Marie-Magdeleine Chirol Hill

Hazel Cooper-Jordan Chair in Arts and Humanities

Program Advisor of French Cultural Studies
Professor of French

Department of Modern Languages and Literatures


Academic Focus

  • 19th through 21st century French/Francophone Literature
  • Film studies (French & African cinema)
  • Motif of ruins

Professor Marie-Magdeleine Chirol received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Maryland at College Park. She enjoys teaching language, literature and film courses. Chirol has taught classes ranging from elementary language to stylistics, from business French to cinema, and from introductory literature to literary seminars. Her primary research interests are the study of the artistic and literary motif of ruins in 19th through 21st century literature as well as African cinema. Secondarily, Chirol is also interested in foreign language teaching methodology and computer-assisted instruction.

Every fall, during National French Week, she brings a Paris-based theatre company to Whittier College (past performances include Beckett's La dernière bande, Sartre's Huis Clos, and Ionesco's La Leçon). These annual French events have become a tradition not only at Whittier College, but also in the French-speaking community of the greater Los Angeles area.

Chirol plays an active role in the Southern California chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French and she is currently Vice President of Communication.

Chirol was named Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms) by the Cultural Ministry of France in 2012 and was appointed the Hazel Cooper-Jordan Chair in Arts and Humanities in 2013. Nominated by students, she received the Whittier College Presidential Award for inspiring Faculty-Student Collaborations on Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity in 2015.


Gaston Kaboré, Conteur et visionnaire du cin`ma africain. Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 2011.

L'imaginaire de la ruine dans A la Recherche du temps perdu de Marcel Proust. Birmingham, AL: Summa Publications, Inc., 2001.

Ruins and Imaginary Ruin in Twentieth Century Novels: Marcel Proust, Alejo Carpentier, Camilo José Cela, Marguerite Duras, Hubert Nyssen, Raymond Jean. [French text] Diss. U of Maryland, 1991. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1991. 9133048. Published Dissertation.

Author of more than fifteen refereed articles and chapters including:

"Figures de style cinématographiques dans Moi et mon blanc de Pierre Yaméogo," Figuration et mémoire dans les cinémas africains. Ed. Jean Ouédraogo. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2010. 89-104.

"Ruin and renewal in Idrissa Ouédraogo's Yaaba" Renewal in African Cinema: genre and aesthetics Trans. Blandine Stefanson. Ed. Blandine Stefanson. Spec. issue of Journal of African Cinema, 1.2 (2009): 159-71.

"Histoires de ruines: Calomnies de Linda Lê." French Forum, 29.2 (2004): 91-105.

"Tableau Ferraille ou le mirage de la modernité: Etude d'un film de Moussa Sene Absa." Cinmas africains, une oasis dans le désert? Ed. Samuel Lelièvre. Spec. issue of CinémAction 106 (2003): 101-05.

"The Missing Narrative in Wend Kuuni (Time and Space)," African Cinema: Post-Colonial and Feminist Readings. Ed. Kenneth W. Harrow. Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1999.

"Creating a TA Handbook on Logistics and Administrative Duties: Advantages for TAs and Language Program Coordinators," The Canadian Modern Language Review / La Revue canadienne des langues vivantes 56.2 (1999): 355-62.