Justin Izzo

Assistant Professor of French

Brown University

Justin Izzo’s research explores the intersection between anthropological theory, literary criticism, and cinema studies. His first book project, Ethnographic Fiction: Anthropology and the Hybridity of Genre in the French Atlantic World (working title), investigates how ethnographers and novelists from West Africa, the Caribbean, and metropolitan France drew on both fiction and anthropological modes of representation in order to document and make sense of colonial and postcolonial encounters during the twentieth century. He is also working on a second project, which focuses on cinematic and literary narratives of globalization, utopia/dystopia, and modernity in post-millennial Francophone Africa. 

His current and forthcoming articles deal with documentary film in Africa (including the work of Jean Rouch and Jean-Marie Teno), the Caribbean novel and theories of translation, and ethnographic didacticism in the work of Malian anthropologist Amadou Hampâté Bâ. Justin is also a translator, and his translation of L’adieu au voyage, by Vincent Debaene (Columbia University), was published as Far Afield: French Anthropology between Science and Literature by the University of Chicago Press in 2014.

Justin’s courses are in the field of Francophone Studies. His teaching focuses primarily on Francophone Africa and the Caribbean, exploring how writers, theorists, and filmmakers approach the cultural politics of everyday life in their work. He regularly teaches with novels, documentary and fiction films, philosophy, as well as with anthropological and journalistic documents.