Associate Professor of French
at Bucknell since 2000
Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison (2000)
119 Marts Hall
Teaching and Research Interests
The primary focus of her research and teaching is French Caribbean Studies, with an emphasis on the literature and culture of Martinique. She takes an environmental approach to Martinican novels and the island in her examination of the ways in which the continued colonial presence of the French in this former colony jeopardizes collective memory. She writes about the ways in which an ongoing colonial relationship with France continues to "mark space" through the naming of streets, schools and towns in Martinique. She studies the principal monuments and statues that celebrate the colonial conquest of the island and have demonstrated how the politics of commemoration in Martinique engender collective cultural amnesia in manipulating the way people interpret the space in which they live.
In her courses, Professor Gosson invites her students to think beyond the "Club Med" stereotypes of the Caribbean and to see how the portrayal of the Caribbean as a "tropical amusement park" contributes to the continued commercialization and commodification of Creole culture. "This Club Med-ification," she says "legitimizes or ignores colonial violence while perpetuating myths of heroic discovery, without any mention of indigenous peoples, the African slave trade, and the environmental consequences of overdevelopment."
Professor Gosson challenges her students to reflect upon the realities of colonization and the cultural consequences of continued French occupation, in addition to their absence from colonial discourse. After an introduction to the history of the French colonization of the Caribbean, she devotes the rest of the semester to the study of other, more subtle, but nonetheless devastating forms of oppression (cultural, racial, environmental) occasioned by over three centuries of occupation by France. Her courses guide students through a critical approach to cultural artifacts such as literature, music, film, postcards, street signs, statues, and advertisements, in order to identify both the symptoms of cultural alienation and signs of cultural survival.
Professor Gosson is currently expanding her work on memory and national and colonial identity to France. She is investigating the major French port cities that participated in the slave trade and the efforts of the French government to remember and/or commemorate the slave trade, slavery, and their abolitions since the 2001 passing of the Loi Taubira, which recognized slavery as a crime against humanity.
"Histoire coloniale, mémoire culturelle : Politique de la commémoration en Martinique." Enjeux identitaires dans l'imaginaire francophone. Edited by Kanaté Dahouda and Sélom Komlan Gbanou. Forthcoming. 2010. 23 pages.
"The Métisse sage in Suzanne Dracius's Rue Monte au Ciel." Métissages et marronnages dans l'œuvre de Suzanne Dracius. Edited by Yolande Helm. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2009. 93-112.
"What Lies Beneath? Cultural Excavation in Neocolonial Martinique" in Echoes from the Poisoned Well: Global Memories of Environmental Injustice, edited by Sylvia Hood-Washington, Paul Rosier, and Heather Goodall. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield/Lexington Books, 2006. 225-243. || Available online
Caribbean Literature and the Environment: Between Nature and Culture. Co-edited volume with Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey and George B. Handley. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005. Introduction pp. 1-30. || Read more
"Landscape and Memory: Martinican Land-People-History." Co-produced film with Eric Faden. Distributed by Third World Newsreel. 30 mn. Aug. 2003. || See more
"For What the Land Tells: An Ecocritical Approach to Patrick Chamoiseau's Chronicle of the Seven Sorrows." Callaloo 26.1 (2003): 219-234.
Professor Gosson is a past Dean of Faculty for the College of Arts & Scineces and a past director of the French and Francophone Studies Program. She has served on FACT (Faculty Advisory Committee on Teaching) and participated in designing the vision for Bucknell's Teaching and Learning Center and the organization of the New Faculty Orientation. Professor Gosson also served a term on the Faculty Development Committee during which time she gained invaluable insights into what colleagues from all disciplines at Bucknell are doing in the classroom, in the lab, in the field, and in the library, during their teaching, summer, and sabbatical months.