Current Center Directors

Gilles Bousquet


Gilles Bousquet is currently Associate Chair of the French and Italian Department at UW-Madison as well as Senior Advisor to the President of the UW System for International Economic Development.  In January 2002, Bousquet became Dean of International Studies at UW-Madison. Years later, as the university sought to broaden its worldwide reach, Bousquet was appointed Vice Provost for Globalization. During his time at UW, he has also served as Director of the International Institute, Director of the European Studies Program, Special Assistant to the Chancellor for International Engagement, and the Pickard-Bascom Professor of French.  Bousquet currently teaches in the French and Italian Department at UW-Madison, and he specializes in Globalization and Higher Education; European social, cultural and institutional issues; French for business and economics; and 19th and 20th century French cultural studies.

Katrina Forest


Katrina Forest is a faculty member in the UW Department of Bacteriology, and affiliated with the Chemical Biology and Biophysics PhD programs. Forest’s research interests are in the structural biology of microbial proteins. She has published 80 scientific articles and is most well-known for explaining the structural bases of pilus retraction and of red light photoperception in bacteria. Dr. Forest has a long-standing collaboration with the lab of Romé Voulhoux at the CNRS in Marseille. She was a Resident of IMéRA (Institut D’Études Avancées), Aix Marseille Université in 2015. From 2019-2021, Katrina holds an Einstein Visiting Fellow appointment at the Technische Universität Berlin.


Mary Noles

Credentials: Project Manager and Strategist


Mary Noles is the Accountant II in the Department of French and Italian, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A staff member since 2003, she appreciates the fast-paced, continually evolving environment that the university provides. She is responsible for developing and maintaining financial data and providing fiscal management of grant, state, gift, and foundation supported accounts within the Department of French and Italian, including the financial data for the Center of Interdisciplinary French Studies. As Project Manager and Strategist for the CIFS, Mary oversees the annual applications for special project grants and annual operations funding from the French Embassy, maintaining UW – Madison’s status as one of the 20 French Centers of Excellence in the nation. Mary graduated from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Math and took Master’s coursework in Education at the University of Minnesota.

Director Emeritus

Aliko Songolo

Credentials: Professor Emeritus

Aliko Songolo’s research and teaching interests focus on francophone literatures of Africa and the Caribbean, and on francophone cinemas of Africa and Québec. He has published a monograph (Aimé Césaire: une poétique de la découverte, 1985), two co-edited volumes (Twenty-five Years After Dakar and Fourah Bay: The Growth of African Literature, 1998 and Atlantic Cross-Currents/Transatlantiques, 2001), and was Associate Editor of the highly acclaimed five-volume New Encyclopedia of Africa (2008). He has also edited special issues of two eminent journals in his field, French Review (1982) and Présence Francophone (2003), and published numerous articles. His current research projects investigate the question of national cinema in Québec and Francophone Africa, and postcoloniality in the wake of the Négritude movement. He was recently named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry of National Education.  At UW-Madison, Aliko Songolo has served as Chair of African Languages and Literature (now African Cultural Studies), and as Chair of the Department of French & Italian.  In addition, he has directed the African Studies Program at UW-Madison, and was Associate Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the University of California-Irvine before moving to Wisconsin. He is currently Co-Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary French Studies and Senior Adviser to the Vice-Provost for Globalization.  He chaired the Modern Language Association’s African Literature Division (2002), and its Division of Francophone Literatures and Cultures (2009), and was twice President of the African Literature Association.