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Culture and Colonialism: Juniata French Professor to Lecture on Literature

(Posted January 12, 2012)

Michael Henderson, associate professor of French.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Michael Henderson, associate professor of French, will talk about how language, culture and identity can be seen by analyzing the literature of different nations in the lecture, "Without Art, How Would We Know Each Other?" at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 18, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The Bookend Seminar Series features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata faculty.

Henderson will approach his talk by discussing postcolonial literature, which is usually defined as the writing and literature that reclaims or asserts the cultural identity of a people formerly subjected to colonial rule. Generally, postcolonial writers aim to expose, critique, and subvert the inherent power structures left behind or instituted by a dominant colonial culture.

Henderson will focus on French-Canadian literature, is different from other forms of postcolonial discourse in that writers from other former French colonies concentrate on writings that overcome a subjugated or marginalized cultural identity. Francophone Canadian authors have created the literature of a diaspora, seeking to recover or to maintain the collective memory of a threatened ancestral heritage.


Henderson joined the Juniata faculty in 1992 as assistant professor of French. He was promoted to associate professor in 1993.

Henderson teaches a variety of French courses at Juniata, including Sexuality in Literature, French Cinema, French Civilization and Culture and other language courses. In addition, he teaches summer and spring break immersion courses in Lille, France and Quebec, Canada.

As a scholar, Henderson focuses on 20th century literature and has published papers on the works of French author Jean Genet. He remains an active member of the Modern Language Association, the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages and the American Association of Teachers of French.

Henderson earned a bachelor's degree in French from Arizona State University in 1982 and went on to earn a master's degree at ASU in 1984. He earned a doctoral degree in French in 1991 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. While at UC-Santa Barbara, he was a Regents Fellow from 1984 to 1989.

Before coming to Juniata, Henderson spent a year as assistant supervisor of language instructors at the Santa Barbara campus from 1991-1992.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.