Jacqueline Couti

WEBSITE(S)| Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality

Research Areas


Francophone Studies • Transatlantic Studies • Women, Gender and Sexualities Studies 


Jacqueline Couti received her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in the area of French and Francophone Studies and New World/Transatlantic Studies. She taught at several institutions, including the University of Virginia and the University of Kentucky. At Rice, she is a core faculty member of the French Studies and the European Studies programs. 

She is the author of Dangerous Creole Liaisons (2016) and she has produced critical and annotated editions of novels by Auguste Traversay de Sansac and Jenny Manet for L’Harmattan, one of the major French publishers. Her current book project is entitled Sex, Sea, and Self: Sexuality and Nationalism in French Caribbean Discourses 1924-1948, which is under contract with Liverpool University Press, and she is also co-editor for a special issue on Afroféminisme (Black feminism) for the Australian journal Essays in French Literature and Culture, which appeared in 2019.

Her research and teaching interests delve into the transatlantic and transnational interconnection between cultural productions from continental France and its now former colonies. In so doing, she explores constructions of gender, race, sexuality, identity politics and nationalistic awareness. A central theme of her research is how local knowledge in the colonial and post-colonial eras has shaped the literatures and the awareness of the self in former French colonies through specific representations of sexuality, and she has received grants from foundations, such as the Volkswagen Stiftung. 

A highly regarded teacher, she received several teaching awards at the University of Kentucky, and she also has directed study-abroad courses in Morocco, France, and on Martinique. Jacqueline Couti co-organized Des féminismes noirs en contexte (post)impérial français? Histoires, expériences et théories with 5 other scholars— an event that took place in Aubervilliers (France, March  3-5, 2020). This international conference marked a watershed moment in the reconceptualization of French and Francophone Black womanhood. The symposium articulated a new inclusive methodology grounded in Black women’s experiences in French and Francophone post/imperial contexts in the interest of benefiting scholars in the social sciences and the humanities. Follow the link to watch the conference videos.


Selected Publications

Dangerous Creole Liaisons: Sexuality and Nationalism in French Caribbean Discourses from 1806 to 1897 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016).

Ed. with Kathleen Gyssels, “‘Mines de rien’: L’Antillaise et l’Afropéenne face aux tropologies, entre mythes et réalités au fil du temps.” Special issue, Essays in French Literature and Culture 56 (October 2019)

Ed. and introd., "Les amours de Zémédare" et "Carina" by Auguste Traversay de Sansac (1806) (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2017). 

Ed. and introd., Maïotte by Jenny Manet (1896) (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2014). 

Ed., Discourses of Trans/National Identity in Caribbean Literature, special issue of Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/ Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée 38/1 (March 2011).

“Lumina Sophie, Nineteenth-Century Martinique.” In Women Claiming Freedom: Gender, Race, and Liberty in the Americas, ed. Erica L. Ball, Tatiana Seijas, and Terri L. Snyder, - 373-392. Gender and Slavery Series. Cambridge University Press (October 2020).

“Le conte créole: Langue et pouvoir à l’époque contemporaine,” in “La France en récit,” 20th anniversary issue, Cités: Philosophie, Politique, Histoire (April 2020) : 319-332.

(with Kathleen Gyssels), “Aux ‘Mariannes noires’, la France afropéenne,” in “‘Mines de rien’: L’Antillaise et l’Afropéenne face aux tropologies, entre mythes et réalités au fil du temps,” ed. Kathleen Gyssels and Jacqueline Couti, special issue, Essays in French Literature and Culture 56 (October 2019): 5-22.

“Flambeau d’insoumission: Mémorialisation de Lumina Sophie, dite Surprise, à la Martinique,” in “‘Mines de rien’: L’Antillaise et l’Afropéenne face aux tropologies, entre mythes et réalités au fil du temps,” ed. Jacqueline Couti and Kathleen Gyssels, special issue, Essays in French Literature and Culture 56 (October 2019): 75-92.

“La romance nationale transatlantique: Amour, famille et patrie,” in Auguste Traversay de Sansac, “Les amours de Zémédare” et “Carina”, ed. and introd. Jacqueline Couti (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2017), vii-xli.

“Hors de soi: Dissociation et réintégration corporelles dans C’est vole que je vole (1998) de la martiniquaise Nicole Cage-Florentiny,” in Gladys M. Francis (ed.), Amour, Sexe, Genre et Trauma dans la Caraïbe Francophone (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2016), 169-80. 

“The Mythology of the Doudou: Sexualizing Black Female Bodies, Constructing Culture in the French Caribbean,” in Susan Bordo (ed.), Provocation: A Transnational Reader in the History of Feminist Thought (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2015), 131-43.

“Birthing Chaos: Two-Faced Women, Cultural Conflict and Betrayal in Créoliste Writings,” in Patricia Donatien and Rodolphe Solbiac (eds.), Critical Perspectives on Conflict in Caribbean Societies of the Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), 31-50. 

“La Doudou contre-attaque: Féminisme noir, sexualisation et doudouisme en question dans l’entre-deux-guerres,” Comment s’en sortir 1 (2015), 111-39. 

“Passer à la trappe: Les études postcoloniales et l’oubli du roman feuilleton des Antilles françaises,” in Jenny Manet, Maïotte, ed. and introd. Jacqueline Couti (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2014), ix-xl.

“Le Bourreau et la victime: Politiques du corps et des rapports sociaux des sexes dans l'œuvre de Gisèle Pineau,” Nouvelles Études Francophones 27/2 (2013), 74-89.