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Maya Boutaghou

Associate Professor

Office Address

333 New Cabell Hall

Spring 2024 Office Hours

Tuesdays and Thursdays 1pm-2pm and by appointment 


  • B.A. Lettres Modernes and FLE (Universités Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux III
  • DEUG de Langue et Civilisation Arabes, mention « arabe littéral » [Diploma in Classical Arabic] Université Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux III
  • M.A. Université Michel de Montaigne, Bordeaux III
  • Ph.D. (Doctorat) in Comparative Literature, University of Limoges.

Grants and Fellowships

  • Andrew W. Mellon, Global South Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities in the Global South, University of Virginia, 2016-2018
  • Andrew W. Mellon, Summer Course Development at the Wolfsonian Museum of Art, Miami, Summer 2014
  • Research Fellowship hosted by the Département des Lettres Modernes, March-April 2012, University of Orléans
  • Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for “Cultures in Transnational Perspective”, University of California Los Angeles, 2008-2010.

Research Interests

Periods and areas: XIX to XXI century; Mediterranean Studies; North Africa, Egypt, Mauritius, Bengal.

Domains of interests: Comparative Literature; National and Cultural Identity construction in postcolonial contexts; Literary Theory and Aesthetics; Theory of the Novel; Theory of Postcolonial Subjectivity; Postcolonial Cultural Historiographies; Multiculturalism; Multilingualism; Cosmopolitanism; Identity politics and Gender Studies; Translation studies; World Literature.

Adopting a unique transcolonial perspective, her research offers a new approach to the fields of comparative literature and postcolonial studies with poetical and textual perspectives on postcolonial literatures and cultural identity construction in 19th century and 20th century. In her first book, Occidentalismes, Romans historiques postcoloniaux et identités nationales au dix-neuvième siècle (Honoré Champion, 2016), she chooses to compare different renaissances and cultural identities in construction within the literary genre of the historical novel. She investigates the ways in which the West is represented as an object of knowledge from the “peripheries” and analyzes the emergence of the historical novel as a new literary form within the context of national and cultural awakening. Meanwhile, she analyzed how the historical novel as a new literary form is not only an imitation of the West, but also highly informed by narrative structures from the host language. In particular, she argues that this hybrid form projects a desired cultural identity that is crucial in the building of national identity.

In addition to this work on the historical novel as an emerging aesthetic form, she paid special attention to linguistic issues. Most of her recent article publications have been concerned with questions relating to the French language in situations of multilingualism, such as in Assia Djebar’s writings where dialectal Arabic informs her writing in French. This other aspect of her work led to her second book. This work investigates visions of multiculturalism by a selection of francophone women writers in multilingual contexts.

Finally, her focus as a scholar and a teacher consists in examining, in a comparative perspective, the creolization at work in representations, and the gap between a creolized cultural reality and a hegemonic sense of identity. Her knowledge of Arabic (dialectal and classical), French, English and Spanish facilitates developing an understanding of the Francophone World as a culture “in relation,” forming a rhizomatic complex between the North and the South. Her perspective is to show how we cannot think of a culture or a language in postcolonial times as homogeneous, following the unified model of cultural identity of former Empires.


  • Boutaghou, Maya (2020). Ernest Renan, Qu’est-ce qu’une nation ? (1882). Texte et présentation. Suivis de Genèse et postérité: De l’Empire à la nation. Paris: Honoré Champion (230 pages).

  • Boutaghou, M. (2016). Occidentalismes, Romans historiques postcoloniaux et identités nationales au dix-neuvième siècle, Juan Antonio Mateos, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Jurji Zaydan, Marcus Clarke. Paris: Honoré Champion (517 pages).

  • Reviewed on Fabula:

Edited volume


  • Les lettres romanes, “Interroger le pouvoir herméneutique des littératures francophones”, Jean Bessier, Maya Boutaghou, Amaury Dehoux; 2021, Vol. 75 issue: 1-2, Brepols Publishers.
  • Cultural Dynamics, the Minor in Question, Maya Boutaghou and Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François; January 2020, Vol. 32 issue: 1-2, Duke University.

Articles and Book Chapters, a selection

  • Boutaghou, M. (2022). “History and untold memories: New realism in Assia Djebar’s films”, in Margaret Higonnet, Steen Bille Jørgensen and Svend Erik Larsen (ed.), Landscapes of Realism: Rethinking Literary Realism in Comparative Perspectives, Volume II Pathways through Realism. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 2017-229. 

  • Boutaghou, M. (2021). “Being Berber, or How to be Condemned to Cosmopolitanism, Jean Amrouche (1906-1962)”, in Didier Coste, Kristina Kkona, Nicoletta Pireddu (ed.), Migrating Minds. Theories and Practices of Cultural Cosmopolitanism. Boca Raton: Routledge, pp. 105-116.

  • Boutaghou, M. (2021). “Listening Back to the Sounds of Algiers in Pépé le Moko (1937), Omar Gatlato (1976) and Viva Laldjérie 2003)”, in yasser elhariry (ed.), Sounds Senses. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, pp. 161-177.

  • Boutaghou, M. (2021), “Introduction”, Les lettres romanes, “Interroger le pouvoir herméneutique des littératures francophones”, Jean Bessier, Maya Boutaghou, Amaury Dehoux; 2021, Vol. 75 issue: 1-2, pp. 3-8.

  • Boutaghou, M. (2021), “Au-delà du miroir : Signe, référentialité et interprétation dans le roman francophone”, Les lettres romanes, “Interroger le pouvoir herméneutique des littératures francophones”, Vol. 75 issue: 1-2, pp. 29-53.

  • Boutaghou, M. et Bessière, J. (2021), “Pour une lecture littérale de Fanon”, entretien avec Jean Bessière, Vol. 75 issue: 1-2, pp. 187-205.

  • Boutaghou, M. (2020), “La leçon de Meddeb: de l’interprétation ou malaise dans la lettre en Islam”, Expressions Maghrébines, vol. 19, nº2, pp. 157-178.

  • Boutaghou, M. and Jean-François, E. Bruno (2020). “Introduction: The Minor in Question”, Cultural Dynamics, vol. 32, nº1-2, pp. 3-13.

  • Boutaghou, M. (2018), “Peau noire, langue blanche: Nabile Farès, Frantz Fanon et la réalité des mots”, Expressions Maghrébines, vol. 17, nº2, pp. 69-90.

  • Boutaghou, M. et Jean-François, E. Bruno (2018). “Mapping francophone postcolonial theories”, Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: SITES, vol. 22, nº2, pp. 125-130.