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India and the Diasporic Imagination

Rita Christian
Judith Misrahi-Barak

Loss, Mourning and Trauma

Unveiling Everyday Traumas: Migrations in Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night

Sophie Croisy


This essay on Shani Mootoo’s text Cereus Blooms at Night seeks to bring forth the characteristics and causes of cultural trauma in a displaced family, the Ramchandin family, which migrated from India in order to escape their karmic destiny as indentured servants. Their departure from the homeland and arrival on the imaginary Caribbean island of Lantanacamara turns out to be the original traumatic event that will haunt two generations of Ramchandin children who will have to bear the weight of acculturation and mental corruption after confrontations with the colonial system in place on the island. This essay is about the difficult struggle against a web of colonial regulations which deny any possibility for individual and collective improvement (be it personal, cultural, or social) in a place satiated with colonial fanaticism; but in the end, it opens a window towards potential opportunities for healing and rising again beyond the forces of oppression, and despite the violence of the fall.

Texte intégral

1The term ‘migration’ usually refers to a physical movement from one place to another far away, a movement which begins with the act of departing from the place we are attached to culturally and emotionally, and ends with the act of arriving at a new location with its own cultural and social regulations. For a displaced people, dissemination through the departure from one’s homeland and subsequent arrival in the homeland of another is ‘an arrival within a history no longer simply their own’ (Caruth 1996: 18), but which necessarily implicates others. This new history requires a certain level of entanglement between the ones who have arrived and the ones already there. It is this complicated entanglement between cultural groups that Shani Mootoo wants to represent in her text Cereus Blooms at Night through the story of the Ramchandin family. After arriving from India on the imaginary Caribbean island of Lantanacamara, the Ramchandin family—wife and husband— work countless hours to secure a better future for their son Chandin. Chandin’s father, ‘by making the long journey across the ocean […] hoped to leave behind […] his inherited karmic destiny as a servant labourer—if not for himself, at least for his son’ (26). However, this geographical migration in the hope of a better life appears in Mootoo’s text as the original trauma that will lead a family and the people close to it into tragedy. As a matter of fact, the island of Lantanacamara does not turn out to be the place of freedom where personal projects can be enacted and desires fulfilled outside the limits of a conservative and destructive hierarchized system, but it simply is another caste system which weighs heavily on the ‘darker’ inhabitants of an island subjected to the culture of imperial dominance— one of the most visible vectors of that dominance being religious conversion.

2According to Ann Cvetkovich, nowadays, ‘the presence of geographic dislocation in a range of trauma histories suggests the intersections of trauma and migration’ (120). As a matter of fact, the field of trauma studies today produces what Cvetkovich calls ‘trauma histories’. These trauma histories offer counter narratives to the uncritical, one-sided and monolithic stories of colonization by paying careful attention to issues of racial, cultural and social differences in the process of rethinking the displaced ‘dark’ subject. Here, displacement is addressed as an ensemble of traumas that correspond to psychical, socio-cultural or/and geographical mutations. These new histories do not ignore or repress the violence and the exclusion experienced by colonized people—whether at home or abroad, but on the contrary they expose their traumatic journey.

3In Mootoo’s text, a novel which is a fictional form of trauma history, we will see how the original trauma of migration, of departure from home and subsequent arrival into another repressive social system is repeated endlessly, though with a difference, by the Ramchandin descendants and their close acquaintances. One could even argue that the arrival in fact never occurs since the members of the Ramchandin family remain outsiders on the island, and thus forever deterritorialized. The Ramchandin descendants and the people close to them go through different forms of migration, whether a forced cultural migration into the social and cultural institutions of the island dominated by the Wetlanders (English people), or a migration from the island community towards its outside. In any case, the story of the Ramchandin family is one fictional representation of the devastating effects of acculturation on the darker immigrant strata of Caribbean communities as the omnipotent though often invisible imperial voice dislocates (both in the sense of excluding and mentally dismembering) the identity of the immigrant. However, as we will see, some voices rise up in the midst of disaster to transform the trauma of uprootedness into a resource for constructing non-normative forms of being in the world.

