Vanessa Lee

Vanessa Lee, BA (TCD), Master Arts Lettres et Langues (ENS Lyon)

I have just completed my DPhil on French Caribbean Women’s Theatre at the Faculty of Modern Languages at Oxford.

I hold a B.A. in English Literature and Drama Studies, from Trinity College Dublin (2013), and a Master Arts Lettres et Langues, Spécialité Arts de la Scène, from the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (2014).


My research interests include Gender, Postcolonial, and Theatre Studies, and Intercultural and Caribbean Theatre. I have also an interest in and have written on colour-blind casting and debates about diversity in theatre and film in France, the UK and the US.

My undergraduate dissertation was a study of male cross-dressing in Peking Opera, and its influence on twentieth century Western theatre. My Master’s thesis looked at the politics of Intercultural theatre through the analysis of the many adaptations of the first Chinese play translated into a European language, The Orphan of Zhao.

My doctoral research focussed on the dramatic works of contemporary French Caribbean women writers Ina Césaire, Michèle Césaire, Maryse Condé, Suzanne Dracius and Gerty Dambury. I investigated how these writers make use of the theatrical genre to reflect on contemporary Caribbean issues, while emphasizing the female experience. My study of a corpus of five plays explored the themes of (i) the contribution of women to local history, (ii) the relation between individual and community and (iii) the status of the female writer and theatrical practitioner in the French Caribbean and in metropolitan France.


I taught French to English and English to French translation for two years at Exeter College, Oxford (2015 to 2017). In April 2017 I was a Language tutor at the London Centre for Languages and Cultures Easter School.

I am currently an Non-Stipendiary lecturer at Oriel College, teaching translation, theatre and postcolonial topics. I am also supervising a fourth-year bridge essay on Suzanne Césaire’s essays at University College.

From Hilary to Trinity 2018 I will be a Stipendiary Lecturer at Exeter College, teaching first year Paper III and IV topics, second year Paper VIII and Special Author topics, and Final year translation.


Academic articles

‘Errant isles: Existential and Linguistic Wanderings in Confusions d’instants (2003) by Gerty Dambury’, in Transtext(e)s, Transcultures. Forthcoming 2018.

‘Art and Politics in Contemporary French Caribbean Theatre: The (Re)presentation of Guadeloupe’s 2009 General Strike in Gerty Dambury’s Les Atlantiques amers (2009) and Des doutes et des errances (2014)’ in Journal of Romance Studies Special Issue: Francophone Postcolonial Studies in the 21st Century. Forthcoming May 2017.

‘A Dangerous Woman is an Ordinary Woman’. on Dangerous Women Project. url: 25th December 2016.

‘“In Search of the Orphan”: Intercultural Theatre, Multi-Ethnic Casting, and the Representation of Chineseness on European and North American Stages’. in Transtext(e)sTranscultures, 7 | 2012. URL:

Academic translation

‘Géopolitique de la sensibilité et du savoir. (Dé)colonialité, pensée frontalière et désobéissance épistémologique’ (Commissioned English to French translation of Walter Mignolo, ‘Geopolitics of Sensing and Knowing: On (De)Coloniality, Border Thinking, and Epistemic Disobedience’) in Mouvements 2013/1 (n° 73) pp. 181-190. DOI: 10.3917/mouv.073.0181

Book review

Book review of Les Veuves créoles, comédie. Edited with an Introduction by Julia Prest, Cambridge: The Modern Humanities Research Association, 2017. In Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies: A Biannual Publication, 8.2 (2017).

Book review of Dangerous Creole Liaisons: Sexuality and Nationalism in French Caribbean Discourses from 1806 to 1897 by Jacqueline Couti, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2016. In Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies: A Biannual Publication, 8.1 (2017).


Psychos Inc. Creative Europe, University of Wolverhampton, Arena Theatre. Third place in Creative Europe’s POP Drama Award 2016. Published online 2016. Electronic publication available at:

Flotte, in Brochure Atelier Archives et écriture théâtrale, Département des arts Études théâtrales, 9, 10, 11, 12, juin 2014
À l’Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine Abbaye d’Ardenne. Caen: IMEC [Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine], 2014.


‘Beach.’ Icarus 63.3, April 2013.


29th September 2017. ‘Island-Thinking in the French Caribbean’, Curiosity Carnival, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 29th September 2017.

16th June 2017. ‘Errant Isles: Existential and Linguistic Wanderings in Confusions d’instants (2003) by Gerty Dambury’. Memory and Globalization in Artistic and Creative Practices, Institute for Transtextual and Transcultural Studies, Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3, 16th-17th June 2017.

5th May 2017. Talk at ‘Volcanoes: Natural Disaster Narratives and the Environment in Caribbean Literature’ event organised by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, The New Directions in Caribbean Studies Seminar, Race and Resistance Programme, the Fiction and Human Rights Network, and the Bodleian Library at the Weston Library, University of Oxford.

25th November 2016. ‘From Stage to Page: in Search of the Playtexts of French Caribbean Women Writers’. ‘Éditorialité’: Practices of Editing and Publishing Study Day, Maison Française d’Oxford, 25th November 2016.

19th November 2016. ‘Art and Politics in Contemporary French Caribbean Theatre: The (Re)presentation Guadeloupe’s 2009 General Strike in Gerty Dambury’s Les Atlantiques amers (2009) and Des doutes et des errances (2014)’. Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies Conference: Francophone Postcolonial Studies in the 21st Century, 18th-19th November 2016.

28th June 2016. ‘Postcolonial Space in French Caribbean Women’s Theatre’. Society for French Studies 57th Annual Conference, University of Glasgow, 27-29th June 2016.

8th March 2016. ‘Exploring and Performing Gender in the Works of French Caribbean Women Playwrights.’ French Graduate Seminar, All Souls’ College, University of Oxford.

2nd March 2016. ‘Women Staging the French Caribbean: A Recent Interview with Maryse Condé.’ Francophone Seminar, Magdalen College, University of Oxford.

28th February 2016. ‘Mettre en scène l’histoire antillaise: conteuses et héroïnes révolutionnaires.’ IETT Doctoral Seminar, Institute for Transtextual and Transcultural Studies, University of Lyon, Lyon, France.

23rd January 2016. ‘To Make Visible the World That Inhabits Me’: Female Creativity In The Works Of French Caribbean Women Playwrights’. ‘Women and the Canon, an Interdisciplinary Conference’, Christ Church, Oxford, 22- January 2016, as part of the panel ‘Intersections of Gender and Race’.

19th June 2015. ‘Postcolonial space in French Caribbean women’s theatre’. Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies (CCLPS) Postgraduate Conference, at SOAS.

28th February 2015. ‘Lost in Translation: The Body on Stage and Screen’. Co-presented with fellow graduate Alexandra Greenfield, Inaugural St Edmund Hall Research Expo 2015, at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford.

5th December 2014. ‘Dynamics of Time, Space, Memory and Performance in the Works of Francophone Caribbean Women Playwrights’. Graduate Study Day ‘Presenting your Work’, at Medieval and Modern Language Faculty, University of Oxford.


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