Office hours: Prof. Florence Ramond Jurney

“I have had my share of mentors, and I still seek them out.”

Florence Jurney

Connections. Links. Relationships. It seems like these themes are at the center of many things I do. I am a Caribbeanist by training and I have always found the women in the novels I read fascinating: they mother, they are mothered, and they are also seeking mothering. The connections they create impact several generations and go beyond family ties; they expand across genderlines and tell stories of imagined genealogies.

Outside of literature, we call this mentoring. I have had my share of mentors, and I still seek them out: from my own mother, a feminist in actions rather than words, to the professors who showed me the way, or even writers I interview and who give me ideas for my own books.

A few years ago, I became an American Fellow at the American Association of University Women: it was humbling to see my name added to this list of exceptional women who had already cleared the way and who believed that my ideas could make a difference. So, in turn, I mentor. Why? Because I never know when it makes a difference, but I am convinced that it does. I listen to my students’ dreams, imagining where they can lead; I keep in touch with alums and hear their life stories. I love it because their lives are so full of possibilities. They always teach me something. From my office in McKnight Hall, I encourage them to embrace uncharted territories and become, like I did many years before, a citizen of the world.

A native of France, Prof. Jurney received a Licence, a Maitrise, and a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies at the Universite de la Sorbonne (Paris IV) and holds a doctorate in Romance Languages from the University of Oregon. Her scholarly interests include Gender Studies, Post-Colonial and Cultural Studies, and Francophone Studies. She specializes in the study of exile and migration in the Caribbean.