4In order to begin my commentary on the traumatic migrations of specific characters in the text, it is useful to specify the way in which the story of the Ramchandin family is given to us. In this text, this tragic story which belongs to the past at the beginning of the novel (analepsis and prolepsis characterize this novel) is told by a narrator/character named Tyler, who is not directly connected to the Ramchandin family, except through his Indian origin. He works as a nurse in the only nursing home on the island. In the Lantanacamara community, this narrator, though born and raised on the island, is considered as an outsider for two reasons. First, he went to the ‘Shivering Northern wetlands’ which is a fictional name for England, to study nursing. He is not regarded as an islander when he comes back because of his embodiment of an aspect of modernity the Lantanacamara community, drowned out by strongly entrenched Christian ideas of gender, disallows. As a matter of fact, he is very much effeminate, almost transgendered, described as ‘kind of funny’ (73). He becomes the subject of all gossips and the preferred object of mockery and homophobic comments for the staff of the alms house. It is there that he meets for the first time Mala Ramchandin, an old woman who one day arrives at the almshouse in a deplorable physical and mental state. This elder woman, keeper of gruesome family secrets and known for decades and throughout the island as the embodiment of insanity, has lived for years as an outsider in a run-down house before her arrival at the nursing home. She is the island lunatic, thought to possess ‘the ability to leap her fence, track an offending child into its hiding place and tear out its mind’ (113).

5Mala and Tyler, who recognize the outcast in each other, build a relationship that will enable Tyler to learn and unveil the story of the Ramchandin family, a story Tyler wants to tell in the hope that the telling will act as a call for Asha Ramchandin, Mala’s long disappeared and longed for younger sister, to come back to Lantanacamara and save Mala from madness and solitude. Tyler and Mala are two characters who, in a way, have migrated out of the social system of the island, more or less willingly. They are loners, outsiders. There is no room for them in a community that is ruled by a closed system of thought because their very being, their other humanity, and the intricacies of their respective histories lie way beyond that system and are quite rarely comprehensible to the members of a community whose frame of thinking is carefully limited by a colonial social framework based on religious values which see madness and gender difference as the marks of the other, the different, the unacceptable. Early in the story, Tyler talks about his relationship with Mala and argues that together, they ‘had found [their] ways and fortified [them] selves against the rest of the world’ (48), despite the fact that they remained both ‘suspended […] in the limbo state between existence and nonexistence’ (77). For both of them, existence is allowed only outside the community of reference. Nonetheless, their relationship acts like a shield against trauma and enables the telling of Mala’s traumatic story of survival which could not have been uttered without the protection from the ghosts of the past offered to Mala by Tyler whose role as her sole care-taker and witness he plays with touching intensity. He is witness to the trauma of the Ramchandin family the members of which have become victims of the tyranny of normality and cultural integration. He is the middle voice, that is a responsible and empathizing agent of story-telling who ‘remains enveloped in the released action’ (18) and becomes the medium for the historicization of events and their externalization, processes which mean to put an end to the Ramchandin family’s entrapment in trauma.

6The story of Mala Ramchandin starts out, as mentioned earlier, with her grandparents arrived from India in the hope of a better future for their family of indentured field labourers. This hope is embodied by their son Chandin, who is to become the father of Mala, and whose talent in school as a boy was noticed by Reverend Thoroughly, English missionary on Lantanacamara island and director of a seminary for Indians (under colonial rule) who, after assessing Chandin’s intellectual capabilities, decides to ‘take Chandin to live with him to offer him a bright future’ (28). This ‘bright future’ does not come without a price as Chandin and his parents are required to convert to Christianity in order to take advantage of the Reverend’s offer. Chandin is thus separated from his family, and is quite quick and willing to succumb to religious conversion and acculturation. Despite the Reverend’s request, Chandin’s parents, however, keep their cultural and religious integrity and practice Hinduism while pretending to be converted to Christianity. Their traumatic migration is characterized by the vanishing away of a dream, the failure to discover a social system where the notion of caste does not intervene in people’s social success, but their cultural integrity remains untouched as they choose to cling to their cultural past for survival. Chandin’s traumatic migration, however, takes a rather violent and destructive shape as he does not seek the balance between past and present. After some time spent in the Thoroughly household, Chandin starts to be ‘embarrassed by his parents’ reluctance to embrace the smarter-looking, smarter-acting, Reverend’s religion’ (30), and embarrassed by their lack of material possessions: ‘he felt that his people’s lack of […] things was a result of apathy and a poverty of ambition […] he felt immense distaste for his background and the people in it’ (32). His parents’ house is no match to the Thoroughly house, filled with Chandeliers and cabinets, and so Chandin decides not to see his parents anymore and stay away from a community of origin he comes to despise because of its low economic status. This departure from his origins and history, this rejection of his past and his family’s cultural inheritance in order to better enter the world of opportunities promised to him by the Reverend is a strong index of traumatic migration: the geographical migration from his house to that of his ‘benefactor’ leads to a cultural migration as Chandin fully and uncritically adopts the religion and customs of his new ‘parents’, Reverend and Mrs. Thoroughly. However, this conversion is corrupted from the start as it does not come as the consequence of a genuine or induced desire to follow the precepts of the Christian God, but as the consequence of his admiration for the wealth of his new Christian family—here, religion and capitalistic endeavors are intertwined.

