Allison Korinek

Allison Korinek

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Modeling Interdisciplinary Inquiry in the Humanities (2020-2022)

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Allison Korinek is a Mellon fellow in the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis. A historian of Modern France and its empire, she specializes in questions of translation, cross-cultural communication, and colonial governance.

Allison’s research and teaching interests lie in Modern European history, colonial studies, francophone cultures & societies, the politics of linguistic knowledge, and the history of travel. At WashU, she is teaching a first-year seminar on language, nationhood, and national belonging; in the spring she will offer “Race, Rights, and Humanity in European History.”

Her first book manuscript examines how translation practices transformed colonial governance in nineteenth-century French Algeria. It retells the conquest of Algeria through the lens of a social history of translation, chronicling the evolution of governing strategies from a minimalist military occupation run principally on oral interpretation to a bulky, civilian-led bureaucracy premised upon careful record keeping. Through a conceptual framework that unites study of bureaucratic protocols, a social history of translators, and attention to communicative practices, the book traces the political ramifications and the unfulfilled promises of colonial translation.

Allison’s work has been supported by grants from organizations including the Social Science Research Council, the Fulbright Commission, the Société des Professeurs Français et Francophones d’Amérique, the Camargo Foundation, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She received her PhD from the Joint Program in French Studies and History at NYU.