Catherine Dhavernas photo

Catherine Dhavernas

Associate Professor

French Studies

Arts & Science

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(On sabbatical July 1 - December 31, 2023)

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Catherine Dhavernas is Associate Professor in the Department of French Studies and cross-appointed in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy.As a specialist in 20th century French literature and theory, her work on the past, memory and modern constructions of narrative identity led her to explore the limits of representation in relation to historical and individual trauma. Through this work, she began to study the reception and use of accounts of aging and dying in medicine which led to her current collaborations with physicians and residential aged care organizations in the area of the medical humanities and narrative medicine focusing on the use of narrative in the care of older persons and patients facing isolation.

Dhavernas is currently working on a number of collaborative projects with social science and medical researchers in Australia, the U.S. and the U.K., aged care facilities, hospice services and government organizations in Australia which engage students in field work to assess and address key issues of loneliness and isolation caused by COVID-19 across aged care facilities. She is also working on an interdisciplinary project in response to the ongoing Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety with the Queensland State Archives, Griffith University and the Kilkivan & District Community Care Assn Inc to set up community-owned, based and run social and care services for older residents in rural Queensland.

Dhavernas worked as a volunteer biographer at Karuna Hospice and St Vincent’s Care Service in Australia. She has been a volunteer in palliative and aged care since 2013.


  • FREN 325 - Littérature contemporaine
  • FREN 450 - Travaux pratiques: stylistique et traduction
  • FRST 290 / FREN 392 - Paris Through Literature, Painting, Cinema, and Photography




  • Who’s Afraid of Aging and Dying? Learning to Care and Prepare for the End of Our Lives, Routledge (in progress)


  • “The Biography Project: Combatting Long-Term Aged Care Resident Loneliness and Isolation – A Response to the Impact of COVID-19 on Older Persons” (in progress)
  • Pini, B., Dhavernas, C. and Gibson, M. 2019. “The Emotional Geographies of the ‘Livingdying’,” Emotion, Space and Society, 33 (2019): 1-7.
  •  “Re-thinking the Narrative in Narrative Medicine: The Example of Postwar French Literature,” Journal of Medical Humanities (2020): 1-12,
  • “Femmes écrivaines du Canada anglophone” (Canadian Anglophone women writers), Dictionnaire universel des femmes créatrices, 3 vols. (Paris: Éditions des Femmes, 2013).
  •  “Le Poids de l’intelligence ou la futilité du savoir chez Marguerite Duras,” Marguerite Duras et la pensée contemporaine (Göteberg: Göteberg Universitetsbibliotek Nyförvärv, 2008).
  • “Cinema and the Destruction of Text in the Work of Marguerite Duras,” In the Dark Room: Marguerite Duras and Cinema, Eds. Julie Beaulieu and Rosanna Maule (New York: Peter Lang, 2008).
  • “Angoisse de la fin de la rhétorique de l’humain chez Marguerite Duras,” La Rhétorique au féminin, ed. Annette Hayward (Québec: Nota Bene, 2006).
  • “The Aura in Photography and the Task of the Historian,” Actualities of Aura: Twelve Studies on Walter Benjamin, eds. Dag Petersson and Erik Steinskog (Häfta: Nordicom, 2005).