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Jason Herbeck

Jason Herbeck

After earning a B.A. in French at the University of Wisconsin (1993), I spent a year studying at the Université de Nanterre-Paris X as part of my M.A. in French from Middlebury College, Vermont (1995).  I then returned to Madison, Wisconsin, for my Ph.D. in French (2002), for which I wrote a thesis on the philosophical implications of quest in the works of Franco-Algerian writer Albert Camus.

Ever since, my research has, with some exceptions, taken one of two directions.  I continue to research and write on Camus (examining, for instance, topics such as philosophical approaches to literature, lovers’ discourse and theatre) and, since 2009, serve as Coordinator of the North-American Section and Ex-officio Vice-President of the Société des Études Camusiennes.  I am currently working on an article that examines the theatrical in Camus’s works for the Cahier Camus to be published by Éditions de L’Herne in 2013.  I also focus on literature of the French Caribbean and, in particular, evolving narrative forms of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and how these forms relate to expressions and constructions of identity.  In this vein, I have written articles and book chapters—as well as conducted interviews—on topics such as Caribbean intertextuality, detective fiction and jazz improvisation.  My current research in this area involves a book-length project tentatively titled, Architextual Authenticity: Constructing Literature and Literary Identity in the French Caribbean.

Having been at Boise State University since 2005, I feel fortunate to work at a university where I am not only able to actively pursue both of these avenues of inquiry in my research, but where it is furthermore possible for me to create and teach courses in these varied areas of interest.  Advanced courses I have taught include: The Caribbean Detective Novel, Albert Camus’s Absurd Heroes, Haiti, Of Minds and Men: Camus & Sartre and 21st-Century French-Caribbean Literature.

One of the particularly rewarding ways in which I have been able to combine my teaching and research has been in the form of interviews that my students and I have conducted with writers of the works we study.  One such interview, conducted with Haitian author Évelyne Trouillot, was published in The French Review in 2009; an interview with French Martinican author Fabienne Kanor is forthcoming in the same journal.

I cannot stress enough the importance of studying abroad—not only as a means to better understanding and speaking a second or third language, but in order to view one’s own culture through the eyes of others and to more fully comprehend theirs in return.  Boise State University is a founding partner of USAC, whose study abroad programs I highly recommend.

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