Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures (French)
Modern Languages and Literatures (French)
At Knox Since: 2008
Schahrazede Longou joined the Knox faculty in 2008 as a visiting professor
and accepted the tenure-track position of assistant professor of modern
languages the following year. She received her master's and Ph.D. degrees in French literature and Francophone World Studies from the University of Iowa. Some of her teaching interests include the twentieth century French novel, literature and films by writers and filmmakers of North Africa (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), and Algerian women writers.
What brought you to Knox?
When I came to Knox two years ago for my job interview, I was very impressed with the students' language production and their level in French. It is so wonderful to see students show interests in learning and speaking a language. I also felt at ease during the campus visit, I really liked the faculty, the campus and something in me just "clicked."
Have there been any surprises?
The train horns and the sound of the locomotive at night. They might have been disturbing for all new residents but it's a different story for me. These sounds make me feel I am in my native Algeria, in Blida. Blida is not a railroad city but it has a train station located 200 meters from my parents' house, and every time I hear the train here in Galesburg, I feel like I can mentally travel home.
What has been your most memorable experience since coming to Knox?
Teaching a course in my field "North African Literature." It is so wonderful to share what I have learned and to work with innovative students who are very bright and who ask thoughtful and pertinent questions.
My scholarly and teaching interests include the twentieth century French novel, Francophone North African literature and critical theory, literature and films by writers and filmmakers of North Africa (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), postcolonial Algeria, cultural identity and daspora, literature and cinema of immigration in France, and Algerian women writers. My thesis focused on three women writers (Maïssa Bey, Malika Mokeddem and Leïla Marouane) My dissertation studied fictional narratives by women who have emerged in the Algerian context of the 1980s and 1990s and who struggle against the violence and patriarchy inherent in traditional Algerian society.
If you weren't a professor...
I really can't see myself doing something other than teaching. I have been a teacher for 30 years now. I began my teaching career in my native Algeria in 1979/1980, where I received a teaching certificate and a B.A. in teaching French as a second language and taught at the junior high and high school levels. I left Algeria in 1997 and came to the United States (Iowa). The first place I visited when I arrived in The United States was the University of Iowa. I came with no word in English and I didn't know how I could be enrolled in graduate studies with this language gap. But I was so determined to keep my career here in the United States. My strong motivation and determination made my dreams come true. I entered the University in 1998 and completed the M.A. in French literature in 2001. At the University of Iowa, I served as a teaching assistant in French and I spent one year (2001-2002) as a visiting instructor at Illinois College. Now I can say that the combination of my experiences studying and teaching the methodologies of second language learning in Algeria and in the United States has given me a deep understanding of the commonalities of the educational needs and goals of students as well as the differences between these two cultures, and has attuned me to respond with sensitivity to the needs of individual students and diverse student groups. If I weren't a Professor, I would be working in a similar environment surrounded by people with whom I can share my experience and help them learn principles they can use in their lives.
What is your favorite thing about Galesburg?
The train that takes you to Chicago!
What do you do when you are not teaching?
I haven't had time to do much since I was always "dissertating." When I am not busy I really enjoy cooking, going to the gym or for a walk, reading, watching movies, listening to music and chatting with friends and family via the internet.