Dr Dorothée Boulanger
Dorothée Boulanger joined the University of Oxford in 2018 as a departmental Lecturer for the Portuguese sub-faculty, focusing on African Literatures in Portuguese.
In January 2020 she started a Leverhulme early career fellowship at the Faculty of Medieval and Modern languages at Oxford, concomitantly with a Junior Research Fellowing at Jesus College.
Dorothée’s research interests lie at the intersection of African literature, history and epistemology, highlighting how Western methodologies and academic disciplines fail to encompass the complexity of African fiction as an intellectual and political intervention.
Dorothée initially studied at Sciences-Po Paris, where she graduated with a BA and a MA in International Relations focusing on post-conflict reconstruction in West Africa. After a year living and working for an NGO in Benin, she embarked on a MSt in Gender, Globalisation and Development from the London School of Economics. She then moved to Angola, where she was a lecturer at the Pontificia and Lusiada Universities in Lobito, in 2009 and 2010.
In 2018, she graduated with a PhD in History from King’s College London. During her time at KCL, Dorothée was a teaching fellow in Lusophone African History and Culture for the departments of History and SPLAS (Spanish, Portuguese and Latin-American Studies). Analysing Angolan novels, her thesis examines fiction as a historical source, questioning the relevance of Western disciplinary divides in African contexts.
Based on her doctoral dissertation, her first book, Fiction as History: Resistance and Complicities in Angolan Postcolonial Literature (Legenda forthcoming 2022) examines Angolan novels as historical sources. It argues that Angolan writers’ specific standpoint as members of the nationalist elite make their literary contribution privileged sources to investigate power structures in postcolonial Angola. On the other hand, it also shows how this very proximity led to certain blindspots in fictional accounts of Angola’s history, like the systematic centring of male voices, experiences and perspectives as well as an ambivalent relation to the postcolonial regime.
In 2020, Dorothée was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship for her project ‘Contemporary Griots: Writing the Revolution in Contemporary Africa’, which proposes to use the West African figure of the griot as a conceptual device to look comparatively at the postcolonial literature of Zimbabwe, Angola, Algeria and the Congo (Brazzaville), examining the literary legacies of revolution and internal conflict in postcolonial Africa.
More recently, pressed by the acceleration of global warming and multiple environmental crises, Dorothée has developed a sustained interest in ecocritical perspectives and non-human agency in African and Lusophone Literatures. More specifically, she investigates how fiction, through the centring of alternative cosmologies and epistemologies, can celebrate and inspire more sustainable and respectful relations to the Earth and the living.
Dorothée takes part in various Equality and Diversity initiatives at Jesus College and in the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty. She is part of the College’s Equality and Diversity Steering Committee, part of the Faculty’s Race Equality Task Force and a member of the Athena Swan working group.
In 2022, Dorothée has been presented with an Award for Excellence by the University’s Humanities Division for her work as an ECR representative from 2020 to 2022.
- Fiction as History: Resistance and Complicities in Angolan Postcolonial Literature. Under contract with MHRA publisher Legenda, forthcoming Autumn 2022.
- ‘Esprit des eaux ou nappe de pétrole : une exploration croisée du sous-sol Luandais dans O desejo de Kianda de Pepetela (1995) et Os transparentes, de Ondjaki (2012)’ Études Littéraires Africaines, Special issue on ‘The Ecopoetics of African subsoils’ (forthcoming 2023).
- ‘“In the Centre of Our Circle”: Gender, Selfhood and Non-Linear Time in Yvonne Vera’s Nehanda,’ Angelaki, Special Issue on ‘After Modernism. Women, Gender, Race,’ forthcoming 2022.
- with Andrzej Stuart-Thompson, ‘Postcolonial Childhoods, Literary Filiations? Angolan Boyhood Narratives in the Works of Luandino Vieira and Ondjaki’, in Global Portuguese: Legacies of Empire and Acculturation ed. by Shihan Da Silva and Stefan Halikowski-Smith (Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press, forthcoming 2023).
- ‘“Expanding the Present”: Utopianism and the Celebration of the Subaltern in Angolan Literature’ Research in African Literatures, 52.1 (2021): 1-18 https://muse.jhu.edu/article/840096
- ‘Archives et contrefaçons littéraires en Angola: Estação das chuvas et Teoria geral do esquecimento de José Eduardo Agualusa.” Fabula, 2021 https://www.fabula.org/colloques/document7124.php
- ‘Dambudzo Marechera and Oxford’s “Kiplingesque imperialists”,’ October 2021. https://openingoxford1871.web.ox.ac.uk/article/dambudzo-marechera-and-oxfords-kiplingesque-imperialists#
- ‘Centring Women or rehabilitating masculinity? Gender, literature and late nineteenth century Angola.’ in Francisco Bethencourt (ed.), Gendering the Portuguese-Speaking World (Leyde: Brill, 2020).
- ‘Líderes sanguinários, cães ferozes e a Virgem Maria: o 27 de Maio na literatura angolana’ In Margarida Calafate Ribeiro and Phillip Rothwell (eds.), Heranças Pós-Coloniais nas literaturas de língua portuguesa (Porto: Afrontamento, 2019).
- ‘Boaventura Cardoso’, entry for the Literary Encyclopedia. Published June 2019. https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=14190
- ‘Littérature et nationalisme en Angola : les 80 ans de Luandino’, published for the Libération Blog Africa4, July 2015.