Professor of French and Francophone Studies in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures, Les Essif has recently published American ‘Unculture’ in French Drama: Homo Americanus and the Post-1960 French Resistance (Palgrave, 2013). Praised by reviewers for its pioneering subject and the depth and breadth of its innovative approach to theatre and comparative culture, the book elucidates the contrasts between French and American cultures while exploring the prolific and complex ways French drama has reinvented and portrayed American spaces, society, and characters since the 1960s.
Essif’s essay “Reimaginations of ‘America’ and Cultural Identity in the Expatriate Drama of Koffi Kwahulé” (Comparative Drama, Fall 2013) is part of his new research, which examines how, in contrast to dramatists from continental France, French-speaking dramatists from postcolonial cultures take a more globally oriented approach to their use of the trope of “America” in their plays.
Essif is also the recipient of the 2013 Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award. He has recently been a featured speaker at the National Symposium on Theatre in Academe and a featured panelist at the National Comparative Drama Conference and the Avignon Theatre Festival in Avignon, France.