Reena Usha Rungoo
Usha will receive a joint PhD from the departments of French and African American Studies in May 2018, with a specialization in French and Francophone literature and culture. She is currently completing her dissertation, entitled Textual Territories: Spatial Tropes and Narrative Subversion in the Mascarenes and the Antilles. Her dissertation explores various spatial tropes within the content and in the structure and the form of contemporary novels from three Francophone islands of the Global South: Martinique, Guadeloupe and Mauritius. Literature from the Global South, and postcolonial literature in general, are often read for their themes, while aesthetic considerations are often neglected. Her dissertation takes up this understudied area of postcolonial literature and makes the claim that thematic readings need not be divorced from aesthetic considerations and aesthetics need not be depoliticized. She specifically investigates how contemporary novelists acknowledge, subvert and redeploy spatial tropes from such diverse discourses as Négritude, Antillanité, Créolité, Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic, as well as Hinduist and Australian Aboriginal concepts of space. Drawing from a rich set of theoretical sources – including the works of Michel Foucault, Michel de Certeau, Sylvia Wynter, Linda Hutcheon, and Jean Beaudrillard—she positions her work at the intersection of postcolonial studies, Francophone Caribbean studies, Francophone Indian Ocean studies, transatlantic studies, narratology, spatial studies, urban studies and visual studies. Usha holds a M.A. in French Studies from Queen’s University, Ontario, Canada, with a specialization in Québécois literature and culture, and has written a M.A. thesis on Dany Laferrière and visual culture.
Usha is a native of Mauritius, and, before coming to Yale, spent several years teaching French in college, high school-equivalent and public service settings. She has extensive training in the pedagogy of teaching and is currently preparing two certificates, one in teaching (CCTP), and the other, specifically in language teaching (Certificate in SLA). She is currently a McDougal teaching fellow with the Center for Teaching and Learning, and in this capacity, facilitates advanced teaching workshops and organizes university-wide events meant to help new teaching fellows strengthen their pedagogical skills and transition into teaching.