Mahadevi Ramakrishnan received her Doctor of Arts in Foreign Languages from Syracuse University in 1992 with an additional concentration in International Relations. Her larger research interests are in exploring the intricacies of how the interplay of history, language, and culture shapes identities. More specifically, she examines the critical role of ecological factors in the evolution of languages, cultures and identities of displaced people.
Most recently, her work has centered on the French Caribbean island of Martinique. The island is an exemplary case study that allows for an interdisciplinary exploration of the history of resettlement and its effects on the development and evolution of languages, cultural narratives and cultural identities. She has directed three Alternative Spring Break Programs for Colgate University students to the island of Martinique (2011, 2012, and 2013) to study its rich culture and history.
- Under contract to publish a book with Caribbean Studies Press, Florida: “Interplay of Cultural Narratives In Martinique: French, African, and Indian Journeys Towards A Pluralistic Society.” This book will be co-authored and will explore the history of resettlement and development of cultural identities on the Caribbean island of Martinique from 1635 to the present. Particular attention will be paid to three variables: the cultural narratives of the three major cultural groups (French, African and Indian), their reciprocal influences and most importantly, their respective adaptive strategies to the process of resettlement. Completion date is scheduled for Summer 2014.
“French, African, and Indian cultural narratives in Martinique: The architecture of shifting social hierarchies from 1848-1884,” published in The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp. 27-36, April, 2013. VIEW ONLINE
“Preservation and loss of elements of native language: Resettlement in Martinique,” published in the proceedings of the Asian Conference on Language Learning, September, 2012.
- “The Genesis of Creolization and the Evolution of Postcolonial “Identities” in the French Caribbean,” 12th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, Hawaii, January, 2014
- “French, African, and Indian cultural narratives in Martinique: The architecture of shifting social hierarchies from 1848-1884 (Part 2),” 7th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Barcelona, Spain, June, 2012.
- “Preservation and loss of elements of native language: Resettlement in Martinique,” Asian Conference on Language Learning, Osaka, Japan, April, 2012.
- “Foreign Language Interns: Cross-Cultural Experiences and Expectations.” Co-Presented at the Humanities Colloquium Series, Colgate University, September, 2010.
- “Improving the Refugee Resettlement Process in the U.S.: Developing a Knowledge Base to Guide Local Policies. Co-presented at the Eighth International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, and Nations, Montreal, Canada, June, 2008.
- “The case of a city where 1 in 6 residents is a refugee: Do host communities ‘catch’ and ‘carry’ culture, too?” Paper co-presented at the Sixth Annual Diversity Challenge Conference, Boston College, Boston MA, October, 2006.