Biography

Professor Emerita Valerie Raoul retired in 2007, after 28 years at UBC as a member of the French Department (now FIHS), of which she was Head from 1991-6. Her background before coming to Canada from England in 1970 was already interdisciplinary (BA Cambridge, Modern Languages; Teaching Certificate from Bristol U.; Social Work training at LSE; experience of working in Thailand on women’s issues). Her teaching focused on women’s writing and feminist theory in French and Comparative Literature. In 1990-1 she chaired the committee that successfully proposed an undergraduate programme in Women’s Studies and a Centre for Research in Women’s Studies and Gender Relations. As Director of the CRWSGR from 1997-2002 she oversaw the creation of MA and PhD programs in Women’s and Gender Studies, and a Killam Teaching Prize (2005) recognized her success in graduate supervision. Links were expanded to similar research centres across the world and she was welcomed as a Visiting Professor in several countries, including India (U. of Delhi), China (Peking University), and France (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris). From 2002- 2007 she was founding Director of a CFI-funded project affiliated with the CRWSGR: SAGA (Studies in Autobiography, Gender, and Age, which evolved into RAGA with a focus on Race). She was an elected member of Senate 1999-2002, and received the French government award “Chevalier des palmes académiques”.

Her publications include single-authored books on diary fiction in France and Québec, and co-edited collections of essays on “women’s struggle for the body”, women filmmakers, and narratives of illness. Her activities since retiring have ranged from teaching at the Carnegie Centre in the Downtown Eastside to observing elections in the Philippines and participating in a Human Rights delegation to Guatemala. She may be seen singing at rallies or on picket lines with the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir.

Selected Publications

Books:

The French Fictional Journal. Toronto: U. of Toronto P., 1980.

Distinctly Narcissistic: Diary Fiction in Québec. Toronto: U. of Toronto P., 1993

Le Journal fictif dans le roman français. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1999.

Co-edited volumes:

With Dawn Currie. Anatomy of Gender: Women’s Struggle for the Body. Ottawa:    Carleton UP, 1992.

With Jacqueline Levitin and Judith Plessis. Women Filmmakers: Refocusing. Vancouver: UBC P., 2003.

With Connie Canam, Angela Henderson,Carla Pateson. Unfitting Stories: Narrative Approaches to Disease, Disability, and Trauma. Waterloo ON: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2007.

Most recent article:

“Frenchness on Trial in Canada: Language, Religion, Race and Gender in Current Debates on Immigration in Québec”. In M.Thapan ed., Contested Spaces (Hyderabad, India: Orient Black Swan, 2010).