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Olivia C Harrison

Assistant Professor of French and Italian

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-0104
Office: THH 153

Department of French and Italian
Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture
Middle East Studies Program
French Honors Program


Ph.D. French and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 5/2010
M.Phil. French and Comparative Literature, Columbia University, 2/2007
M.A. French, Columbia University, 10/2005
B.A. French and Linguistics, Oxford University, 6/2002

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

Olivia C. Harrison’s research focuses on postcolonial North African and French literature and transcolonial affiliations between Maghrebi and Third World writers and artists. Her current book project, tentatively titled “Transcolonial Maghreb: Reading Palestine in Maghrebi Literature,” analyzes the representation of Palestine in Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian literary works from the 1960s to the present, and argues that the turn to Palestine in the Maghreb intersected with a reflection on the forms and languages of postcolonial North African literature and culture. She is simultaneously working on a second book project that charts the emergence of the Palestinian question in France, both in political and intellectual discourses and in artistic works. Without neglecting key figures such as Jean Genet and Jean-Luc Godard, this book will lend central importance to Franco-Maghrebi, Beur, and banlieue mediations of the question of Palestine in France, examining in particular the triangulation of the interlinked histories of France, Algeria and Palestine-Israel. Olivia Harrison also translates North African literary and scholarly works. She is currently co-editing a translation of selected texts from the Moroccan journal "Souffles-Anfas," and has translated several seminal essays by the late Moroccan philosopher Adbelkebir Khatibi.

Research Specialties

Maghrebi and Beur/banlieue literature and film; diversity in postcolonial France; the historiography and memory of colonization in France and Algeria; women and war in the Middle East and North Africa; anti- and postcolonial theory; Islam and the West; translation.

Conferences and Other Presentations

Conference Presentations

""Mapping Algeria and Palestine in Transcolonial France"", "Mapping the Mediterranean", Talk/Oral Presentation, University of Michigan, Fall 2013   
""Godard, l'Algérie, la Palestine"", Talk/Oral Presentation, European School of Visual Arts, France, Invited, Fall 2012   
"'La banlieue est lointaine de la Palestine': Performing Palestine in Contemporary France", Talk/Oral Presentation, Columbia University, Invited, Fall 2011   
"Transcolonial Poetics: The Figure of Palestine in _Souffles-Anfas_", Modern Language Association, Talk/Oral Presentation, Spring 2011   
"Collective Memory and Multidirectional Resistance in Assia Djebar’s _Le blanc de l’Algérie_ and _Oran, langue morte_", "Rethinking Resistance", Talk/Oral Presentation, Emory University, Spring 2007   
"Telling Catastrophe After Oslo: The Politics of Memory in Elias Khoury’s _Bab Al-Shams_", American Comparative Literature Association, Talk/Oral Presentation, Spring 2007   
"Mother Tongue, Other Tongue: Bi-Langue, Anamnesis and the Figure of Woman in Abdelkébir Khatibi’s _Amour bilingue_", Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association, Talk/Oral Presentation, Fall 2006   

Other Presentations

"Tales from Palestine", roundtable panel, Tribute Gallery, Portland, OR, Fall 2010   


Journal Article

Harrison, O. C. (2014). "Performing Palestine in Contemporary France: Mohamed Rouabhi's Transcolonial Banlieue". Modern and Contemporary France. Vol. 22 (1), pp. 43-57. Full text
Harrison, O. C. (2013). Cross-Colonial Poetics: _Souffles-Anfas_ and the Figure of Palestine. PMLA. Vol. 128 (2), pp. 353-69.
Harrison, O. C. (2013). Rethinking "Jews" and "Arabs" Through Palestine: Transcolonial Perspectives on Maghrebi Literature. Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: SITES. pp. pp. 17-27.
Harrison, O. C. (2012). Staging Palestine in France-Algeria: Popular Theater and the Politics of Transcolonial Comparison. Social Text. Vol. 112, pp. 27-47.
Harrison, O. C. (2009). "Resistances of Literature: Strategies of Narrative Affiliation in Etel Adnan’s _Sitt Marie Rose_". Postcolonial Text. Vol. 5 (2)


Other Advisement or Time Devoted to Students

Director of the French Honors Program, 2012-  

Honors and Awards

USC ASHSS Grant Writing Mentorship Program, 2013-2014   
USC Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund Award, Zumberge Individual Research Grant, 2013-2014   
Grand Marnier Fellowship, 2007-2008   
Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellowship in Arabic, 2005-2006   
Peter H. Kaufman Fellowship, 2005-2006   
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