Harry Gamble

Harry Gamble

Associate Professor; Chair of French and Francophone Studies

Department/Affiliation: French and Francophone Studies, Global and International Studies
Phone: 330-263-2400
Office Address: 206 Kauke


  • B.A., French, Wake Forest University, 1989
  • M.A., French Studies, New York University 1996
  • Ph.D., French Studies, New York University 2002

Courses Taught

  • Contemporary France
  • Literature and Culture of Francophone Africa
  • France and North Africa
  • Journeys in the French-Speaking Caribbean
  • Introduction to Francophone Texts
  • Intermediate French
  • Beginning French

Other Experience and Awards

  • Peace Corps volunteer, Mali, West Africa, 1992-1994
  • Pensionnaire étranger, École Normale Supérieure (Paris), 1997
  • Chateaubriand Fellowship (awarded by the French government), 1998-1999
  • Grant from the Henry Luce Fund for Distinguished Scholarship, Fall 2008
  • Associate Dean for the Class of 2013
  • Associate Dean for Educational Planning and Advising, 2010-2011
  • Campus Coordinator, Peace Corps Prep Program, 2014-present

Select Publications

  • "The National Revolution in French West Africa: Dakar-Jeunes and the Shaping of African Opinion," International Journal of Francophone Studies 10 (1-2) (2007): 85-103.
  • "Peasants of the Empire: Rural Schools and the Colonial Imaginary in 1930s French West Africa," Cahiers d'études africaines 3, n. 195 (2009): 775-804.
  • "La Crise de l'enseignement en Afrique occidentale française, 1944-1950." Histoire de l'éducation 128 (October-December 2010): 129-162.

Research Interests

My research explores the history of France's colonial empire, as well as postcolonial relations between France and its former colonies. Although my primary geographical focus is on sub-Saharan Africa, my work also extends to the Maghreb and to the French-speaking Caribbean. I also maintain an active scholarly interest in contemporary France, with a particular focus on immigrant histories and identities, and their place within the French nation.

I have recently finished a book manuscript on the history of French West Africa between 1900 and 1950. My study investigates a series of major public controversies over the shape and future of this colonial federation. I have found schools to provide a fascinating window onto the complexity of colonial encounters. Although they were designed to help consolidate French rule, colonial schools repeatedly became important flashpoints in broader struggles over the colonial order. My book project examines the divergent and changing ways in which African elites and French officials understood education and its purpose in French West Africa.

I am currently turning my attention to a new project that focuses on contests surrounding decolonization in several different locations. This project will explore the histories of several prominent universities, founded in different parts of France's overseas empire. After being fully integrated into the French university system, each of these universities went on to experience a period of crisis and reinvention during the eras of decolonization and nation-building. My project will investigate the deep legacies of French university structures overseas, along with growing struggles to rethink and remake these institutions to fit new postcolonial contexts. This project will also reach forward, to assess how these universities have changed in response to more recent challenges, stemming from such things as global inequalities, contested nation-states, and globalization.