Kimberly Rooney

Credentials: PhD Candidate in French



  • M.A. in French, University of Wisconsin – 2017
  • B.A., Luther College, Decorah, IA – 2013


My research examines depictions of school and learning in novels from and associated with Sub-Saharan African contexts. Along with these literary representations of the school, I study the political, economic, social, and cultural frameworks within which schooling has evolved. I explore affinities and distinctions in these portrayals of school in dialogue with postcolonial theory, critical pedagogies, and decolonial mindsets in order to better understand the formation of schooled subjects within their societies and the epistemological implications of this type of education.

Sub-Saharan African novels of French expression, de/coloniality, postcolonial theory, critical pedagogy, educational philosophy of the Enlightenment, childhood, girlhood, Francophone studies.


Representations of schooling in Sub-Saharan African Francophone Novels: Towards a decolonial turn


  • French 101: First Semester French – instructor
  • French 102: Second Semester French – instructor
  • French 204: Fourth Semester French – instructor
  • French 228: Intermediate French Language and Culture – instructor
  • French 271: Introduction to Literary Analysis – reader/grader, guest instructor


  • “Breachable Walls: Exposing the School in Scholastique Mukasonga’s Notre-Dame du Nil,” Midwest Modern Language Association Convention, November 17-20, 2022, Minneapolis, MN
  • “Exploring slang in an intermediate level French classroom: One model for critically examining language variation,” with S. Descourtis. Arizona Language Association Fall Conference, September 23, 2022, Tucson, AZ
  • “The Life Cycle of Commemorative Fabrics: Apertures in Decolonizing African Studies Collections,” with E. Songolo. Africana Librarians Council Spring Meeting, April 12-30, 2021
  • “Suspended between two cultures of learning: the alienating effects of discordant pedagogies in L’Enfant noir,” Graduate Association for French and Italian Students Research Symposium, April 2017, Madison, WI