7However, one cannot but miss that Chandin encounters difficulties in finding a place in this household. Not very long after joining the Thoroughly family, he can only find as an ‘antidote to the chaos of his uprootedness’ the sole comfort of a ‘straight-back upholstered chair’ (31) which is the only thing in the house that becomes ‘marked as his’ (31). It is thus through a piece of furniture, a material element and not a spiritual connection with the Christian God, nor an emotional or intellectual connection with his new parents, that he manages to construct what appears quite quickly to the reader as a simulacrum of belonging. As a matter of fact, despite the passing of time, always Chandin ‘was unsure of his place in this… household. He often felt conspicuously lost’ (31). This constant state of uprootedness, this lack of a sense of place, is exacerbated by several elements, which undo Chandin’s efforts to emulate the Thoroughly ways. First, there is no doubt, considering the Reverend paternalistic (and not paternal) behavior towards Chandin the boy and later the young adult, that Chandin was chosen among other Indian boys by the Reverend only because of a great propensity to accept and integrate the rules of a colonial thinking framework so as to become an ally in the process of swaying, converting Indian immigrants to Christianity. Chandin the young adult, after finishing the seminary and becoming the Reverend’s right-hand in his missionary project, comes to realize that the Thoroughly family ‘treat[ed] all Indians like their children’ (49). In the Wetlanders’ world, Chandin Ramchandin naively accepts to surrender his critical knowledge and agency in the name of global and categorical theories of living imposed by the master of the island. For Chandin to adopt these theories of living not only means spiritual conversion but also complicity with a capitalist colonial power which seeks to infuse into the colonized a desire for social and economic growth so as to make them work more, produce more—a desire which, for Chandin, is the desire to own the things the ’master’ owns by working for and with him. In the early stages of his life with the Thoroughly family, his attention becomes fixed on the house chandelier (among other things) and his desire for things eventually turns into fetishism. Chandin wants to grow up and be able to one day display the signs of his belonging to the Thoroughly world. Here, Chandin needs to feel a collective sense of being with and belonging to the Thoroughly world, but the collective is channel for his fetishist sickness and eventually a source of annihilation for him, not a source of identity formation and never a refuge.

8It is no surprise that the Reverend denies the use of renaming Chandin, of giving him a more ‘Christian name’ (why not the Reverend’s name?) after his early conversion. As a matter of fact, Chandin’s cultural closeness to the people targeted for conversion has to remain unstained and matters more to the Reverend than the actual weaving of a real father-son relationship. Moreover, after ‘welcoming’ Chandin into his family (though not actually offering him the love due to a son) the Reverend, as he realizes Chandin’s attraction towards his daughter Lavinia, strongly forbids Chandin to act upon his love. For the Reverend, such love ‘is against God’s will’ (37), and though he does not explain his statement further, one can infer that it is not the fact that Chandin and Lavinia have become siblings that really bothers him since there is no biological tie between them, but rather the fact that they are in his mind forever separated by the insuperable racial difference. Chandin’s migration from his cultural origin is thus never followed by what should be a logical arrival into his adopted community of knowledge whose members, under pretence of protection and despite Chandin’s success in appropriating the Christian normative behavior and worldview, ‘abjectify’ him and keep him imprisoned in subalternity. In the end, Chandin is, in the eyes of the Thoroughly parents, a ‘perceived threat of contamination’ (131). He remains in the limbo of acculturation, and abjection becomes the origin of subject formation for Chandin the young adult-to-be who suffers colonial interventionism, becomes dislocated from his origin and remains in a state of exile.

