Before leaving the professoriate, I researched, wrote and published five peer-reviewed articles, a handful of opinion pieces, and a book. The threads that connect my various research projects include my interests in the role of family in transnational imaginaries, the movement of people across space, the contemporary legacies of the (former) French empire, and the continued interconnectedness between France and the francophone world. Many of my research questions have been rooted in transnational theory and gender studies.

Currently, I am collaborating with Inside Higher Ed to develop a series on my departure from the professoriate to pursue a career in the non-profit sector. Each of my projects is hyperlinked below.

Transforming Family: Queer Kinship and Migration in Contemporary Francophone Literature

University of Nebraska Press

The following text is taken from the University of Nebraska Press page about my book:

“One of the lasting legacies of colonialism is the assumption that families should conform to a kinship arrangement built on normative, nuclear, individuality-based models. An alternate understanding of familial aspiration is one cultivated across national borders and cultures and beyond the constraints of diasporas. This alternate understanding, which imagines a category of “trans-” families, relies on decolonial and queer intellectual thought to mobilize or transform power across borders.

In Transforming Family Jocelyn Frelier examines a selection of novels penned by francophone authors in France, Morocco, and Algeria, including Azouz Begag, Nina Bouraoui, Fouad Laroui, Leïla Sebbar, Leïla Slimani, and Abdellah Taïa. Each novel contributes a unique argument about this alternate understanding of family, questioning how family relates to race, gender, class, embodiment, and intersectionality. Arguing that trans- families are always already queer, Frelier opens up new spaces of agency for both family units and individuals who seek representation and fulfilling futures.

The novels analyzed in Transforming Family, as well as the families they depict, resist classification and delink the legacies of colonialism from contemporary modes of being. As a result, these novels create trans- identities for their protagonists and contribute to a scholarly understanding of the becoming trans- of cultural production. As international political debates related to migration, the family unit, and the “global migrant crisis” surge, Frelier destabilizes governmental criteria for the “regrouping” of families by turning to a set of definitions found in the cultural production of members of the francophone, North African diaspora.”

Peer-Reviewed Essays

An essay I co-authored with Paige R. Andersson on pedagogy and migration is currently forthcoming in the MLA’s “Approaches to Teaching” series. The essay includes recommendations for learning outcomes, readings, and lesson plans when teaching the topic of migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border and/or in the Mediterranean region.

Inside Higher Ed Article Series

My collaboration with Inside Higher Ed led to the publication of “How Public Scholarship Assignments Benefit Undergraduates,” an essay about designing assignments that bolster motivation and creativity. I am also currently working on an article series about my departure from the professoriate.

Public Scholarship


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