Pim Higginson

Professor of French

Photo: Pim Higginson
Email:  fhigginson@unm.edu
Curriculum vitae
Office:  349B
Hours:  T Th 2-3:30, & by appointment

Research Area/s:



Pim Higginson works on literatures and cultures from France, the United States, and Francophone Africa. His first book, The Noir Atlantic: Chester Himes and the Birth of the Francophone African Crime Novel (Liverpool University Press, 2011) explored the influence of African American author Chester Himes (1909-1984) on African authors writing crime fiction in the 1980s and 1990s. 

His 2017 Scoring Race: Jazz, Fiction, and Francophone Africa (Boydell and Brewer) is a critical study of jazz’s reception in France and Francophone Africa. It looks at how early French discourses on jazz inspired and shaped subsequent Francophone African filmmakers and novelists’ own deployments of this potentially emancipatory American musical aesthetic. As such, Scoring Race continues Pim Higginson’s engagement with comparative Black Atlantic studies. 

Following his lifelong interest in foodways (as an avid cook and foodie), Pim Higginson is currently researching representations of food and drink in the Francophone novel. He is also turning his attention to an underappreciated region of Francophonie, the South Pacific.


Educational History:

1997, Ph.D in Comparative Literature, UC Berkeley.
(Dissertation: Disenchanting Race. Chair: Avital Ronell)
University of California at Berkeley in Comparative Literature. December 1990
Contra Costa College, CA. Culinary Arts Program. 1986-7.
Berklee College of Music. 1982-3

Research Interests:

  • Global French and Francophone cultures and literatures
  • African American Literatures and Cultures
  • Music (Jazz)
  • Black Atlantic
  • Postcolonial
  • Foodways
  • Trans-Pacific Studies (New Caledonia, Tahiti, Vanuatu)

Selected Publications:

Recent Articles:
  • "Drinking Scenes: Alcohol in the Francophone African Novel." Routledge Handbook of African Literature, Moradewun Adejunmobi and Carli Coetzee, editors. Forthcoming
  • “What Is and Where is Francophone African Popular Fiction?” in Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry. Tsitsi Jaji and Lily Saint, eds. (4:2), (2017): 207-221.
  • “‘Chester Himes’ and the Frivolous Literary,” in AR3 Magazine (2:4), (2016): 40-42.
  • "Armed and Dangerous: The 'Le Poulpe Phenomenon' in Dying for MoreStudies in Serial Crime Fiction. Jean Anderson, Carolina Miranda, Barbara Pezzotti, eds. Palgrave. 2015.
  • “Popular Perceptions: Voice and Genre in Félix Couchoro’s Crime Fiction” Journal of Postcolonial Writing (49:1), (2013): 87-99.
  • “Into the Jungle: Jazz, Writing, and Francophone African Transnationalism” Yale French Studies (120), (2011): 88-99.

Teaching Interests:

Over his 20 years as a professor, Pim has taught seminars on 20th and 21st century French and Francophone literatures and cultures, music and race, neo-orientalism in recent French writing, the Francophone African novel, the African crime novel, Francophone African film, the Caribbean novel, representations of education in the Anglophone and Francophone and African novel, French film noir, and numerous other topics.