Thomas C. Spear is Professor of French at Lehman College and the Ph.D. Program in French at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the Division on Francophone Literatures and Cultures of the Modern Languages Association (2000-2004) and member of the Advisory Committee on the MLA International Bibliography (2000-2003). He is a founding member of the Francophone Association of CUNY (FRACUNY), and has been the secretary of this organization since 1993. He runs an international electronic discussion list of scholars of non-European literatures and cultures in French, “franco-monde.” Prof. Spear received a B.A. in English and French from Lawrence University (Wisconsin), an M.A. in French from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Ph.D. in French from New York University. He is the co-editor (with Rosemarie Scullion and Philip H. Solomon) of Céline and the Politics of Difference (Hanover, NH: U. Press of New England, 1995), editor of two special issues of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies on “Queer Autobiographies” (forthcoming), and of a forthcoming anthology of first-person essays by a diverse group of international writers and scholars examining their love-hate relationship with France. His first focus of scholarship was in Twentieth Century French novelists and theories of narratology, most particularly in forms of autobiography.
After completing graduate study, he began research in non-European francophone literatures and cultures (not offered for study in his graduate institutions’ French departments at the time) where he continues to investigate forms of autobiography as well as representations of sexuality, with a primary concentration on the French-speaking Caribbean and a secondary concentration on contemporary writing from Québec. He regularly presents his scholarship at international conferences (e.g., Canada, England, France, Martinique, Morocco, Guadeloupe) and at major conferences in the United States (CIEF, MLA, Twentieth Century French Studies). He has been an invited speaker at such venues as “Le Salon du Livre de l’Outre-mer” in Paris in 1997, and “Encre Noire,” a forum opening Black History month in Montréal (2001). He has been interviewed several times for radio programs on Radio-Canada, and has also appeared on Algerian and Haitian radio. Prof. Spear translated Leslie Kaplan’s novel Brooklyn Bridge (Barrytown, NY: Station Hill Press, 1992) and is co-translator (with Barbara Lewis) of the study of Faulkner and the American South, Faulkner, Mississippi (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) by the Martinican author, Edouard Glissant. His translations also include short stories by Maryse Condé and Jeanne Hyvrard in Green Cane and Juicy Flotsam: Short Stories by Caribbean Women (Rutgers U. Press, 1991). He has published on the autobiographical writings of Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Serge Doubrovsky, Marguerite Duras, Jean Genet, and Alain Robbe-Grillet. Articles on Caribbean authors include studies of the works of Patrick Chamoiseau, Maryse Condé, Raphaël Confiant, René Depestre, Émile Ollivier, and Gisèle Pineau. These articles have appeared in numerous anthologies, in journals such as Europe; Genre; Modern Language Studies; Sites, the Journal of Twentieth-Century / Contemporary French Studies; Yale French Studies; and World Literature Today as well as in ejournals such as Fabula and Jouvert. An aficionado of hypertext and internet publication, Prof. Spear has maintained popular internet sites since January 1996 that centralize access to online resources in French which have earned recognition in the French daily, Libération, The New York Times, and in a number of French Internet guides, have been selected for mention by the Bibliothèque Nationale of France, the National Endowment for the Humanities’s EDSITEment (“The Best of the Humanities on the Web”) and by hundreds of other web sites. His major internet project is “île en île,” a database documenting the cultures, literatures, and history of French-speaking islands.