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Deborah Jenson, Professor of Romance Studies and Research Professor of Global Health and Faculty Network Member of Duke Institute for Brain Sciences

Deborah Jenson

A scholar of "long 19th century" French and Caribbean literature and culture, I also work in the fields of cognitive literary studies and health humanities. Monographs, edited volumes, editions, and translations include: Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution; Trauma and Its Representations: The Social Life of Mimesis in Post-Revolutionary France; Poetry of Haitian Independence (with D. Kadish and N. Shapiro); Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignty (with W. Anderson and R. Keller); Sarah, A Colonial Novella (with D. Kadish); and "Coming to Writing" and Other Essays by Hélène Cixous. A co-authored book on Trauma and Humanitarian Emergency in Haiti is under contract, and a monograph project, The Making and Unmaking of the Brain as Episteme in French and Caribbean Modernity, is in process. I have previously served as the director of the Franklin Humanities Institute and the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. A co-director of the Health Humanities Lab, my recent courses have included "Storytelling in Medicine and Health," and "Flaubert's Brain: Neurohumanities."

Contact Info:
Office Location:  112 Language Center, Box 90257, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Spring 2018):

  • FRENCH 481.01, FLAUBERT'S BRAIN NEUROHUMANITI Synopsis
    Languages 320, TuTh 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
    (also cross-listed as LIT 246.01, NEUROSCI 241.01)
  • ROMST 501S.01, METHODS THEORIES ROMANCE STDS Synopsis
    Perkins 081, W 01:40 PM-04:10 PM
    (also cross-listed as LIT 540S.01)
Office Hours:

Monday 12-2 pm, 112 Language Center, or by appointment
Education:

Ph.D.Harvard University1994
M.A.University of Paris (France)1985
B.A. Bowdoin College1983
Specialties:

French Studies
Caribbean Studies
Research Interests: French and Haitian Studies; Global Health; "Neurohumanities"

Current projects: Haitian Ethnopsychiatry, Trauma and Global Mental Health, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Flaubert and Epilepsy, Literary Representations of the Brain

I take the broad mandate of the humanist very seriously. The overlapping problems of representation and imitation in "mimesis" are at the heart of my research and teaching, but the contexts in which I explore them are diverse. Trauma, as crisis in the continuity of internal representations of the real, reveals the complexity of mimetic experience. Historical transitions to new forms of representation, such as the adoption of the political proclamation by former slaves in the Haitian revolution, teach us to see literary conventions, or literacy itself, with new eyes. Neuroscientific exploration of "mirror neurons" raises the question of whether we form cognitive imitations of others' experience simply by observing their motor actions. In summary, my linguistic, literary, and historiographical skills can be directed to French literature, Haitian studies, trauma and global mental health, or "neurohumanities."

Keywords:

Caribbean Region • Cholera • Haiti • History, 19th Century • Humans • Poetry

Duties:

Secondary Appointment, Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI) Graduate Faculty, Women's Studies Faculty Affiliate, the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS) Co-Director, Haiti Lab Co-Director, Brain & Society, Bass Connections Co-Director, Duke Neurohumanities in Paris Co-Convener, Neurohumanities Research Group

