Valérie Loichot Awarded Top MLA Prize

Loichot-ValerieThe Modern Language Association of America is awarding its 22nd annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies to Valérie Loichot, Professor of French and English, for her book The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature, published by the University of Minnesota Press. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work in its field—a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography—written by a member of the association.

The Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies is one of 16 awards that will be presented on January 10, 2015, during the association’s annual convention, to be held in Vancouver. The committee’s citation for Loichot’s book reads:

In The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature, Valérie Loichot offers an ambitious, at times audacious, and ultimately compelling analysis of the cultural construction of a Caribbean self, both individual and collective. Judiciously combining archival research, literary analysis, and cultural critique, The Tropics Bite Back presents an insightful reflection on creolization in its culinary, linguistic, literary, cultural, and psychic dimension. Thanks to a series of deftly conducted readings of major Caribbean theorists and authors, Loichot sheds new light on Caribbean writing, providing a fresh and critical understanding of the place the Caribbean occupies in the contemporary cultural imaginary.

The Modern Language Association of America and its 30,000 members in 100 countries work to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. Founded in 1883, the MLA provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy. The MLA sustains one of the finest publication programs in the humanities, producing a variety of publications for language and literature professionals and for the general public. The association publishes the MLA International Bibliography, the only comprehensive bibliography in language and literature, available online. The MLA Annual Convention features meetings on a wide variety of subjects; this year’s convention in Vancouver is expected to draw 8,000 attendees. More information on MLA programs is available at


Saying Goodbye to Prof. Candace Lang


There will be a service to celebrate the memory of our colleague Candace Lang on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 from 4-5:30 p.m. in Cannon Chapel.  All members of the University community are welcome.  If you would like further information, please contact Kate Bennett in the Department of French and Italian (


From Dean Robin Forman, November 1, 2011

I write with the sad news that Candace Lang passed away last night, following a fight with cancer that lasted over a year. She died peacefully at home, surrounded by family and friends. Candace played a central role in the leadership of the Department of French and Italian and in the College; she served as Department Chair from 2006-2009 and again from 2010 until her recent medical leave. I had several opportunities to work closely with Candace over the last year. While others surely knew her better, I quickly came to admire her fierce enthusiasm for the scholarship and teaching of her colleagues, her wry sense of humor, and the grace and disarming candor with which she confronted her illness. Her devotion to French studies and to the department was evident in everything that she did, and she brought her wit, humor, and shrewd judgment to her work as Chair. I learned a great deal from her about the Department, about the study of literature, and about how we might face moments of great challenge with courage and dignity.