9As kids and as young adults, Lavinia Thoroughly never really paid any attention to Chandin and his attraction to her. Though Chandin noticed her lack of interest, ‘his passion did not wane but was transformed. Embers of adoration and desire [for her] smoldered but what sprang up were flames of anger and self-loathing’ (33). It seems as though Chandin’s growing passion is in fact the development of the fetishist sickness mentioned earlier. Having her, owning her would mean getting access to a world which Chandin can only look at from the outside—hence his feelings of inadequacy and self-hatred. Chandin, angry and lovesick following events that led to Lavinia’s departure, ends up marrying Sarah who was throughout their childhood Lavinia’s best friend. This marriage confers to him a sort of closeness by proxy to Lavinia, but at the same time re-inscribes Chandin’s identity into Indian culture since like him, Sarah is of Indian origin and contrary to Chandin, assumes and welcomes that origin. Chandin’s state of in-betweenness, of not belonging, is thus exacerbated by this marriage. During the first years of the marriage, Chandin continues to work with the Reverend despite the further distance between them. He does so again not out of religious dedication but because it offers him, if not all the material benefits he would have hoped for, at least a certain status in the Indian community whose members look up to him as the living proof that one of them can succeed in the world with a Wetlander’s education. However, this status only holds within the Indian community. Moreover, never is he called ‘Reverend Ramchandin’. It is his ‘closeness’ to the Reverend that affords him fame, not Chandin’s own accomplished ambition in the world which in fact does not depend on him but on the work of his father/master.

10This situation goes on until the day Lavinia comes back on the island. When Chandin learns of her return, he ‘buys a modest Chandelier and again emulates Wetlanders’ ways’ (51) in his house. Her return amplifies his feelings of self-loathing. His house is not nice enough for Lavinia’s visit, his two children Mala and Asha are two dark, and his wife too plain and a source of shame especially as she refuses to speak the English she was taught in colonial school. Contrary to Chandin, Sarah has not adopted the social order imposed onto her through colonial education and thus is not inclined to speak the symbolic terms that reproduce this social order. Her language is the imagined English of the Indian community on the island, George Lamming’s ‘peasant tongue’, a new ‘West Indian language’ (14). Unlike Chandin, Sarah remains grounded in her cultural heritage. Her traumatic departure is of another sort.

11The marriage between Sarah and Chandin was arranged by Reverend Thoroughly and only Chandin expressed the desire to marry Sarah. This desire came as a hopeless response to his anger and despair when he definitely lost Lavinia. After the return of Chandin’s ‘great love’ Lavinia, we learn that Lavinia in fact loves Sarah, and her love being reciprocated, Sarah and Lavinia depart together for the Wetlands unwillingly leaving Sarah’s daughters Mala, also known as Popoh, and Asha behind. Sarah’s previous connections with Lavinia did not afford her a prominent status in the text. Her departure, though she seems to follow Lavinia and never takes any real decision concerning their escape, might afford her a new subjectivity away from her object status as wife, but it also looks like another imposition she has to stand as it forces her to tear apart the relationship with her daughters whom she has to leave behind. Sarah thus rehearses the traumatic liminal position between the conventions of a community ruled by Christian conservative regulations of family relations and the intervention of a modern commanding force, Lavinia, who though she hopes to free Sarah and herself from the bigotry of colonial institutions, drives the Ramchandin family into tragedy.

12The betrayal of Sarah and Lavinia leads Chandin to sacrifice his reputation, social status, and sanity. The ties with Reverend Thoroughly are from that point on completely severed as Chandin gives up his position as a servant of God. Chandin becomes a non-human who locks himself in self-loathing and walks down the path of self-destruction. His life-long desubjectification and silencing, which are indices of a structural or founding trauma, are exacerbated by this new betrayal and lead to a traumatic excess, the acting out of his frustration and self-hate which he turns towards his own progeny, his daughter Mala (Asha, his other daughter, eventually escapes from the house leaving Mala alone to face his father’s wrath). Chandin’s sacrificial treatment of Mala is characterized by regular physical aggressions which go from beatings to rape, and these deadly repetitions of violence denote the repetition of the trauma of Chandin’s original cultural migration which kept him from arriving anywhere. Chandin is socially and culturally defragmented. One can infer that his repeated violence springs from the impossibility for him to stand the fact that Lavinia chose Sarah over him, Sarah who cannot even speak proper English when he built his life on the teachings of Lavinia’s peers never withstanding their domination and his dependence on them. It turns out that receiving Wetlander Christian education and being raised in the household of a missionary only led to the corruption of Chandin’s young mind. He has abdicated his freedom in order to reproduce the Reverend’s trajectory, but has lost all sense of self in that process and has given up all possibility to have an affective life since he rejects the members of his community of origin but at the same time cannot own what the master owns.

