Core Faculty

Olivia C. Harrison

Professor of French and Italian, Comparative Literature, Middle East Studies and American Studies & Ethnicity

Olivia C. Harrison’s research focuses on postcolonial North African, Middle Eastern, and French literature, film, and theory, with a particular emphasis on aesthetic and political affiliations between writers and intellectuals from the Global South. Her first book, Transcolonial Maghreb: Imagining Palestine in the Era of Decolonization (Stanford University Press, 2016), analyzes the representation of Palestine in Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian literary works and public debates from the 1960s to the present. She is currently working on two book projects. Her second book project, Indigenous Critique: French Anti-Racism and the Question of Palestine, charts the emergence of the Palestinian question in France, from the anti-racist movements of the late 1960s to contemporary art and activism. Her third book project, tentatively titled The White Minority, analyzes the recuperation of anti-racism (including the Palestinian question) by the French alt right. Coeditor of Souffles-Anfas: A Critical Anthology from the Moroccan Journal of Culture and Politics (Stanford University Press, 2016), Olivia C. Harrison has translated essays and poems by Abdelkebir Khatibi, Abraham Serfaty, and Abdellatif Laâbi.

Keywords: Maghreb; Palestine; Beur and banlieue literature and film; decolonization; transcolonial studies; global south studies; racism and anti-racism; translation

Courses: “Translating Race”; “Colonial Subjects”; “France and Islam”; “Third World Documents”; “The Abrahamic”

Edwin Hill

Associate Professor of French and Italian and American Studies and Ethnicity

Edwin Hill

My research lies at the intersections of popular music and literature, with a focus on histories of race and modernity, theories of sound, post/colonialism and black feminist thought, black Atlantic and Mediterranean noir fiction, and popular musical forms and cultural practices (jazz, hip hop, and house). I published my book Black Soundscapes White Stages: The Meaning of Francophone Sound in the Black Atlantic by Johns Hopkins University Press (African diaspora series, 2013). Published articles appear in Ethnomusicology Forum, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, and Negritud: Journal of Afro-Latin American Studies. My book-in-progress deals with black rage and sound cultures in France and the US. Courses taught: “Modernités noires: Afro-modernism, Blackness, and Le Noir”; “The Soundtracks of Our Lives: Sound, Power, and Technology”; “Global Ciphers: Hip Hop Circles Around the World.”

Keywords: popular music; black radicalism; black Atlantic literature; theories of race; modernity; post/colonialism; detective and noir fiction.

Natania Meeker

Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature

My research and teaching interests include animated and animating plants, vegetal ontologies, plant art and media, materialisms old and new, feminist theory and thought, and the Enlightenment, broadly conceived. I recently completed a co-authored book with Antónia Szabari entitled Radical Botany: Plants and Speculative Fiction from Early to Late Modernity, forthcoming from Fordham University Press. My 2006 book, Voluptuous Philosophy: Literary Materialism in the French Enlightenment, was also published with Fordham. My current book in progress, Illusion Without Error, explores feminine materialism and materialist femininity from the eighteenth century through to the present day.
Keywords: radical botany; vegetal ontology; materialisms; feminisms, gender, and sexuality; libertine literature; Enlightenment; Epicureanism.
Courses: “Theory Matters”; “Femmes philosophes, femmes révolutionnaires”; “Imagining Other Worlds.”

Lydie Moudileno

Chair of the Department of French and Italian

Marion Frances Chevalier Professor of French. and Professor American Studies and Ethnicity

My research explores literatures and arts from France and the Francophone Global South, with specific inquiries into issues of race and representation in national and transnational contexts. My recent book, Mythologies Postcoloniales, is a Barthes-inspired study of colonial signs and racialized myths in 21st-century France (co-authored with E. Achille, Editions Champions, 2018). In progress is a multi-contributor volume documenting physical and immaterial traces of Empire in the French Republic, entitled Postcolonial Realms of Memory, to be published by Liverpool University Press.

Keywords: Caribbean literature; Francophone Africa; Popular Culture; Frenchness and Race; Authorship; 2oth and 21st Century fiction; French Atlantic cultural history and representations.

