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Jean-Jacques ThomasJean-Jacques Thomas

Distinguished Professor, Melodia E. Jones Chair
Department of Romance Languages and Literature
Comparative Literature

Associate Director of Canadian Studies for Quebec Affairs and Programs

Jean-Jacques Thomas is a professor in both the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures as well as the Department of Comparative Literature. He is also the holder of the UB Foundation’s prestigious Melodia E. Jones Chair. Upon his arrival to UB, he was also chosen to be the Associate Director of Canadian Studies for Quebec Affairs and Programs. From 2004-2008, he was the Director of Canadian Studies at Duke University. He was an elected  member of the Executive Board of the ACSUS (2009-2014) and in 2012 was selected as  the Chief Officer for International Fundraising. From 1987-1989 he was a visiting professor in the semiotics Ph.D program at UQAM. While at Duke, he set up an exchange program between Duke and the University of Montreal, and at UB he drafted the documents which served as a base for the exchange signed in the spring of 2010 between UB and UQAM. Also while at Duke, and in partnership with UNC- Chapel Hill, he created the Quebec Cinema Week, a one-week Quebec film festival with the participation of a Quebec film director, and headed the event for 3 years (2006-2008).  In 2013 he created the Big Buffalo Quebec Film Festival that takes place each Spring semester on the UB campus with other Buffalo colleges or universities as partner. The same year, Jean-Jacques Thomas was named a Distinguished Professor at UB in recognition of his exceptional work and service

He has written about Quebec literature and film, in particular on Gaston Miron, Dany Laferrière, Joël Des Rosiers and Denis Chouinard. His current research looks at « Plural Quebec » and the North-South connections with the Caribbean as well as on the development of digital entertainment industries and the use they make of Quebec’s history and traditional fictions.

Recent publications on Quebec and North-South connections:

Neil GablenzNeil Gablenz

Research Assistant for Quebec Studies

Neil Gablenz is a doctoral candidate in French Literature and Teaching Assistant of French at the University at Buffalo. A native of St. Cloud, Minnesota, he holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Manitoba (2015) as well as an MA from The University of Iowa (2018). While still an undergraduate student, he was asked to co-organize the Department of French, Spanish and Italian Centenary Colloquium alongside other graduate students under the direction of Dr. Dominique Laporte. He was also an invited speaker and later co-edited with Dr. Laporte the acts of the colloquium featured in the Bulletin du département/FSI Department Bulletin, a bilingual French-English publication. He was also instrumental in reviving the university’s French Club in which he served as its chief recruiting officer, vice-president, and president consecutively from 2012-2015. In 2015, he was invited to Canada’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences/Congrès des sciences humaines, where he discussed the roles of romans-feuilletons in Franco-Canado-American newspapers published and distributed in the American Midwest from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. At The University of Iowa, he was frequently invited to speak at the annual French & Italian forum. He also represented his fellow graduate candidates in the Graduate Student Senate, sitting on both the Travel Funds and Social & Service committees. His research interests are French Literature of the New World, the question of Québécois identity, and the question of Canadian Binationalism.