Faculty & Staff
When I started my college studies, my professional path was quite clear: I would become a professor of English in France. But life has a way to bring wonderful and unforeseen opportunities leading me to this small liberal arts college where I have enjoyed sharing my love for the French language, literature, and culture.
For each French course I teach my main objectives are to help my students develop their linguistic skills as well as a deeper cultural and literary appreciation for the French-speaking world, which will in turn allow them to become more mindful individuals who will enjoy communicating with people from 32 countries. Every speech act is a cultural act, every literary text is a cultural and ideological artifact which must be examined from various perspectives, critiqued, deconstructed in order to discover its subtleties and sometimes its contradictions. Therefore, I encourage my students to engage in this multi-faceted learning and to reassess their gender-, class- and nation-centered views and expectations.
My latest courses examine French gastronomy as an instrument of religious, political, and colonial power. Issues of national, social, and sexual identity are often at the center of my literature courses.
Since my teaching is vastly informed by my research, you will not be surprised to learn that I have written on food symbolism in literary texts, identity issues of marginalized characters in fictions from the Middle Ages and the 20th Century, and teaching grammar through fairy tales. Fascinated by French novelist and Literature Nobel prize winner André Gide’s works, his fictions remain at the core of my literary analyses. My two current projects entail a translation into English of Gide’s farce Les caves du Vatican, and a manuscript on food as a social marker of ostracization in Gide’s fictional works.
I have served on many university-wide committees. I am especially interested in enhancing student residential and academic life. Particularly involved in extracurricular activities, you will find me chatting at our weekly conversation group (café francophone), cooking with our French students in our Language and Culture House, playing pétanque, and attending the Richmond Film Festival (in Virginia) with some of our students.
A native of France, I have lived in several French speaking countries and my interest in these francophone cultures enhances both my teaching and my scholarship. My goal in the classroom is to share my enthusiasm with my students and help them acquire the skills necessary to communicate with people from different countries as well as gain a lens for alternate perspectives. I enjoy teaching French language, literature and culture at all levels and always rely on a broad range of audiovisual media (feature films, documentaries, music, news reports, images) in addition to textual material. I also love to hear my students discuss contemporary issues.
Being part of the French professors’ team at Denison is great as I see my students in all kind of fun activities which we organize with the help of our French assistant. From pétanque game to raclette dinner to lectures or café francophone, I have many opportunities to interact with my students outside of the classroom. I also like to organize francophone film festivals at Denison with the financial support of the cultural services of the French embassy.
My scholarship focuses on the French speaking Caribbean (Haiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe). I investigate how writers use spatial representations to convey their sense of belonging. I regularly teach courses based on my research. For instance, I recently taught a seminar entitled “World Literature in French?” and a course on Francophone Caribbean childhood narratives.
When I am not at Denison, I love to spend time with my son Mathéo and my husband Pierre. Hiking, cooking, eating, reading, watching films are all part of les petits plaisirs de ma vie.
- « Montréal, espace à consommer dans Chronique de la dérive douce de Dany Laferrière et Les Aurores montréales de Monique Proulx », dans Interférences littéraires/Literaire interferenties, n° 13, « L’espace et le quotidien dans le roman contemporain », s. dir. Liesbeth Francois & María Pas Olivier, juin 2014. http://www.interferenceslitteraires.be/nr13
- Choquet, Isabelle et Pierre Dairon. “Antonine Maillet, conteuse et raconteuse de l’Acadie”, Oralité et modernité : Le conte d’hier aujourd’hui. Paris: L'Harmattan. (forthcoming, spring 2015)
- Babel à Montréal : ces nomades qui ‘tropicalisent’ la planète”. Metropolitan Mosaics and Melting-pot: Paris and Montreal in Francophone Literatures. Ed by Pascale De Souza and Adlai Murdoch. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.
- “Espace, temps et quête identitaire dans l’œuvre de Maryse Condé : l’Amérique du Nord dans Desirada” MaComère.12.1 (2010) : 30-44. http://www.macomerejournal.com/issues/012a.html
- “L'espace/temps de l'origine : reflets identitaires dans les récits d'enfance de Confiant, Chamoiseau (de Martinique), Laferrière et Ollivier (d'Haïti)” Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée. 38.1. (2011) : 25-39.
My name is Yvonne-Marie Mokam. I am Assistant professor of French and Francophone studies in the Department of Modern Languages at Denison University. What I bring to Denison University is not only my training in Cameroon, France and the United States but also my several years of teaching experience at the Université de Douala (Cameroon), the University of Arizona (Tucson AZ) and American University (Washington DC). This has provided me with a firm background in postcolonial theory and criticism that I use in my teaching and research.
Since joining the Modern Languages Department at Denison University in the fall of 2013, I have contributed to expand the offerings of the French program by including courses in postcolonial francophone Sub-Saharan African. I have developed and taught courses such as Women Voices and a senior seminar on global Africa. I have also taught existing language classes including Intermediate French, Introduction to literature reading and grammar, Conversation and phonetics.
While the most important part of what I do at Denison University is teaching, some of my in-class discussions have sparked interests that I have developed into research projects focusing on emerging literary voices in francophone postcolonial Africa. Of particular interest to me are issues of history, memory and identity in the current global era. Other accomplishments are papers presented at several conferences in the U.S. and abroad.