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David A. Powell

Professor Emeritus of Romance Languages and Literatures


PHD, 1985, University of Pennsylvania; MA, 1978, Pennsylvania State Univ; BA, 1973, West Virginia University


Dr. Powell completed a bachelor's degree in French and earned teacher certification. He taught English in a French junior high school for two years. Upon his return to the United States, he began his graduate work; after earning an MA in French Literature, he taught for one year at the Université de Strasbourg and for two years at the Université de Paris X (Nanterre). He completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania in 1985.

Powell's doctoral dissertation was on the 19th-century French author George Sand. He quickly rose to become a member of the Editorial Board and then co-president of the American George Sand society (the George Sand Association), then president, then vice-president, then webmaster. He has also been the co-editor of George Sand Studies, the annual journal of the GSA. His George Sand, a volume in the Twayne World Author Series, was published in 1990; 'While the Music Lasts': The Representation of Music in the Works of George Sand (Bucknell University Press),was published in 2001. His articles on Sand have appeared in various journals; he has also published on Michel Tremblay, Laure Conan, and Paul Verlaine, and has for over ten years been publishing studies applying queer theory to French and French-Canadian literature.  He has presented and directed conferences in both the US and France and has participated in Sand conferences in the US, Canada, France, Hungry, Ireland, and Italy.

Diverting radically from his professional training, Powell has become deeply involved in queer theory. He spearheaded and saw to successful completion the formation of the LGBT Studies Program at Hofstra University. He taught the first introductory course followed by another course on "Gender and Dance" and another on "French Gay Film." He has just designed another course for LGBTQ Studies: “Drag: RuPaul and Beyond,” to be offered for the first time in Fall 201. Powell has also directed two symposia: "What Does Gay Mean Today? Labels, Meaning, and Self-Identification at the Start of the New Millennium" (October 2006); Queer Exoticism" (October 2007); "Queer Iconography" (October 2008); “The Meaning of Sexual Identity in the 21st Century” (2012); he also was advisor to the symposium “Foucault 2014: Beyond Sexuality” (2014). Information on the program, scholarships, and symposia can be found at www.hofstra.edu/lgbt.

Teaching Interests

19th-century French literature
Québécois culture and literature
LGBTQ Studies

Research Interests

Music in literature
Queer theory applied to literature
19th-century narrative and poetry
George Sand

Recent Courses Taught

Course Title Level
LGBT 180F (IS) GAY SHORT STORIES Undergraduate
LGBT 180M (IS) HOW GAY IS THAT? Undergraduate
Photo of David Powell

Calkins Hall 327
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