Visiting Assistant Professor of Romance Languages
208 Sills Hall
Professor Ketner’s research interests are centered upon Québec Studies, diasporic/migration studies, and cultural identity in literature. He is particularly interested in how [(im)migrant] writing transforms discourses on belonging and identity within the host society, exposing literature and culture to be porous, while also testing their limits. The relationship between migration, space, and writing is one of Jay’s enduring interests, and creates corollaries beyond Québec Studies to include Haiti and 19th Century France as additional sites of investigation. He views (im)migrant and minority narratives as attempting to reconstruct or recover homespaces of the past within the temporal present of writing, which like the migrant authors of these texts, finds itself grounded in new cultural spaces. Jay sees this dynamic as acting upon the collective cultural identity of migrant authors’ host society as expressed in writing, allowing hybrid texts, spaces, and identities to emerge and become legible. His dissertation, which examined the concept of ‘home’ in contemporary works produced by (im)migrant authors in Québec, received financial support from the Ministère des Relations Internationales du Gouvernement du Québec.
While his teaching interests are broad and ever-expanding, Jay’s scholarly work intersects with the classroom particularly in courses on Quebec literature, courses on Francophone literatures and cultures, and 19th Century France courses. He finds that students are fascinated to discover that the cultural hybridity of North America includes a culturally distinct population of francophones living to the north—one whose historical, social, and political identity is equally distinct from other francophone groups around the world. Jay draws from this enthusiasm to find ways to create co-curricular events for students, examples of which include arranging classroom and campus visits by notable authors Dany Laferrière and Carole David, leading student travel to Québec, and organizing film showings. He sees literary studies in the French and Francophone traditions as offering students an opening onto the richness of the human experience and its enduring questions as expressed in other times, places, and cultures, informing their view of the present long after university. Jay believes a French major or minor can be well articulated with other courses of study, providing students with linguistic skills and cultural understanding that prepares them for a range of future pursuits, undertaken through the perspective of working across boundaries in an increasingly transnational world.
Forthcoming: “Can There be a Black Japanese Writer from Montréal?: Cultural, Spatial, and Generic Re-Imaginings in Dany Laferrière’s Je suis un écrivain japonais,” in Metropolitain Mosaics and Melting-Pots: Paris and Montreal in Francophone Literatures. Pascale De Souza and Adlai Murdoch (eds). Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Book Manuscript: Home as Writing, Writing as Home: Literary Migrations in Contemporary Québécois Fiction.
Article: “Comparing Mythologies: Francophone Incarnations of the American Road Novel.”
Conference Paper: « Délimination, mouvement, et le regard ‘Autre’: rapprochement des espaces socioculturels comme geste subversif dans Cette grenade dans la main du jeune nègre est-elle une arme ou un fruit?, » Conférence : Franchir les fronitières de l’exiguïté : les lieux de rapprochement dans les littératures minoritaires, Université de Sainte-Anne (Nouvelle-Ecosse), août 2013.
Conference Paper: “Narrating from Here and There: Internal-External Gaze and the 2010 Earthquake in Dany Laferrière’s Tout bouge autour de moi,” Haiti in a Globalized Frame Conference, Florida State University, February 2013.
Bowdoin French and Francophone Film Festival, 2012-2013.
“An Evening With Dany Laferrière” Three-day author visit to Bowdoin College, to meet with students of two classes on Francophone literature and to discuss a campus-wide showing of the documentary film of his life, La Dérive douce d’un enfant de Petit-Goâve, spring 2012.
“Carole David, a Public Reading” Event to bring Québec author to Bowdoin College to speak with upper-division students of Québec literature and to host public reading, fall 2011.
2009 Québec Winter Symposium, “Identity, Struggle, and Survivance: the Haitian Diaspora in Montréal,” Sponsored by SUNY Plattsburgh’s Center for the Study of Canada.
Honors Thesis Advisor for Daniel Chin, L’écriture de la diaspora franco-chinoise: l’identité et la capacité transformative de la langue. Thesis awarded Charles H. Livingstone Prize for best honors thesis in French, Bowdoin College, 2011-2012.