Robert Decker is a Postgraduate Research Associate whose work focuses on Francophone and Anglophone Caribbean literature and thought. He joined the department in 2014 as a graduate student and defended his dissertation in December of 2019. Before coming to Princeton, he earned a BA and an MA in French literature at the University of Kansas.
His primary research interests center on the intersection of 19th and 20th century prose narratives of the Caribbean, historiography, and spatial and ecocritical thought. His current monograph project, entitled Topographies of Time: The Spatiohistorical Imagination in Caribbean Narrative traces the evolution of concepts of history and geography in both historical and fictional accounts of the Caribbean past. Caribbean. Spatiotemporal thought plays a fundamental role in the politics, aesthetics, and epistemological premises of Caribbean letters and manifests in the latent tension between universality and particularity, concepts that motivate and orient this literature from before the rise of Negritude in the 1930s up to the present day. Close attention to this conceptual history demonstrates that the dominant understanding of Antillean literary history in the twentieth century, which can be summarized as a shift from the anticolonial concept of Negritude to that of the postcolonial concept of créolité, obfuscates a more intricate and dynamic history, one that his research works to illuminate.
- “Négritude’s Problem with History: The Case of Léonard Sainville.” Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism 23.2 (July 2019): 57–71.
- “Frères Volcans de Vincent Placoly : “L’Histoire hallucinante” de la révolution de 1848 aux Antilles.” Nouvelles Etudes francophones 34.2 (Forthcoming).
- “Speculation and Gender Exploitation in Balzac’s Scènes de la vie de Province.” French Forum 39.2-3 (2014): 65-79.
- Haiti: History, Literature, and Arts of the First Black Republic, Princeton University (2019)
- Intermediate/Advanced French, Princeton University (2017)
- Second-Semester French, University of Kansas (2012)
- First-Semester French, University of Kansas, Princeton University (2011, 2013, 2015)
- English Grammar, University of Franche-Comté (2012)
- English Oral Expression and Comprehension, University of Franche-Comté (2013)
- English Written Expression and Comprehension, University of Franche-Comté (2013)