Richard Watts, Chair of the UW Department of French and Italian Studies from 2012 to 2016, began his term in November as the new director of the Canadian Studies Center and Program. He is also an associate professor of French.
Watts conducts research and teaches on the cultural and political networks of the francophone world, including Québec. His book Packaging Post/Coloniality: The Manufacture of Literary Identity in the Francophone World (Lexington Books, 2005) examines how literature in French from outside of Europe circulates along these networks.
He is the author of articles on the intersections of francophone postcolonial studies and the environmental humanities published in Journal of Romance Studies, Pacific Coast Philology, Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Atlantic Studies, French Forum and Modern Language Notes.
Watts is currently completing a project tentatively titled Water Narratives: Global Environmental Change in the Francophone Postcolonial World that considers how the pollution, privatization, and manufactured scarcity of water are rapidly altering its previously stable symbolic value in literature, cinema and other forms of cultural production. A chapter of this volume is devoted to water and the intersection of francophone and indigenous cultures in Québec.
The Pacific Northwest National Resource Center on Canada, which comprises UW Canadian Studies and the Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University, is pleased to welcome Watts to the team to strengthen and enhance studies on Québec and Canadian French language training at the UW.