Kimberly Rooney

Credentials: PhD Candidate in French



  • Ph.D. in French, UW-Madison, anticipated Spring 2024
  • M.A. in French, UW-Madison, 2017
  • B.A. in French, Africana Studies, and Secondary Education, Luther College, 2013


Francophone African and Diasporic literature, childhood, girlhood, de/coloniality, postcolonial theory, critical pedagogy, educational philosophy of the Enlightenment

My research explores questions of education and learning in contemporary French-language literature. In particular, I study representations of the school as well as the political, economic, social, and cultural frameworks that inform authors’ depictions of this Western-model educational institution. I explore trends and shifts across 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, the epistemological implications of this type of education, and the traces of the school within the narratives themselves.


Representations of the School in sub-Saharan African Francophone Novels: Towards a Decolonial Turn (tentative)


  • 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


  • “Epistemic Dis/obedience within, without, and across Schoolroom Walls in Fatou Diome’s Le Ventre de l’Atlantique.” 20th and 21st Century French & Francophone Studies International Colloquium: February 22-24, 2024. Philadelphia, PA.
  • “Subversive Schooling: The Joys and Limits of the School in Fatou Diome’s Le Ventre de l’Atlantique.” The Modern Language Association Convention: January 4-7, 2024. Philadelphia, PA.
  • “Futile Frameworks: Confronting the Incoherencies of (Post)colonial Education in Ken Bugul’s Le Baobab fou.” The Midwest Modern Language Association Convention: November 2-5, 2023. Cincinnati, OH.
  • “De/coloniality and the School: Lessons from Postcolonial Francophone Literature.” The Annual Conference on South Asia: October 18-21, 2023. Madison, WI.
  • “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.