Francoise Ugochukwu

Research Fellow

Françoise Ugochukwu joined the DPP team after nine years in the Department of Languages, Open University and more than forty years of lecturing in Higher Education in Nigeria, France and the UK. Her qualifications, professional career path and area of expertise have placed her at the crossroads between language studies, literature, translation, anthropology and cinema. Habilitée à diriger des recherches, a Chartered Linguist and a French Professor of Comparative Literature (CNU Section 10), she studied successively Classics and English before obtaining a Maîtrise in French Stylistics, and a PhD in French (oral) Literature from the University of Grenoble (France, 1974). She currently serves as an expert on the Never Forget Biafra Endowment Fund on memories from the war and is a team member, National Centre for Youth Literature, French National Library since 2012. Back in 1990, while a Professor at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, she was appointed by the Nigerian Universities Commission as a member of the national panel in charge of HE accreditation. Her pioneering work in the field and her longstanding contribution to the strengthening of cultural and educational ties between France and Nigeria awarded her the national distinction of Chevalier des Palmes Académiques in 1994.

A bilingual Africanist with special interest in Nigerian (Igbo) and Intercultural Studies, Françoise has been an external collaborator to the Paris CNRS-LLACAN research laboratory since 1993 and is currently representing Igbo on the ELLAF research project, building an online encyclopaedia of literatures in African languages. A long-standing member of the prestigious Africanist Society, Paris, she served on its Council 2008-2012 and is currently on the Council of the French Association for the study of African literatures (APELA). A Senior Research Fellow, IFRA (Nigeria), with active links with INALCO (Paris) and a regular reviewer for several European and American journals, she has published extensively in France, Belgium, Britain, Italy, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and several African Countries. Recent publications include Biafra la déchirure (Paris, L'Harmattan 2009), Torn Apart: the Nigerian Civil War and its Impact (London, Adonis & Abbey 2010), Le pays igbo du Nigeria (Paris, L'Harmattan 2010), Nollywood on the Move, Nigeria on Display (Trier, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag 2013) and the first French translation of the first Igbo novel (Paris, Karthala 2010).

Nigerian Film Studies: Françoise’s area of expertise focuses on the reception, cultural and linguistic impact of Nollywood in Europe. Her latest book publication, Nollywood on the Move, Nigeria on Display (2013), offers new insights into recent trends of this new cinema and highlights the eminently didactic character of this production rightly described as ‘edutainment’, its links with Nigerian literature and contemporary politics and its moral stance.

Ethnolinguistics: Apart from numerous book chapters and articles on Igbo Studies, Françoise was called upon to head the 1996 Igbo-French dictionary project that led to the publication of the Dictionnaire igbo-francais suivi d'un index francais-igbo, Paris, Karthala 2004. This bilingual dictionary, commissioned by the French Government in support of its cultural relations with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and sponsored by the Ibadan-based French Institute for Africa, is the very first Igbo-French dictionary based on standard Igbo. Its 3985 Igbo entries cover all areas of speech including specialised vocabulary of metalanguage, health and science.

Oral Literature: After a PhD on Gift and givers in French folktales that already included the collection, translation and study of some twenty Nigerian folktales, Françoise embarked on twenty-five years of fieldwork in Eastern Nigeria, collecting some hundred Nigerian live folktales from informants before translating them into French and studying them. This led to the publication of two volumes in Karthala, Paris, 1992 and 2006, the first Igbo folktales published in French. She has also published on proverbs and Onomastics.

Comparative Literature: Her publications in that field include edited books, book chapters and journal articles on area studies, popular culture, children's literature, Francophone, Anglophone and Igbophone literature.

Françoise lectured in Higher Education in Nigeria, France and the UK for more than forty years and served as an examiner for both the Open University and the Chartered Institute of Linguists. Before joining the DPP team, she held a post in the central team, Department of Languages (Faculty of Education), 2005-2014. Over the years, she has been acting as an adviser to several Masters and PhD students based in the UK, France and Italy and working in African Studies. She is an experienced PhD external examiner on Nollywood Studies & Nigerian literature (UK, Ireland & France), an external assessor (University of Nigeria, Nsukka) and an international consultant in Igbo and Nollywood Studies. 

Dr Francoise Ugochukwu

Development Policy and Practice
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes
United Kingdom