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 Alternative Spring Break Programs for Colgate University students to the island of Martinique (2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015) to study its rich culture and history.
- Interplay of Cultural Narratives in Martinique: French, African, and Indian Journeys toward a Pluralistic Society (May, 2015, Caribbean Studies Press, Cat # CSP3704, 282pp, with b & w illustrations, softcover ISBN 978-1-62632-370-4).
The book (co-authored with Dr. R.Scott Smith), explores the history of immigration and development of cultural identities on the island of Martinique from 1635 to the present with particular attention to the major cultural groups—African, French, and Indian—as well the role of the indigenous Caribs in cultural hybridization. This interdisciplinary study of intertwined adaptive strategies to emigration and resettlement provides insight into the complicated tapestry of contemporary Martinican identity, including Martinique's chosen status as an Overseas Department of France. To help students navigate nearly 400 years of complex history, the authors provide a glossary and questions for reflection.
“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 (pp. 255-263 of pdf). VIEW PDF ONLINE
- "The Indian indentured worker system in Martinique: Social and economic boundaries," 40th Annual Caribbean Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, May, 2015.
- “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.
- “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.