Olivia Donaldson

Position title: Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow (2010-2011)

French and Italian, UW-Madison

Stock image of IRH logo for fellows that did not provide a portrait image--blue logo on grey background

Bordering Bodies, Migrating Selves: A Geo-Textual Exploration of Sex, Skin and Speech in Contemporary Francophone Life-Stories

This study explores literary and filmic representations of migratory encounters in the Francophone world. It proposes a theory of relational migration that expands concepts of geographical migration into the realm of the interpersonal. This theory reinterprets “transnational” to suggest that diasporic identity is inscribed in the flesh and formed through familial and personal relationships with strong corporeal embedding. In addition to rethinking the boundaries of migration studies, the project illustrates the benefits of traversing regional divisions within the field of Francophone studies, drawing from a corpus that connects Europe, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia.

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.