French professor Mary Rice-DeFosse pursues an interdisciplinary approach


Mary Rice-DeFosse, professor of French, lives and works in a state in which 40 percent of the residents claim French heritage. It’s no coincidence, then, that Franco-American Maine literature and culture are an important part of her work.

“My students have been doing oral histories in French with local residents for more than 10 years, especially in courses like ‘Oral French’ and ‘French in Maine,’ ” Rice-DeFosse says. Her students have also engaged in research and service-learning connected with Maine Francophones.

Rice-DeFosse enjoys her role as a mentor. This year she celebrated the achievement of Christine Quinan ’00, whose essay about French feminist Simone DeBeauvoir, written under Rice-DeFosse’s direction, garnered the 2000 Undergraduate Essay Award from the journal Women in French Studies. Published by Women in French — an organization affiliated with the Modern Language Association — the journal recently re-appointed Rice-DeFosse as a member of its expanded editorial board.