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Life-on-a-Human-Hyphen: Mapping Interpersonal Migrations in Calixthe Beyala’s Your Name Shall Be Tanga

November 8, 2010 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Monday Seminar:

Olivia Donaldson

Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2010-2011)

French and Italian, UW-Madison


How may the study of interpersonal encounters enhance existing theories of migration and diaspora? This presentation reinterprets the migratory notion of living life-on-the-hyphen or between nations by mapping embodied hyphenization in Calixthe Beyala’s West African novel Your Name Shall Be Tanga. An analysis of the protagonist’s self-proclaimed existence as a “girlchild-woman” within a “human crossroads” demonstrates the significance of studying how we live in relationship to people in addition to places. This study of life-on-a-human-hyphen—how the scattered self forms through interpersonal encounters—informs the more traditional place-based notion of life-on-the-hyphen and consequentially our reading of migrant literature.


Olivia Donaldson is a Ph.D. Candidate in French at UW-Madison, specializing in Francophone studies. Her research puts theories of migration and diaspora into dialogue with Francophone literature and film. Olivia has several articles under review and a book review forthcoming in the Journal of Lesbian Studies. She holds a B.A. in French and an M.A. in History from Virginia Tech, and she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa. She has taught courses in French as well as in Gender and Women’s Studies at Virginia Tech and UW-Madison. Her honors and awards include the Elaine Marks Outstanding Dissertator Award, L’Institut d’Etudes Françaises d’Avignon Fellowship, American Institute for Maghrib Studies Travel Award, Vilas Travel Grants, and Phi Beta Kappa.


November 8, 2010
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Categories:


University Club, Room 212
432 East Campus Mall
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 United States