13Mala’s life becomes a nightmare from the day her mother departs, leaving the two children behind. Only her childhood friend Ambrose Mohanty will help Mala who suffers in silence her father’s cruelty but protects her sister Asha from his violence. Ambrose is an interesting character in the sense that he got a scholarship from the Lantanacamara mission to go to a seminary in England (much like Chandin who received a scholarship to go to Reverend Thoroughly’s seminary), but ends up leaving religion behind to become an entomologist. He critiques the Church’s anthropocentrism and prefers studying and protecting nature rather than teaching to depreciate it. Contrary to Chandin, though he got a Christian education, Ambrose departs from Christian teachings he considers too hierarchical and finds solace and meaning in the observation and protection of nature. For Ambrose, ‘insects were elements of the divine’ (198), not tools in the hands of humans. Ambrose is critical enough to see the limits of the Christian theories of being in the world. He is at first a figure of colonial resistance in the text in the sense that he does not mimic the language and practices of Christian authority, but puts forth a counter-narrative to this authoritarian discourse. He bluntly questions the arrogant anthropocentric givens of Christianity when, while still a student at the seminary, he wants to ‘map the importance of the insects and bugs mentioned in the Bible to the spiritual well-being of humankind’ (199) in his master’s thesis, an outrageous project in the eyes of his teachers of theology. This detachment from the cult of authority of this colonial framework that is Christian discourse in order to get an education which is very much related to his vernacular experience (he knew and protected bugs when he was a kid on the island) contrasts with Chandin’s naïve mimicry of hegemonic colonial discourse.

14However, Ambrose’s return on the island and his facing the monster that Chandin has become puts an end to his ideas of shifting and changing the world around him. A confrontation between Mala, Ambrose and Chandin leads to the accidental death of Chandin after a fight between the three. This tragic event is followed by Ambrose’s quick departure from Mala’s house out of fear when Mala needed him the most. It also leads to the fall into insanity of Mala whose mind splits after the departure of Ambrose. Though Ambrose tries to come back the next day, Mala refuses anyone to approach her and definitely migrates from sanity to madness to become the scary woman in the run-down house whom Tyler meets years later in the almshouse. Mala, also known as Popoh by everyone throughout her childhood, removes herself from the world and restricts her field of action to her house and garden, all the while keeping in a locked room in the house the decaying body of her dead father. In order to survive, she expels Popoh the child, victim of Chandin’s violence, out of her mind. Popoh becomes an imagined living being whom Mala loves, takes care of and protects from hardships. This splitting of the mind is an index of trauma, a sort of ‘defense mechanism accompanying trauma that illustrates the non-integration of traumatic memory with normal memory’ (Vickroy 2002: 28). The ‘I (Mala) becomes ‘she’ (Popoh) with the ‘I’ being the ‘functioning subject’ (28) and the ‘she’ being the victim. Mala thus departs from reality, shuts herself inside her house and begins to live an imaginary life in which Mala becomes Popoh’s protector from any outsider attack. Mala’s flight from sanity, the consequence of her father’s flight from humanity and of Ambrose’s flight away from her, can be read symbolically as the result of the clash between colonial discourse embodied by her violent father who is a product of that discourse, and counter colonial desires embodied by Ambrose’s counter discourses to bigoted theories of being in the world.