Courses: “Postcolonial Theory: The Francophone Context”; “Representing Africa”; “War, Fiction and the Postcolonial”; “What is a postcolonial author?.”

Panivong Norindr

Associate Professor of French and Italian and Comparative Literature

My areas of research and teaching interests include postcolonial theory, contemporary Francophone and French studies, and Francophone, French, and Southeast Asian cinema;  comparative media, the documentary and essay film. I am the author of Phantasmatic Indochina:  French Colonial Ideology in Architecture, Film, and Literature (Duke UP, 1996) and currently completing a book manuscript entitled (Post)Colonial Screens.

Keywords: Comparative media, Contemporary French Studies, Francophone theory, French and Southeast Asian cinema.

Courses: “The Art of War,” “Modernités,” “The French New Wave” “Southeast Asian Cinemas.”

Antonia Szabari

Professor of French and Comparative Literature

My research and teaching interests include political theologies and the fragility and contestability of the public sphere in early modern Europe. My book, Less Rightly Said: Scandals and Readers in Sixteenth-Century France was published by Stanford University Press in 2010. I am working on a monograph on anti-diplomacy in sixteenth-century French politics in the Ottoman Empire. In recent years I have also worked collaboratively with my colleague Natania Meeker on the materialist tradition of botany and its intersections with gender, sexuality, and media. This collaboration has resulted in articles on botany, plants in ecological art, vegetal ontology, and plant horror. Together we have also completed a co-authored manuscript entitled Radical Botany: Plants and Speculative Fiction from Early to Late Modernity, forthcoming from Fordham University Press.

Keywords: early modern literature in France and Europe, letters, pamphlets, scandals, the public sphere (from early to late modern), political theologies, history of botany, radical botany, vegetal ontology, speculative fiction, plants and/as affective media.

Courses: “Plants Attack!”; “Diplomacy, Disingenuity, and Literature”; “Montaigne’s Essays,” “Theory’s New Terrains: From Territory to Blasted Landscapes”

Jennifer Jane Wild

Jennifer J. Wild specializes in French cinema and visual culture; the history and theory of modernism and the avant-garde; political aesthetics; and historiography. Her first book, The Parisian Avant-Garde in the Age of Cinema, 1900-1923 (The University of California Press, 2015; short-listed, Kraszna-Krausz Best Moving Image Book Award, 2016;  Honorary Mention, Wylie Prize in French Cultural Studies, 2014-15), explores how the early cinema experience, rather than films alone, was a key component in the development of early twentieth-century modern and avant-garde art including Cubist and abstract painting, and Dada’s radical manner of reimagining art and its experience for the masses. By using a historical, archival approach to explore theoretical, formal, and conceptual questions related to the historical cinema experience, Wild’s book offers an anti-patriarchal and anti-canonical account of avant-gardism and early cinema in Paris, identifying them as mutually inclusive frameworks for radical spectatorship, aesthetic reception, and modernist form. She is currently completing a second book: Radical Recognition: Photography, Film, and History in the Image studies the political aesthetics of the mechanically reproduced image as it was deployed by the French and Belgian avant-garde across the twentieth century to query the image’s potential liberation from structural systems of signification in what Wild calls “technological secularism.”

Research keywords: the European historical avant-garde, modernism, visual and material culture, cinema history, historical film exhibition and experience, aesthetic reception, political aesthetics

Teaching Faculty

Rania Ben Amor


Rania Ben Amor received her M.A from Paris Sorbonne University in French Literature and an M.A from Boston College in French Language and Gender Studies. Her interests and research engage in implementing literature, virtual reality, gender studies into foreign language acquisition classroom, and fostering communicative and cultural competencies. She is also the founder of Association de la Francophonie where she organizes cultural events within the department and beyond.

