|Annie Jouan-Westlund obtained her Licence in English Literature and Maîtrise in American Civilization at the Université de Nantes, France. Her "détour américain" started in 1989 when she came to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to teach French and be a French Assistant at The French House. A couple of years later she became the Resident Director of the French House and earned an MA in French Literature and pursueda doctorate which she obtained with Distinction in 1997. Her research bears mostly on Twentieth century and Contemporary French Literature, specifically autobiography and self-writing. In her thesis entitled "Coming to self-consciousness through writing: Simone de Beauvoir and Serge Doubrovsky" she analyzes the narrative strategies used by the two authors in their autobiographical works. She compares the different ways in which Beauvoir and Doubrovsky have been able to accommodate their self-reflexive works to literary forms. Through an investigation of the shift between autobiography and autofiction, a more recent approach to writing the self, the thesis contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between life and the written word.
Annie Jouan-Westlund gave papers in a number of conferences in the United States and abroad including The Modern Language Association, The Midwest/MLA, The International Simone de Beauvoir Colloquium, the Twentieth Century French Studies International Conference, the French Literature Conference, the Purdue University Conference on Romance Languages, Twentieth Century Literature Conference, Women in French International Conference, Alliance Française (Detroit and Cleveland). She gave papers on Simone de Beauvoir and Serge Doubrovsky but also the works of Annie Ernaux, Théophile Gautier, Emile Zola, George Sand and contemporary French writer Andreï Makine.
She is currently working on the representation of America in French literature after 1945. Through the study of essays, travel accounts and novels by authors such as Simone de Beauvoir, Serge Doubrovsky, Jean Paul Sartre, Boris Vian, Philippe Labro, to name a few, she aims to show that the perception of America in France, largely influenced by the times, is constructed and conflicting.
When she does not teach, read or write, Annie Jouan-Westlund enjoys going to see movies and plays. She also has a passion for traveling, cooking and gardening.