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Jenson, D, Neuroscience and the Poetics of the Haitian Declaration of Independence, edited by Gaffield, J (Accepted, 2015)
  2. Kadish, D; Jenson, D; Shapiro, TBN, Poetry of the Haitian Independence (forthcoming, 2014), pp. 360 pages, Yale University Press (translated by Shapiro, N.) [ref=sr_1_1]  [abs]
  3. Jenson, D; Iacoboni, M, Literary Biomimesis: Mirror Neurons and the Ontological Priority of Representation, California Italian Studies (2011) [3sc3j6dj]
  4. Jenson, D; Szabo, V; Duke FHI Haiti Humanities Laboratory Student Research Team, , Cholera in Haiti and other Caribbean regions, 19th century., Emerging infectious diseases, vol. 17 no. 11 (November, 2011), pp. 2130-2135, Centers for Disease Control [22099117], [doi]  [abs]
  5. Deborah Jenson, Beyond the Slave Narrative: Politics, Sex, and Manuscripts in the Haitian Revolution (2011; paperback 2012), pp. 322, Liverpool University Press
  6. Jenson, D, Kidnapped Narratives: Mobility without Autonomy and the Nation/Novel Analogy, in A Companion to Comparative Literature, edited by Ali Behdad and Dominic Thomas (November, 2011), pp. 369-386, Blackwell Press [repository], [doi]
  7. Anderson, DJWW; Keller, RE, Unconscious Dominions: Psychoanalysis, Colonial Trauma, and Global Sovereignties (2011), pp. 328-328, Duke University Press
  8. Jenson, D, The Common Without Copies, the International Without Cosmopolitanism: Marx Against the Romanticism of Likeness, Rethinking Marxism, vol. 22 no. 3 (2010), pp. 420-433 [repository]
  9. Jenson, D, Hegel and Dessalines: Philosophy and the African Diaspora, New West Indian Guide, vol. 84 no. 3-4 (2010), pp. 4-9, ISSN 1382-2373 [repository]
  10. Jenson, D, Dessalines’s American Proclamations of the Haitian Independence, The Journal of Haitian Studies, vol. Vol. 15 no. No. 1 and 2 (2010), pp. 72-102 [repository]  [abs]
  11. Jenson, D, The Writing of Disaster in Haiti: Signifying Cataclysm from Slave Revolution to Earth Quake, in Haiti Rising, edited by Munro, M (2010), pp. 103-112, Liverpool University Press [publication.asp]
  12. Jenson, D; Kadish, D, Sarah, An English Translation (2008), MLA Editions
  13. Jenson, D, Francophone World Literature (Littérature-monde) Cosmopolitanism, and Decadence: ‘Citizen of the World’ without the Citizen?, in Transnational French Studies: Postcolonialism and Littérature-monde, edited by Hargreaves, A, vol. 1 (2010), pp. 15-35, Liverpool University Press [publication.asp]
  14. Jenson, D, Toussaint Louverture, Spin Doctor? Launching the Haitian Revolution in the French Media, in Tree of Liberty: Legacies of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World (2008), pp. 41-62, University of Virginia Press
  15. Jenson, D, Before Malcolm X, Dessalines: A ‘French’ Tradition of Black Atlantic Radicalism, edited by Hargreaves, A; Mourra, J-M, International Journal of Francophone Studies, vol. 10 no. 3 (2007), pp. 329-342 [ijfs.10.3.329_1]
  16. Jenson, D, Fétichisme de la marchandise: la poésie des courtisanes noires ou de couleur à Saint-Domingue, in Relire l’histoire et la littérature haïtiennes, edited by Ndiaye, C (2007), pp. 27-56, Presses nationales d’Haïti
  17. Jenson, D, Myth, History, and Witnessing in Marceline Desbordes-Valmore’s Caribbean Poetics, edited by Paliyenko, A, L’Esprit Créateur, vol. 47 no. 4 (2007), pp. 329-343, ISSN 0014-0767 [html]
  18. Jenson, D, The Haiti Issue, Yale French Studies, vol. 107 (2005)
  19. Jenson, D, Trauma and Its Representations: The Social Life of Mimesis in Post-Revolutionary France (2001), pp. 294 pages, Johns Hopkins UP
Conferences Organized

  • Director : 3rd Annual Romance Studies Undergraduate Research Conference. March 2013, Director : 3rd Annual Romance Studies Undergraduate Research Conference, March, 2013  
  • Selection Committee, Nineteenth-Century French Studies Conference. December 17, 2012, Selection Committee, Nineteenth-Century French Studies Conference, December 2012  
  • Orgaanizer : 'Old' Worlds, 'New' Worlds, Future Worlds Romance Studies Undergraduate Research Conference. March 2012, Orgaanizer : 'Old' Worlds, 'New' Worlds, Future Worlds Romance Studies Undergraduate Research Conference, March, 2012  
  • Selection Committee, NIneteenth-Century French Studies Conference. 2011, Selection Committee, NIneteenth-Century French Studies Conference, 2011  
  • Co-Organizer : Haiti Lab Workshop, "Unveiling the Colonial System": The Baron de Vastey and the Henry Christophe Regime. December 2011, Co-Organizer : Haiti Lab Workshop, "Unveiling the Colonial System": The Baron de Vastey and the Henry Christophe Regime, December, 2011  
  • PFIRST Workshop, "Discourses of Trauma in Haiti" (Co-Organizer). November 2011, PFIRST Workshop, "Discourses of Trauma in Haiti" (Co-Organizer), November, 2011  
  • Co-Organizer (with Michaeline Crichlow (Duke, Sociology and AAAS, Patricia Northover (UWI, SALISES), Matthew Smith (UWI, History, Faculty of the Human, Co-Organizer (with Michaeline Crichlow (Duke, Sociology and AAAS, Patricia Northover (UWI, SALISES), Matthew Smith (UWI, History, Faculty of the Human, June 18-19, 2010  

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