Kathryn Kleppinger

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Kathryn Kleppinger

Deputy Chair, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies and International Affairs, Director of French Literature


Office Phone: (202) 994-6935
Columbian College of Arts & Sciences 801 22nd Street, NW, 513E Washington DC 20052

Kathryn Kleppinger's research and teaching center on the related fields of French cultural studies and contemporary French and Francophone Literature. The foundational goal driving her work is to question the construction of literary labels and the social power dynamics inherent to cultural production. Her first book, Branding the Beur Author: Minority Writing and the Media in France, 1983-2013 (Liverpool UP, 2015), focuses on the mainstream media promotion of literature written by the descendants of North African immigrants to France (often called beurs). Her current book project, tentatively titled Double Decentering: Contemporary Representations of Migration in Marseille, takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying the historical, cultural, and sociological patterns shaping the populations of Marseille, France's second-largest city and oldest continuously operating port. She is also co-editing a volume, The Marseille Mosaic, bringing together scholars from various disciplines to analyze current debates about space and place in contemporary Marseille. Her research aims to propose alternative ways of thinking about France’s (and Europe’s, more generally) immigration debates, as Marseille has the longest history of any major European city in eventually integrating new arrivals from throughout the world. In addition to these projects, she has published articles on Francophone literature from several regions, including Algeria, Morocco, Congo, and Cameroon.



  • Post-Migratory Cultures in Postcolonial France. Ed. with Laura Reeck. Francophone Postcolonial Studies series at Liverpool University Press, 2018.
  • French Cultural Studies in the 21st Century. Ed. with Masha Belenky and Anne O’Neil-Henry. The University of Delaware Press, 2017.
  • Branding the Beur Author: Minority Writing and the Media in France, 1983-2013. Liverpool University Press, 2015.


  • “New Media, New Voices: Booba’s and Sofiane’s Uses of Social Networks to Promote Aspiring Rappers.” In Hip-Hop En Français: An Exploration of Hip-Hop Culture in the Francophone World, Ed. Alain-Philippe Durand. Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.
  • "Marseille" and “The Mediterranean.” In Postcolonial Realms of Memory: Sites and Symbols in Modern France, Eds. Étienne Achille, Charles Forsdick, and Lydie Moudileno. Liverpool University Press, 2020: 119-136. 
  • “Filles musulmanes et sexualités en Occident,” In Sexe, Race & Colonies, Eds. Pascal Blanchard, Nicolas Bancel, Gilles Boetsch, Rachel Jean-Baptiste, Christelle Taraud, and Dominic Thomas. La Découverte, 2018.
  • “Mobility, Migration and Mystery in Maurice Gouiran’s Marseille Polars.” Australian Journal of French Studies. 55.1 (2018): 17-27.
  • “When opposites collide: social commentary and satire in French rap before and after Charlie Hebdo.” Contemporary French Civilization. 41.2 (Summer 2016): 197-216.
  • “Alain Mabanckou’s Subversion of Stereotypes Through Humour.” Essays in French Literature and Culture. 52 (November 2015).
  • “There’s something about Paris.” American Literary History. 27.4 (Winter 2015): 820-830.
  • “Paris, an Afropean City: Urban Activism in Works by Alain Mabanckou and Léonora Miano.” Dominic Thomas and Nicki Hitchcott, eds. Francophone Afropean Literatures. Liverpool University Press, 2014.
  • “Qu’est-ce qu’un auteur beur?” Postcolonial Studies: modes d’emploi. Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2013:185-202.
  • “New Ideas of France: The Reconceptualization of Nation-Based History and Culture in Alain Mabanckou’s Demain j’aurai vingt ans.” Contemporary French & Francophone Studies: Sites. 17.2 (March 2013): 220-26.
  • “L'invention du roman beur: les premiers auteurs d’origine beure à la télévision,” in Intrangers, ed. Ilaria Vitali.  Academia Bruylant, 2012: 21-46.
  • “What’s wrong with the littérature-monde manifesto?” Contemporary French & Francophone Studies: Sites. 14.1 (January 2010): 77-84.