Nathalie Burle

Master Lecturer

Nathalie Burle received her Master of Science and her Doctorate in Learning and Instruction with a specialization in Second Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics from the Rossier School of Education. She also holds a French Maitrise (M.A) in Foreign Languages and Letters from Universite de Provence in Aix-en-Provence, France. Her research focuses on Cognitive Cultural Studies, Second Language Acquisition, Applied Linguistics, Educational Psychology and Curriculum.

Julia Chamberlin

Master Lecturer

Julia Chamberlin has been teaching French at USC since 2004.  Her interests include second language acquisition and language assessment.  Her courses focus on bringing authentic materials into the classroom to further second language acquisition and cultural competency.  As coordinator of French 120, Julia is responsible for curriculum development as well as the training of new Assistant Lecturers.

Jennifer Misran

Assistant Professor (Teaching) of French

Jennifer Misran’s interests include Francophone African and Caribbean literature, space and identity, postcolonial studies, the tortured body. Her contribution“Entre ‘lutte’ et ‘paix’: violence et abjection du corps féminin dans Contours du jour qui vient” in L’oeuvre Romanesque de Léonora Miano: fiction, mémoire et enjeux identitaires was published with L’Harmattan in October 2014.

Beatrice Mousli

Professor (Teaching) of French

As a biographer (four published, Valery Larbaud, Max Jacob, Philippe Soupault and Susan Sontag (2017)), I am interested in life-writing studies, as well as intellectual history, which includes history of publishing. In the recent years, I have published on those topics as well as Francophone literature, with a focus on Algerian literature and history, and Kabyle immigration in France. While researching for a new biography, I am also working on a monograph on the life and experiences of early Kabyle Muslim immigrants in France between the two wars.

Research: life-writing; biography studies; history of publishing; francophone literature and culture; France; twentieth century literature; twentieth-first century literature; colonial studies; post-colonial studies


Atiyeh Showrai

Master Lecturer

Atiyeh Showrai has been teaching French at USC since 1995. She is currently director of the French language program and director of the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris Région Ile-de-France examination center at USC. She is also an ACTFL tester and WPT rater with full certification.  Her pedagogical focus is on standards based language instruction at all levels, including Creative Writing, Business French, and Legal French. Her courses integrate the use of simulations and content-based instruction using authentic multimedia materials. Her scholarly interests include French for specific purposes, second language acquisition, teaching methodology, and language assessment.

Keywords: Business French, Legal French, creative writing, second language acquisition, assessment, simulations, French for specific purposes

Guilan Siassi

Associate Professor (Teaching) of French

Guilan Siassi has been on the USC faculty since 2012. In addition to teaching in the French basic language program, she also teaches a French 250 course on the theme of “France and its Others” and a general education class on transnational haunting in world literature. Her research engages modern literatures in French, Persian, and English, with a focus on the cultures of the Maghreb, Iran, and their diasporas in France and North America. She has presented and published on a range of topics related to her broader research interests, which include North African literature, women and Islam, psychoanalytic and social theory, translation studies, autobiography, and issues of exile and transculturation. She has been working with the USC Middle East Studies Department on interdisciplinary events and programming since 2015 and is currently serving on the Advisory Board for the Persian Academic and Cultural Student Association.

Keywords: postcolonial literature and film; MENA region; psychoanalysis; the uncanny; ghosts of history; memory and forgetting; (post)national identities; (un)belonging; politics of representation; biopolitics

Mina Soroosh

Assistant Professor (Teaching) of French
Office THH 155
Office Telephone (213) 740-3700

Julie Van Dam

Associate Professor (Teaching) of French

Julie Van Dam teaches French language courses as well as literature and film courses on disability, narratives of illness, bodily difference, gender, and sexuality in African and French contexts. Her interests include theories of disability, feminism, and sexuality as well as the history of medicine and the practice of global health, as seen in African literature and film. Author of Critical Conditions: Illness and Disability in Francophone African and Caribbean Women’s Writing (Lexington, 2012 as Julie C. Nack Ngue), her most recent article on Ousmane Sembène’s Xala appeared in the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (2016). She is currently working on a book project on visual representations of disability and queerness in African film, literature, and music.

Keywords: disability theory; African literature; African film; global health; history of medicine