Bienvenue! Welcome to the Department of French!

richard serrano

Professor of French and Comparative Literature
Chair, Department of French


Office: AB 4179, CAC

Office Hours: Tuesdays 4:00 - 5:00 PM and by appointment

Phone: 848-932-9474

A Humanities Professor's Enduring Connection with Students


B.A. Stanford (English)
M.A., Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley (Comparative Literature)

Fields of Research:

Modern French and Francophone poetry; Maghrebi Literature in French and Arabic; Classical, Andalusian and Modern Arabic poetry; Classical Chinese poetry; Korean poetry.

My current book project is titled Missed Readings: What's with World Literature?.  It explores the works left behind despite the ever-more omni-voracious critical stance dubbed “World Literature.”  By examine  these works in the original Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Korean, and Spanish I illuminate the assumptions of "World Literature" and the multiple forms of exclusion performed by its practitioners.

Books (click on image for details):

Book Serrano

Other Publications:

  • "Reading the Alhambra." Visible Writings. Cultures, Forms, Readings. Ed. Marija Dalbello and Mary Shaw. New Brunswick: Rutgers University PRess, 2011, 293-303.
  • “Beyond the Length of an Average Penis: Reading across Traditions in the Poetry of Timothy Liu.”  Form and Transformation in Asian American Literature.  Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005,190-208.
  • "Makhali-Phal: Cambodian Dancing Girl at the Francophone Epicenter." Special issue, Literature and Society in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, (Journal of Commonwealth and Post-colonial Studies 7:2, Fall 2001, pp. 7-32).
  • "Calixthe Beyala: Griotte Postmoderne ou Plagiaire?" Nouvelles écritures francophones: Vers un nouveau baroque? (Montréal: Presses Universitaires de Montréal, 2001, 338-346).
  • "Translation and the Interlingual Text in the Novels of Rachid Boudjedra."Maghrebian Mosaic: A Literature in Transition. (Ed. Mildred Mortimer. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2000, 27-40).
  • "Nedjma." Entry in African Literature and Its Times. (Ed. Joyce Moss. Santa Monica: Moss Publishing, 2000, 289-296).
  • "Translation and the Interlingual Text in the Novels of Rachid Boudjedra". In Critical Perspectives on Maghrebian Literature. (Ed. Mildred Mortimer. Boulder: Lynne Rienner. Spring 2000).
  • "Fans, Silks, and Ptyx: Mallarmé and Classical Chinese Poetry." Comparative Literature 50.3. (Summer 1998, 220-241).
  • "Lacan's Oriental Language of the Unconscious." SubStance #84. (Vol. 26.3, 1997, 90-106).
  • "Al-Buhturi's Poetics of Persian Abodes." Journal of Arabic Literature. (Vol. XXVIII, 1997, 68-87).
  • "Al-Sharif Al-Taliq, Jacques Lacan, and the Poetics of Abbreviation." Homoeroticism in Classical Arabic Writing.(Ed. J.W. Wright, Jr. & Everett Crowson. Columbia University Press, 1997, 140-157).
  • Translation of Abu Nuwas' "Drunkenness After Drunkenness." Literatures of Asia, Africa and Latin America. From Antiquity to the Present.(Ed. Willis Barnstone & Tony Barnstone. Prentice Hall, 1995, 1010-1011).

Graduate Courses:

  • Islam and the Text in Franchophone Literature of the Magreb
  • Poetry
  • Césaire, Damas and Senghor
  • French and Francophone Poetry
  • Genre and the Algerian War
  • Francophone Literature and the Imperative of History
  • Postcolonial Writer/Postmodern Condition


Undergraduate Courses:

  • Past Today: Why Conflicts Endure (An SAS Signature Course)
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  • Rilke
  • Poetry
  • North African Literature in French
  • Modern Poetry
  • Introduction to Francophone Poetry
  • Multiple Cultures of the Maghreb
  • Introduction to World Literature
  • Fin-de-siècle France and the Far East
  • Introduction à la poésie francophone
  • Remembering and Queer Literature
  • Lyric Poetry in Comparative Context
  • Aspects of French Literature
  • Advanced Grammar and Composition
  • Représentations de la famille dans la littérature maghrébine d'expression française

Program Connections:

Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures
Program in Comparative Literature
Center for African Studies
Center for Middle Eastern Studies

New & Noteworthy

Why French?


Les Rassemblements (1896), Felix Valloton (detail)


Mona Lisa with a Pipe, by Eugène Bataille (Sapeck) (detail)

Study Abroad

Study Abroad


Student Testimonials