Catching up with...Romain Pasquer Brochard

Publication Date

Romain Pasquer Brochard has been a visiting assistant professor in French and Francophone Studies since fall 2022.

Roman Pasquer Brochard

Roman Pasquer Brochard in Jura, France, last summer.

Brochard grew up in Nantes, in the western part of France. He came to the U.S. in 2015 to pursue a Ph.D. at Cornell University.

“Arriving in the U.S. and Ithaca was a big transition for me," he said. "I had lived in Paris for five years, so adapting to a small college town was challenging. But I ended up loving Ithaca. It is such a beautiful and magical place. The nature and the views are gorgeous.”

Romain’s research focuses on the intergenerational transmission of trauma in the Caribbeans, with a focus on the impact of slavery today. “Although my research topic can be very disheartening, I am always amazed by how Caribbean writers and artists have found ways to transform the trauma of the past into a creative force. I think we still have a lot to learn from what Caribbean writers have been doing in the past 50 years. They really show how literary writers are often ahead of their times, inventing languages, and ideas we have yet to catch up with.”

Now, in Schenectady, Romain divides his time between campus, the bike trail where he runs regularly, and the cities and hikes available in the area. “Ever since I have been, I have really enjoyed exploring the cities around Schenectady, especially Troy, Saratoga and Hudson. There is so much history and architecture to discover around here!”

Catching up with...

Each week a faculty or staff member is profiled. Answering a series of short questions, the profiles are intended to be light, informative and conversational.

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FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING: I usually open my New York Times app and their audio app to check the new podcasts. I am a huge fan of “The Daily,” a 30-minute podcast on current political and social issues. As an international person, I really enjoy getting a better sense of what is shaping the country I live in. After eight years in the U.S., it’s amazing how much I am still learning!

GO-TO BREAKFAST: I always eat a light breakfast, fruit, and a coffee.

WHAT’S THE LAST GREAT BOOK YOU READ? "The Great Camouflage" by Suzanne Césaire. Although she is not as well-known as her husband, Aimé Césaire, the articles compiled in the book are amazing. They are thought-provoking, ahead of their times, and truly inspiring. I am amazed at how she blends poetry, politics and psychoanalysis.

BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED: One of my Ph.D. advisors always emphasized how crucial it is for a writer to slow down their argument, take the time to bring their readers to their main ideas, and use accessible language. It seems trivial, but it’s crazy how fast writers and students can jump between ideas and concepts. So now, whenever I write, I always think: Slow down! As a teacher, I am also now passing on this simple but effective advice to my students.

FAVORITE PLACE TO VISIT: I prefer to go to places I haven't been yet. But I am particularly fond of the Hudson Valley. I love the historical downtowns and the beautiful landscape. I was recently in Tarrytown, and the hikes and town were terrific. Hiking in the Catskills is also breathtaking!

WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING RIGHT NOW?: Abbott Elementary, about an elementary school in Philadelphia. I have also been going through the films made by Makoto Shinkai recently. I saw his film Children Who Chase Lost Voices, and I was amazed by the beauty of this film and the depth of the themes discussed.

ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD: Rock climbing, but I have a horrible fear of heights!

THREE DINNER PARTY GUESTS (living or deceased): I am currently teaching on the history of witchcraft, mysticism and hysteria. I would love to meet with some of the historical figures I teach. First, I think there is Tituba, the Caribbean woman who was accused of bringing witchcraft to Salem. Then there would be Teresa of Avila, a Spanish mystic whose writings have always amazed me and who was quite a formidable woman! Finally, it would have to be one of the hysteric women, thanks to whom Freud could discover the unconscious and invent psychoanalysis.

FIRST CONCERT: I honestly cannot remember! But in my late teens, I saw a French singer with my best friend. The concert was ok, but I can still remember the feeling of being out and about with this very special person!

LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU: I love hiking. Last summer, I was back in France, in a region called the Haut-Jura, where I went hiking with friends. At the time, I was also re-reading “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, which she wrote on the other side of Geneva Lake, so it was very inspiring. I have also discovered the Massachusetts coastline, and it is amazing! Especially Cape Cod, beyond the beauty of the place, it was astounding to see how it remained still wild. It is rare to see this kind of wild nature in France.