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Pim Higginson

Professor of French

Director of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies

Photo: Pim Higginson
Office:  229B
Hours:  W 2:00-4:00

Research Area/s:



Pim Higginson received his PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley in 1997. He works in comparative fashion on literatures and cultures from France, the United States, and sub-Saharan Africa. His first book, The Noir Atlantic: Chester Himes and the Birth of the Francophone African Crime Novel, published by Liverpool University Press examined the influence of the African American author Chester Himes (1909-1984) on a series of African authors who turned to the crime genre throughout the 1980s and 1990s. 

His current book project, also to be published in the UK, by Boydell and Brewer, looks at how the interwar reception of jazz in France has affected Francophone African authors' treatment of music in their writing. 

Following his lifelong interest in foodways (as an avid cook and foodie), Pim has also done research and published on the "culinary" in Francophone literature. This may or may not be the focus of his next project. 

Pim has taught on 20th and 21st century French and Francophone literatures and cultures, music and race, neo-orientalism in recent French writing, the Francophone African novel, representations of education in the Anglophone and Francophone and African novel, French film noir, and numerous other topics.


Educational History:

1997, Ph.D in Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley.
Dissertation: Disenchanting Race. Chair: Avital Ronell
University of California at Berkeley in Comparative Literature. December 1990
Contra Costa College, CA. Culinary Arts Program. 1986-7.
Berklee College of Music. 1982-3

Research Interests:

  • French, American, and Francophone African crime fiction
  • Media Studies (particularly the relationship between music, writing, and race)
  • Postcolonial studies
  • Food Studies (representations of food as modalities of resistance)
  • Representations of education in the Francophone African novel

Selected Publications:

Recent Articles:
  • "Armed and Dangerous: The 'Le Poulpe Phenomenon' in Dying for More:Studies in Serial Crime Fiction. Jean Anderson, Carolina Miranda, Barbara Pezzotti, eds. Palgrave.
  •  2015.
  • "Postcolonial Himes" in New Writings on Chester Himes. Gary Holcomb and Michael Gillespie, eds. (Forthcoming)
  • "Romancier african, critique de jazz: Ousmane Soce, Emmanuel Dongala, Kangni Alem" in Actes du Colloque 'La Critique de jazz (genres, regimes d'ecriture, mediums, figures)'.Yannick Seite and Timothe Picard, eds.
  • "Popular Perceptions: Voice and Genre in Felix Couchoro's Crime Fiction" Journal of Postcolonial Writing (49:1), (2013):87-99.

Teaching Interests:

I have taught courses on the Francophone African and Caribbean novel, 20th century French literature, French film noir, the French and Francophone crime novel, "New Exoticisms" in the French novel, as well as courses in Comparative literature on education in the African novel, and postcolonial rewritings of "canonical" Western texts.