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Dr. Nathan Rabalais

Fellow of the Center for Louisiana Studies, 2020-2025

Nathan Rabalais was born in Eunice, Louisiana and grew up in Lafayette. He received a bachelor’s degree in music theory/Composition as well as Guitar Performance from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2007 and pursued graduate studies in musicology at the University of Strasbourg, France. Having become increasingly interested in French and the francophone culture of his native Louisiana, he entered the master’s program in French at UL Lafayette and graduated in 2011. In 2015, he completed a cotutelle (joint-supervised) dissertation on the oral tradition of French and Creole Louisiana, receiving a Ph.D. from Tulane University and a Doctorat en lettres et langues from the Université de Poitiers in France.

After serving five years as Assistant Professor at William & Mary in Virginia, Nathan arrives in August 2020 as the French Louisiana specialist in the Department of Modern Languages at UL Lafayette. His research focuses primarily on the folklore, literature, and popular culture of francophone North America, particularly Louisiana and Acadian communities of maritime Canada. His most recent work in articles and his documentary Finding Cajun (2019) focuses on the intersection of language and identity.

Selected works:

Documentary film
Finding Cajun (2019) - Extended trailer
Feature documentary on the evolution of Cajun identity in Louisiana.

Le Hantage: un ouvrage de souvenance (original poetry)
Shreveport: Éditions Tintamarre, 2018

Folklore Figures of French and Creole Louisiana (forthcoming 2021 with LSU Press)

Selected articles
“La Fête-Dieu du Vermilion en Louisiane”
Rabaska, 17 (2019)

“Représentations de Jean-le-Sot dans le contexte francophone”
Port Acadie, 31 (2018)

“Roquelaure: A New Perspective on Louisiana Folklore’s Master Thief”
Louisiana Folklore Miscellany 27 (2017): 29-52.

“Acadie(s) divergente(s): langue, identité et poésie en Louisiane et au Canada maritime”
Sites, Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, 21:4 (2017): 431-439.

“Le Grand réveil acadien: une nouvelle mise en relief de la présence acadienne en Louisiane”
Rabaska, 14 (2016): 7-22.

“Acadies parallèles”, Ancrages, 21 (2019), special issue Acadie24

La littérature comme ancrage identitaire, Université Laval (octobre 2018)
Interview with Télé-Louisiane

Awards, Grants, and fellowships

  • Richard Guidry Cajun and Creole Language Fund for Finding Cajun 2019
  • Director's Award at Cinema on the Bayou for Finding Cajun 2019
  • NEH Fellowship (12 months) – monograph book project 2018
  • Summer faculty research grant (William & Mary) 2016 and 2017
  • Chateaubriand-Fulbright Fellowship (8-month award), Université de Poitiers 2014-2015
  • Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship, Strasbourg, France 2007-08
  • Theodore Presser Award, monetary award for excellence in music studies 2007
  • Outstanding Graduate, College of the Arts, University of Louisiana at Lafayette 2007