Carine Schermann

Carine Schermann

"All about challenge and knowledge sharing!"

College: Arts and Sciences
Degree Program: French
Degree: Doctoral

Award: Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowship (2023)


Why FSU?

I was very interested in the Winthrop-King Institute for French and Francophone Studies, which organizes conferences and events that promote francophone literatures and cultures, inviting writers, poets, artists and scholars from around the world. I was invited to participate in one of their events in 2019 to present a non-academic multidisciplinary journal I had co-created in Haiti with some friends. Being able to come to Tallahassee, visit FSU's campus, meet the amazing professors in the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics, and discover first-hand the scope and dynamism of the Winthrop-King; all this influenced my decision, and I am very happy with it.

Motivation to pursue a graduate degree

I have always been close to literature: reading, writing, and doing theater as a child and a teenager. When I was a literature student at La Sorbonne in Paris, my part-time job was to sell books in cultural venues for a Parisian bookstore. I would go to the Salon du livre, Salon de la poésie, conferences and events where people gathered around books. After my master’s, I went to live in Haiti, and there I worked with artists, young people, and grassroots organizers to organize cultural and social events in one of the capital’s major cultural centers, Fondation Connaissance et Liberté (FOKAL). On the side, I took part for a few years in a literary workshop, Atelier Jeudi Soir, where we would meet every Thursday to write and talk about literature. Leaving Port-au-Prince and leaving my job to pursue my PhD was a difficult decision. But it gives me the incredible opportunity to continue studying the intersection of literature, art, and social action: that precise space where everything becomes possible, and where each exchange holds a promise of change.

Importance and/or impact of research and work

My hope is that my research will allow people to (re)discover a Caribbean transnational history of resistance, through Haitian, Dominican and diasporic literature, art, music, social movements, and media that reveals the fabric of the Black imagination. I examine texts in French, Creole, Spanish, English, and I believe my work contributes to overcoming the disciplinary silos in which Haitian studies on the one hand and Dominican studies on the other can be confined.

Career aspirations

I wish to teach about the diversity of Afro-diasporic literature and cultures, and I aspire to produce research and educational material that can be used in the U.S. and the Caribbean, for students from all backgrounds. I can see myself working in academia, but I can also envision working for a cultural organization invested in collective care and social justice. The most important thing for me is to be connected to spaces and communities that are culturally turned towards the Caribbean and Afro-diasporic ways of life.

Advice for anyone considering graduate school

Staying in sync with what animates and drives you is key! Tracking the fun, the joy, and the excitement is one of the things I do in moments of doubt. Another advice would be to use all the tools and resources the University has to offer, and not be afraid to ask for information, feedback, or help: academia should not and does not have to be a solitary process!

Accomplishments during graduate career

I am very happy to have co-organized with fellow colleagues and friends a Winthrop-King symposium around the works of the Guadeloupean writer Gisèle Pineau and the Haitian visual artist Tessa Mars in Spring 2023. I have also received different fellowships and awards: the Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowship (2023-24), the Winthrop-King Graduate Travel Grant (2023); the Exceptional Service Award (2023) and the Outstanding Graduate Student Award (2022) from the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics; the North Central Council of Latin Americanists Graduate Student Research Award (2022); and the Winthrop-King Summer Doctoral Fellowship (2022).