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Nicole Simek

Nicole Simek

Cushing Eells Professor of Philosophy and Literature, Professor of Indigeneity, Race, and Ethnicity Studies and Gender Studies

Professor Simek studied French and Comparative Literature at Case Western Reserve University, and received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2005.

Prof. Simek teaches courses in the Gender Studies and Indigeneity, Race, and Ethnicity Studies programs. Her research interests include the intersection of politics and literature in Caribbean fiction, trauma theory, and conceptions of race, ethnicity, and materiality at work within both humanities research and popular culture. Her most recent book project, Alchemies of Blood and Afro-Diasporic Fiction, asks how the figure of alchemy—that semi-scientific, semi-mystical search for gold and the elixir of long life—can help us address the epistemological and affective investments in blood, bloodlines, and genetics marking both academic and mainstream discourses. To answer this question, Simek examines neo-plantation and Afrofuturist narratives, Afropessimist interventions, museums and public memory projects, and direct-to-consumer genetic testing services in the French Caribbean and the United States.

Specializing in French Caribbean literature, Professor Simek is the author of Alchemies of Blood and Afro-Diasporic Fiction: Race, Kinship, and the Passion for Ontology (Bloomsbury, Nov. 2023), Hunger and Irony in the French Caribbean: Literature, Theory, and Public Life (Palgrave, 2016) and Eating Well, Reading Well: Maryse Condé and the Ethics of Interpretation (Rodopi, 2008). She has co-edited volumes devoted to literary cannibalism, representations of trauma in French and Francophone literature, and Francophone literature as World Literature, and is also the English translator of Maryse Condé’s novel The Belle Créole (University of Virginia, 2020).

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