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Raji Vallury

Professor of French

Photo: Raji Vallury
Office:  319C
Hours:  T 12:00-1:50 and by appointment (HUM 435)

Research Area/s:



Educational History:

Ph.D., French Literature, University of Pittsburgh.

Title of dissertation:
The Blind Spot in a Dream of Dissymmetry. Directed by Professor Yves Citton.

M.A., French Literature, University of Pittsburgh.

Certificat de Maîtrise, Littérature française générale et comparée, Université de Nantes, France.

B.A., French Literature, Ramnarain Ruia College, University of Bombay, India.

B.A., Psychology, Sophia College, University of Bombay, India.

Research Interests:

  • 19th- and 20th-century French and Francophone Literature, French Cinema, Gender and Postcolonial Studies, Critical Theory, Aesthetics and Politics, Literature and Philosophy

Dr. Raji Vallury is Associate Professor of French and has served as the Director of Women Studies at UNM. Her research examines the relationship between aesthetics and politics in 19th- and 20th-century French and Francophone literature, with an emphasis on critical, feminist, and post-colonial theory. Dr. Vallury studies how literature and cinema construct democratic and egalitarian modes of speech, visibility, and participation within a sphere of the common. Philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière, Étienne Balibar, and Hannah Arendt are formative to her enquiry into this question. She is the author of 'Surfacing' the Politics of Desire: Literature, Feminism, and Myth (University of Toronto Press, 2008), a book that analyses the aesthetic production of desire and sexuality in iconic literary texts of nineteenth-century France, arguing for the power of literature to inscribe a liberatory politics of gender that challenges generally accepted presuppositions of feminist critical paradigms. Her second monograph entitled Metaphors of Invention and Dissension (forthcoming in September 2017), studies how the disruptive logics of allegory and metaphor create spaces of democratic dissent, freedom, and equality in the postcolonial Algerian novel. Dr. Vallury is currently editing a volume of essays on theory, aesthetics, and politics in 20th- and 21st-century France and the Francophone world. Her articles on the politics of literary fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in edited volumes with Les Presses Universitaires de Paris-Sorbonne, Duke University Press, Les Presses Universitaires de Rennes, L’Harmattan, and the journals Paragraph,Sub-Stance, French Forum, Novel, The International Journal of Francophone Studies, and Dalhousie French Studies. She has directed graduate theses on the cinematic, literary, and textual inscriptions of memory on the Algerian War, the aesthetico-political value of the trope of Andalusia in the North African novel, the politics of community in French and Francophone rap music, and the philosophy of love in Camus, Sartre, and de Beauvoir. She welcomes the opportunity to work with graduate students interested in the intersections of aesthetics and politics in French and Francophone literature and cinema, as well as the interdisciplinary fields of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies.


Selected Publications:



  • Metaphors of Invention and Dissension: Aesthetics and Politics in the Postcolonial Algerian Novel. Rowman and Littlefield International, London, UK. August 2017.

              Series: Reinventing Critical Theory  Series Editor: Gabriel Rockhill

  • 'Surfacing’ the Politics of Desire: Literature, Feminism, and Myth. University of Toronto Press, 2008.

Edited Volume: 

  • Filiations Past and Future: Reframing Aesthetics, Politics, and Theory in the Francophone World. Forthcoming with Lexington Books

Series: After the Empire: The Francophone World and Postcolonial France  Series Editor: Valérie K. Orlando

Articles & Book Chapters

  • Humanisme, biopolitique et civilité: Les cas d' Albert Camus et Malika Mokeddem. Forthcoming in Quel nouvel humanisme francophone? Ed. Florian Alix et Romuald Fonkoua.  Presses Universitaires de Paris-Sorbonne.
  • The Potentiality of the Utopic Literary Imagination, Or, Can an Aesthetic Ontology Be a Politics? Paragraph: A Journal of Modern Critical Theory. 39.3: 287-304. November 2016.
  • Poétiques et politiques de l’allégorie dans L’escargot entêté de Rachid Boudjedra. Dalhousie French Studies 105, Spring 2015.
  • Madness and the Night of the Poetic Community: The Just Desert of Malika Mokeddem’s Le siècle des sauterelles. Sub-Stance: A Journal of Theory and Literary Criticism, 135, 43.3, December 2014.
  • An Incalculable Rupture? The Aesthetics and Politics of Postcolonial Fiction. Special issue: Jacques Rancière and the Novel. Novel: A Forum on Fiction, ed. Timothy Bewes, 47.2, Summer 2014.
  • Entre Homme et Citoyen: L'émergence du sujet politique dans Le métier à tisser de Mohammed Dib. In Le postcolonialisme, objectivité et subjectivité, ed. Belkacem Belmekki and Badra Lahouel. L'Harmattan, June 2014.
  • Sacralité épique ou profanation fabuleuse? L’éducation séculière de L’honneur de la tribu de Rachid Mimouni. International Journal of Francophone Studies 16.4, December 2013.
  • Continents Adrift? Suturing the Cultural and Political Divide in Assia Djebar’s Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement, L’amour, la fantasia, and Vaste est la prison. French Forum 38.1-2, Winter/Spring 2013.
  • Politicizing Art in Deleuze and Rancière: The Case of Postcolonial Literature. In Jacques Rancière: History, Aesthetics, Politics, ed. Philip Watts and Gabriel Rockhill. Duke University Press, 2009.
  • Writing through the Walls of the Political: Deleuze, Rancière, and Virginia Woolf. In L’impersonnel en littérature: Explorations critiques et théoriques, ed. Hélène Aji, Brigitte Félix, Anthony Larson, and Hélène Lecossois. Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2009.
  • Walking the Tightrope between Memory and History: Metaphor in Tahar Djaout’s L’invention du désert. Special issue: The Form of Postcolonial African Fiction. Novel: A Forum on Fiction, ed. Susan Andrade, Spring/Summer 2008.
  • Pierre et Jean or The Erring of Oedipus. Dalhousie French Studies 71, Summer 2005.

Book Reviews

  • Thought-Perception Beyond Form, Or, The Logic of Shame. Review of Timothy Bewes, The Event of Postcolonial Shame, Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press, 2011. New Formations 80/81, December 2013.

Teaching Interests:

  • 19th- and 20th-century French Literature
  • North African Literature
  • Modern and Contemporary French Culture
  • French Cinema
  • Gender Studies

Representative Courses:

  • FREN 585 - French Cinema: Aesthetics and Politics
  • FREN 542 - Sublime Mediocrity: The Novel Art of Republican Equality in 19th-century France
  • FREN 542 - Inscribing Democracy in the Republic of Letters:
    The People, Art, and the Artistic Exception in 19th-century France
  • FREN 542 - Fleurs de vices: Rousseau et Sade au 19e siècle
  • FREN 552 - La France 1900-1960: Guerres, Politiques, Révolutions
  • COMP 580 - Pouvoir/Puissance: Fables of Power, Sovereignty, and Political Agency
  • COMP 580 - Polymorphous Perversity: Power, Sexuality, and Politics in French Women Writers
  • COMP 580 – Mediterranean Cosmocivics: The Fractal Nations and Fractious Worlds of Literature