Katarzyna Pieprzak

Director of Arabic Studies and Professor of Francophone Literature, French Language, and Comparative Literature
Hollander Hall Rm 256
At Williams since 2003


B.A. Rice University (1995)
M.A. University of Michigan, Comparative Literature (1998)
Ph.D. University of Michigan, Comparative Literature (2001)

Areas of Expertise

  • Contemporary Literature from North Africa
  • Clandestine Migration in Literature and Art
  • Museums in Africa and the Middle East
  • Contemporary Art from North Africa
  • Postcolonial Theory from the Francophone World
  • Comparative Francophone Studies


Note: courses in gray are not offered this academic year.

RLFR 102(S)

Introduction to French Language and Francophone Cultures

RLFR 104(S)

Intermediate French II: Advanced Intermediate Studies in French

RLFR 260 / COMP 260(F)

Reading Comics from the French-Speaking World

RLFR 309 / AFR 307(F)

Contemporary Short Stories from North Africa

RLFR 312 / AFR 312 / COMP 312

Francographic Islands

COMP 345

Museums, Memorials, and Monuments: The Representation and Politics of Memory

RLFR 410

Senior Seminar: Landscapes of Movement and Migration in French

ARTH 573

Modern and Contemporary Art from the Middle East and North Africa

Scholarship/Creative Work


Imagined Museums: Art and Modernity in Morocco, (University of Minnesota Press, January 2010)

Land and Landscape in Francographic Literature: Remapping Uncertain Territories, co-edited with Magali Compan, (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007).

Edited Journal Issue

Africanity in North African Visual Culture. Special Issue of Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture 5 (Spring 2010). Co-edited with Jessica Winegar.

Selected Articles

“Zones of Perceptual Enclosure: The Aesthetics of Immobility in Casablanca’s Literary Bidonvilles” Research in African Literatures 47.3 (Fall 2016).

“A Beautiful Grave:  Innocent Objects, Museums and the Modern Self in Driss Chraïbi’s La Civilisation, ma Mère!… and the Ben M’Sik Community Museum” in Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literatures 38.2 (Summer 2014) Self and Stuff: Accumulation in Francophone Literature and Art. Guest editors: Amy Hubbell and Natalie Edwards.

“Art Museums and Memories of Modernity: Crumbling National Discourses of the Modern in Contemporary Morocco” in A Companion to Modern African Art edited by Monica Visona and Gitti Salami (London: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, 2014). 

“Actions sur le corps social: Engagements, invitations et rencontres” in Hassan Darsi: L’action et l’œuvre en projet (Casablanca: Editions Le Fennec, 2012).

“Participation as Patrimony: The Ben M’Sik Community Museum and the Importance of the Small Museum in Morocco” in Ben M’Sik Community Museum: Building Bridges, Samir el-Azhar ed., (Casablanca: Université Hassan II, 2012)

“Nostalgia and the New Cosmopolitan: Literary and Artistic Interventions in the City of Casablanca” Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature 33.1 (Winter 2009).

“Art in the Streets: Modern Art, Museum Practice and the Urban Environment in Contemporary Morocco” MESA Bulletin 42.1-2 (Summer/Winter 2008).

“Ruins, Rumors and Traces of the City of Brass: Moroccan Modernity and Memories of the Arab Global City” Research in African Literatures 38.4 (Winter 2007): 187-203

“Bodies on the Beach: Youssef Elalamy and Moroccan Landscapes of the Clandestine,” Land and Landscape in Francographic Literature: Remapping Uncertain Territories, Katarzyna Pieprzak and Magali Compan ed, (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007): 104-122.

“Citizens and Subjects in the Bank: Corporate Visions of Modern Art and Moroccan Identity”
Nation, Society and Culture in North Africa: Essays on Contemporary History, Culture and Politics, James McDougall ed. (London: Frank Cass, 2003) and Journal of North African Studies 8.1 (Spring 2003): 131-152.

“Whose Patrimony Is It Anyway? The Quarrel between Ali Baba’s Cave and the National Museums of Morocco,” Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature No. 49 (Fall 2001): 155-174.

Recent Papers Given

Colloquium Organizer: Aesthetics and the Bidonville, Clark Art Institute, May 6-8, 201
“Demain Demain: Nanterre, Bidonville de la Folie. Fanon and the Traveling Bidonville” Clark Art Institute, May 7, 2016.

Invited Speaker, “Migrating Spaces Imagining and Containing the Bidonville in the Francophone Mediterranean” Duke University, March 2, 2016.

Invited Speaker, “Spaces of Migration and Aesthetics of Immobility” University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center, October 15, 2015.

Invited Speaker, ““The Problem of Perceptual Enclosures: Built Environment, Literature, and Aesthetics of Immobility in Casablanca’s Bidonvilles” Before the Contemporary Symposium, Northwestern University, May 29, 2015.

“More Than Crime and Terrorism: Mobilizing and Memorializing the Shantytown in Casablanca” Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, October 12, 2013.

“Labor Deferred: Pregnancy and the Migrant Body in Les clandestins and L’enfant endormi” Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference, Paris, July 6, 2012.

“Uneven Reciprocity: Site Specific Art and Its Publics” Invited panelist for discussion on “Art and Public Space” at the Marrakesh Biennale, March 1, 2012.

“Participatory Memory and Casablanca’s Forgotten Neighborhood: Rebels, Dissidents and the Urban Poor at the Community Museum in Ben M’Sik” Invited talk for the Africa Workshop Series, University of Michigan, February 7, 2012.

“Curating Forgotten Neighborhoods: Community Museums in Casablanca” American Anthropology Association Annual Conference, Montreal, November 16-20 2011.

“Musées et ruines d’une mémoire nationale au Maroc” Conseil International d’études francophones Annual Conference, Aix-en-Provence, June 1, 2011.

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

Getty Foundation Summer Institute Fellowship in Istanbul on “Constructing the Past in the Middle East” (2006)