Jennifer Bajorek

Visiting Associate Professor of French Studies

Headshot of Jennifer Bajorek

Contact & Office Hours

Spring 2020
Monday, 1:15–2:15 p.m.
Wednesday, 9:30–10:30 a.m.
Or by appointment.

Wright Hall 201



Jennifer Bajorek is a visiting associate professor of French studies at Smith College (2019–20) and associate professor of comparative literature and visual studies at Hampshire College. Since 2013, she has also been a research associate in the faculty of art, design and architecture at the University of Johannesburg. In Spring 2019, she was in residence as a fellow at the Clark Art Institute, in Williamstown, MA, where she carried out research on representations of migrants and migration in contemporary France.

Her courses explore topics and questions in the interdisciplinary humanities, with a focus on French and Francophone literature and visual studies. Recent courses have asked what poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Claudia Rankine have to say to Marx, how stupidity gains currency in contemporary art, and why writers are so obsessed with photography. At Smith, she is teaching courses in French studies, on French language and French and Francophone culture (FRN 220 High Intermediate French, FRN 252 Cities of Light: Urban Space in Francophone Cinema), and in the program in world literatures (Stupidity: Irony and Difference, in the spring of 2020).

Bajorek’s publications on literature and its theories have included a book on irony in Baudelaire, Marx and Benjamin, Counterfeit Capital (Stanford, 2009); essays on lyric poetry and on Marxist and postcolonial theory; as well as translations of aesthetic, media and literary theory by Jacques Derrida, Bernard Stiegler, Sarah Kofman and Jean Paulhan. Her research on photography represents over a decade of work in West African collections, with a geographic and cultural focus on Francophone West Africa (especially Senegal and Benin) and collaborations with photographers and museums in multiple cities and countries in the region. Her research on contemporary art has taken the form of scholarly articles, exhibition reviews, catalog essays and art writing for a general public, on topics including art and conflict, “the NGO aesthetic,” and biennial culture in the Global South. In 2010–11, she was lead curator of C.A.O.S. (Contemporary Africa on Screen) at the South London Gallery. Her latest book, Unfixed: Photography and Decolonial Imagination in West Africa, is forthcoming in 2020, from Duke University Press.