Mahadevi Ramakrishnan

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Mahadevi Ramakrishnan

Senior Lecturer in French

As a Faculty member of the Romance Languages Department at Colgate University for 14 years, I am keenly interested in studying the preservation, loss and evolution of original languages and cultures of displaced groups, particularly within colonial, postcolonial, and immigrant communities in the French Caribbean. I am of the belief that examining the circumstances of displacement, the acculturation process, and the responses of the host communities to the presence of these newcomers can help us better understand the dynamics of exclusion and discrimination.

Doctor of Arts
Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures 
Syracuse University, 1992

M.A. Foreign Languages & Literatures
Syracuse University, 1987

B. A. History 
University of Madras, India, 1984

Alliance Française de Madras, India, June 1984

  • Diplôme Supérieur de Langue Française
  • Diplôme de Langue Française

Received with Distinction

May 2021: Research article entitled, "Homage to her Indian Ancestors in Minatchy-Bogat’s Terre d’Exil et d’Adoption," in French Studies Bulletin, Vol. 42, Issue 158, 2021.

June 2021: Research article entitled, "French Caribbean Settlements: Guadeloupe's Subsidiary Status," in the Journal of Caribbean History, Vol. 55, Issue 1, 2021. 

May 2015: Book entitled, Interplay of Cultural Narratives in Martinique: French, African, and Indian Journeys toward a Pluralistic Society, published by Caribbean Studies Press. This co-authored book 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.

April 2013: “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.

Sept. 2012: “Preservation and loss of elements of native language: Resettlement in Martinique,”  in the Proceedings of the Asian Conference on Language Learning, September 2012.

  • June 2019: Diverse migrants and the restructuring of Guadeloupe’s social hierarchy. Paper presented at the Caribbean Studies Association Conference in Santa Marta, Colombia
  • June 2018: French Caribbean Identity and the Paradigm of Interdisciplinarity. Paper presented at the Caribbean Studies Association Conference in Havana, Cuba.
  • Feb. 2017: Tale of Black Histories. Served as a panelist at a symposium held by the Department of Theater and Film Studies and the Caribbean Studies Initiative of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.
  • Nov. 2016: La Martinique: une enfant illégitime de la France? Presented a workshop on Martinique’s history and culture to the American Association of Teachers of French, Central New York Chapter.
  • July 2016: What remains of the indigenous Carib culture in modern-day Guadeloupe and Martinique? Presented a paper at the 16th Annual International Conference on Diversity in Organizations, Communities, & Nations in Granada, Spain.
  • Jan. 2016: “Édouard Glissant’s Histoire de nègre in context: 1971 in Martinique and 2015 at Colgate University.” Served as a panelist at the MLA 2016 Annual Convention Special Session, Austin, Texas.
  • May 2015: “The Indian Worker System in Martinique: Social and Economic Boundaries.” Presented a paper at the 40th Annual Caribbean Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Jan. 2014: “The Genesis of Creolization and the Evolution of Postcolonial “Identities” in the French Caribbean.” Paper presented at the 12th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • June 2012: “French, African, and Indian Cultural Narratives in Martinique: The Architecture of Shifting Social Hierarchies from 1848-1884.” Paper presented at the Seventh International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Barcelona, Spain.
  • May 2020: Senior Thesis Advisor, Colgate University 

Raka Mukherjee '20, Indiens des Caraîbes Françaises.

  • June 2019: Caribbean Studies Association Conference, Santa Marta, Colombia.

Papers presented by Devin Ferri '21 and Finn Schuemann '21

  •  June 2017: Caribbean Studies Association Conference, Nassau, Bahamas.

Papers presented by Sabrina Callender-Clewett '19 and Seth Grimes '19 

  •  May 2015: Caribbean Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Papers presented by Laine Barrand ’17, Nicole Jackson ’18, Matthew Kavanagh ’17, and Linh Le ’18. 

Summer, 2019:

Co-Director Franco-German Short-term Program in the RegioTriRhena. 

Spring, 2011- 2018:

Director, Interdisciplinary Program in Martinique, French Caribbean

Spring, 2008 - 2010:

Director, Language and Cultural Immersion in Québec, Canada


Core 180C: Core French Caribbean

French 121 and 122: Introduction to French Language and Culture I & II

French 201: Intermediate French, Conversation and Composition 

French 202: Intermediate Language Culture and Literature

French 361: Composition, Grammar and Conversation


  • Fall 2006 – present:
    • Faculty Advisor, Colgate University French Club
  • Fall 2010 –2017:
    • MLK Planning Committee Member, Colgate University 
  • March 2015:
    • Co-Director, Histoire de nègre, A Staged Reading and Roundtable at Colgate University.