Rashana Lydner

Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences

Rashana Vikara Lydner (she/her) holds a Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies with a Designated Emphasis in African and African American Studies (African Diaspora Studies) from the University of California Davis. As a qualitative and quantitative researcher, her research mainly focuses on a transnational approach to the study of Black Popular Culture in the Caribbean (Francophone/Anglophone) at the intersections of language, identity, and power. She examines race, gender, sexuality, discourses on popular culture (Twitter, YouTube, TikTok), and the co-naturalization of race and creole languages.

Her dissertation research explored identity formation in the Francophone Caribbean through the lens of popular culture. In the dissertation, she argues that dancehall music and culture have become an instrument of radical racial, gender, sexual, and linguistic politics in the French Department of Guiana (La Guyane). Rather than looking to France, Guyanais dancehall audiences and performers find an influential source of identification in a trans-Caribbean culture. This phenomenon complicates our understanding of Francophone identity – the Guyanais communities identify with a regional Black Caribbean identity even as they exist in the Francophone world. Hence, dancehall acts as a signifier of mutual solidarity and belonging amongst Black people in the Caribbean. 

Rashana is currently the Rising Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Black France: Race and the Global Francophone Diaspora here in the Department of French at the University of Virginia.

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