15As for Ambrose, after returning several times to Mala’s house and being repeatedly sent away by Mala who had fallen into her imaginary world, he eventually tries to build a life for himself, but after this accident, he started to develop ‘a propensity for month-long slumbers from which he miraculously awakened only long enough to replenish Mala Ramchandin’s supplies’ (109). Though he keeps a foot in reality, Ambrose also escapes from reality like Mala. This disorder of time, despite a punctual return once a month to bring food to an isolated and barely sane Mala (who never showed herself to him again), is an index of guilt and shame: ‘I slept because I couldn’t face myself for not […] Whenever I caught sight of my reflection what I saw was my own face watching me, mocking me, and shaking its head in disgust with my performance in the entire Ramchandin affair’ (234). Ambrose and Mala, though separated from each other, both migrate from reality. This migration is an index of trauma, the trauma caused by the failure to work against the destructive forces of colonial institutions which do not allow difference to set foot in a community driven by Christian conventions and traditions. The characters in the text like Lavinia and Ambrose who have found enough strength to rise against the subversive and pervasive forces of colonialism are unfortunately beaten by these forces which keep haunting the Lantanacamara community, their most convincing host being Chandin Ramchandin whose behavior reflects the corruption and cruelty of a colonial system which successfully dehumanizes its participants.

16We learn at the end of the novel that Asha, Mala’s long lost sister, wrote letters to Mala for years after her flight from the family house when they were both teenagers. We also learn that these letters remained in a box at the post office where a ‘righteous postman, deeming the Ramchandin house to be a place of sin and moral corruption refused to go up there’ (43). It is thus the island postal service, an administrative system implemented by colons, which fails Mala and forbids her to escape from her father’s wrath. This event sheds light on the systematic and traumatic erasure of information of a colonial and patriarchal system—a system which in the name of education renders people mute: it is the aporia of the colonial system. Wetlanders’ education and institutions fail the inhabitants of the island since their most intelligent members become corrupted by it. The promise of social and moral betterment is in fact the traumatizing and everyday lie of a network of oppression which seeks to silence individuals who are working to find a place in the world. However, there are voices in the text to speak that oppression and fight it, more or less successfully. The discovery by Otoh Mohanty, son of Ambrose, of the decayed body of Chandin Ramchandin years after the events that led to his death signifies the ‘release of the lurking phantom’, the phantom of colonialism which at last makes itself visible in the text. The immolation of Chandin’s body and the Ramchandin house is a symbolical act of liberation from the physical and material trauma of colonial oppression. We should notice that when Tyler, the first gender-bending character in the text, becomes witness to the traumatic story of the Ramchandin family, it is Otoh Mohanty, son of Ambrose and the other gender-bending character in the text who manages to release the ghosts of the past by reconnecting Mala to reality and forcing her out of her house. Mala’s departure from her father’s house is the starting point for a rememorialization of the past and a ‘recathesis of life that allow[s] one to begin again’ (Lacapra 1998: 44). Life does begin again through the intervention of these two characters, Tyler and Otoh, who both defy conservative notions of living in the world and are throughout the text representative of counter-normative discourses of being. Though they have to deal with their own ghosts and their own difficulties in finding a place in their community, it is them who are the loudest voices of difference and modernity in the text, and the only ones capable of hearing, understanding, and testifying to the Ramchandin traumatic story of complicity with and resistance to the ugly carnival of imperialism. It is also them who reshape the relationship between trauma and migration by escaping the pathological fall into dislocation as they refuse assimilation into a normalizing culture. These characters demonstrate that the transnational, the diasporic, the ‘non-normative’ can transform cultural loss into a place from which to begin again and construct other identities away from that Manichean choice between cultural exile and traumatic assimilation.


Works Cited

Caruth, Cathy. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

Cvetkovich, Ann. An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003.

Lacapra, Dominick. History and Memory after Auschwitz. New York: Cornell University Press, 1998.

Lacapra, Dominick. Writing History, Writing Trauma. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Lamming, George. ‘The Occasion for Speaking’, in The Postcolonial Studies Reader, Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, eds. New York: Routledge, 1995; 12-17.

Mootoo, Shani. Cereus Blooms at Night. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

Vickroy, Laurie. Trauma and Survival in Contemporary Fiction. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2002.


University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
Is Maître de conférences in English at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines near Paris. She is the head of the language center at the UVSQ UFR de Sciences. She got her doctoral degree from the University of Florida in 2006. Her dissertation is entitled ‘Other Cultures of Trauma: Meta-metropolitan Narratives and Identities.’ She is a member of two research groups: ‘Suds d’Amériques’ at the University of Versailles, and the ‘CRELANS’ at the University of Evry Val d’Essonne. Her research activities focus on two main domains: trauma studies on the one hand and professional-based fiction on the other.

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