Maya Boutaghou

Associate Professor
333 New Cabell Hall

Spring 2022 Student Office Hours:

Tuesdays and Thursdays online from 12:45pm to 1:45pm 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


  • Représentations de la guerre d’indépendance algérienne, Maya Boutaghou (éd.). Paris: Classiques Garnier (série “Littérature générale et comparée” coll. “Rencontres”) (2019). Click here for link.
  • L’esprit créateur, Guest editor for Special Issue The Legacy of the Algerian War of Independence in Algeria, in France, and Beyond; Winter 2014, vol. 54, nº4, The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Articles and Book Chapters, a selection

  • Boutaghou, M. (in press, 2016). “Cosmopolitanism During the Nahda: Mayy Ziyadah’s Discussion on Adab”, Comparative Literature Studies (33 pages double-spaced).
  • Boutaghou, M. (2016). “Writing in bi-langue: Assia Djebar’s veiled Arabic”, in Anne Donadey (ed.), Approaches to Teaching the Works of Assia Djebar. New York: MLA Publications (31 pages double-spaced).
  • Boutaghou, M. (2014). “Renaissances, modernisations et occidentalisations au XIXe siècle”, in Yves Clavaron, Emilie Picherot & Zoé Schweitzer (eds), Orientalisme et comparatisme. Saint- Étienne: Publications Universitaires de Saint-Étienne, pp. 145-157.
  • Boutaghou, M. (2014). “Trois puissantes femmes: Simone de Beauvoir, Gisèle Halimi, Djamila Boupacha, entre lutte anticoloniale et combat féministe”, Dalhousie French Studies, vol. 103, pp. 9-21
  • Boutaghou, M. (2014). “Introduction: l’héritage de la guerre d’indépendance algérienne”, L’esprit créateur, vol. 54/4, pp. 1-5.
  • Boutaghou, M. (2013). “Le style en arabesque d’Assia Djebar”, French Studies, vol. 67/2, pp. 216-231.
  • Boutaghou, M. (2010). “‘Défense et illustration’ d’un universel mauricien”, International Journal of Francophone Studies, vol. 13/3-4, pp. 451-469.