- Ph.D., French, University of Texas-Austin
- M.A., French, University of North Texas. Minor: Afro-American Literature
- Maîtrise d'Anglais, Université de Paris-IV (Sorbonne)
- Licence ès lettres, Anglais, Université de Paris-IV (Sorbonne)
From a recent interview with Micheline Rice-Maximin
Q: What made you decide to teach French in the United States?
The development of Caribbean, African and Quebec literatures in the '70s and their role in Hexagonal French literature.
Q: What languages do you know?
Creole, English, French, Spanish, German, Brasilian, Kiswahili, Italian, Latin, Greek.
Q: Where has your language taken you (to live, to work, to study)?
The American continent, the African continent and Europe so far.
Q: Which places (abroad or in the US) are "your places," besides Swarthmore?
Paris, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Oak-Park, Long Island and Grenoble.
Q: Name one course you love to teach, and why.
FR12L. I like to see how the students discover some of the genres that are less known to them, such as poetry. But I do love the Honors seminar because of the deep engagement and participation of students who are ready for challenging discussions and discoveries.
Q: Describe a book or article you have written and what you learned from writing it.
Co-editing "Post-Colonial Subjects, Francophone Women Writers" with my colleagues was a very challenging, enriching and fulfilling experience; it was like having an intense seminar and enjoying every discussion we had in order to conceive and achieve our project. We got to know and appreciate each and had wonderful meals during those many weekend meetings. The translation work that I am now doing is also fascinating since it allows me to enter into different modes of thinking across cultures.
Q: If you had to choose one image to decorate your office door, what would it be?
It would be difficult to just choose one image, so I will say La Soufrière, the very active volcano in Guadeloupe.
Q: If you could choose the visual images, films, works of literature, or songs that would travel into space on the next Voyager to represent humanity to the universe, which would you choose?
Cahier d'un retour au pays natal by Aimé Césaire and Gershwin's Summertime, just to give two works. But there are many more.
Q: What is much better in Francophone culture than anything you see in the U.S.?
Taking time to live, work, eat and truly enjoy what one does.
Q: What do you appreciate most about Swarthmore?
The diversity of the students, the relatively small classes and being able to easily get to know colleagues from other disciplines.
Q: What is the role of French in North America?
French can help students discover not only some of the French-speaking places in Europe, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, but also and most importantly, the cultures of Africa and the Islamic world which should be of great interest particularly to people in the USA.
Q: Describe student projects or a paper that you thought was really great.
Semi-creative final projects from poetry classes and FR 12L classes in general.
Q: What are our most interesting recent alumni/ae doing with French?
Teaching at universities and high schools, museums jobs, graduate studies in Caribbean and African and French studies, humanitarian jobs all over the world, careers in the Editing world, in the business world, in International organizations, in the political world, etc.
Q: What other disciplines have you studied, and how do they contribute to your work with French?
Languages, literatures, philosophy, history, the arts, which are the backbone for my discipline.