue this vital work on Zobel’s heritage.”

Zobel’s best-known novel La Rue Cases-Nègres and its film adaptation Sugar Cane Alley by Euzhan Palcy are both widely studied across the Anglophone world, from the USA to Australia. Euzhan Palcy, who is based in New York, and Martinican Head of Museums Lyne-Rose Beuze were also present at the Salon du Livre, and provided their invaluable perspectives on Zobel’s legacy.

Tweet Tweet @ZobelProject

I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the Zobel family for these images of our Round Table on Joseph Zobel!

The lively debate led to great feedback from the audience, which included members of  the public, Martinique officials and the French Minister for Overseas Territories, George Pau-Langevin.

Salon du Livre Louise Table ronde Salon du Livre Table ronde

The Joseph Zobel Project is now live on Twitter, and I’ve been tweeting highlights from my Salon du Livre experience, with more to come over the weekend.

Follow the latest developments at @ZobelProject

Preparing for Paris

This week, I’m heading to Paris to speak at the Paris Salon du Livre (Paris Book Fair).

The Salon du Livre is a fantastic cultural event which brings together leading authors from all over the world who write in French and other languages, for five days of debates and talks.

I’ll be speaking as part of a Round Table on Joseph Zobel alongside colleagues from the Sorbonne, authors, and members of Zobel’s family… more to follow next week!

In other news, my colleagues at the University of Nottingham have kindly added my blog post on Joseph Zobel and WW1 to their website: http://hiddenhistorieswwi.ac.uk/?s=louise+hardwick