Jill Jarvis

Scholar (French Studies), US

Jill Jarvis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of French at Yale University. Her research focuses on the politics of aesthetics across North Africa.  Her first book, Untranslatable Justice: The Politics of Fiction in the Postcolony (Algeria 1962-2001), brings together close readings of fiction, film, and photographs with analyses of juridical, theoretical, and activist texts to illuminate both the nature of state violence and the stakes of literary study. In her teaching as well as her research, she is dedicated to questioning the assumptions of area studies and methodological orthodoxies. Her work centers the aesthetic and the literary, making the case for literature as constitutive—rather than simply reflective—of political agency.

Learn more: www.french.yale.edu

Signs in the Desert: An Aesthetic Cartography of the Sahara

Although the Sahara covers a third of the African continent and crosses the borders of a dozen nation-states, it remains a blindspot in scholarly disciplines oriented by the colonial-era cartographies that drew those borders and the area-studies paradigms that reinvent them. The Sahara is anything but empty, and yet it has been mapped for us as a geographic, political, and symbolic dead zone. It is time to correct this. Signs in the Desert considers how contemporary writers and filmmakers from across the Sahara help to transform the reductive ways in which this desert has long been framed.