Dr William Jennings

Convenor & Graduate Student Adviser, Senior Lecturer (French)

Qualifications: BSc, MA, PhD Auckland

School of Arts



French; History; Linguistics

Creole linguistics; French-New Zealand contacts; French literature; 17th and 18th century French history; early French Atlantic exploration.

Research Interests

William Jennings has research interests in two strands: French colonial history and literary innovation. The first strand focuses on creole languages, especially the early interactions between Native Americans, Europeans and Africans in the French Caribbean. The interest extends to the nineteenth-century Pacific, from where French missionaries sent home detailed descriptions of people and places in New Zealand in the 1830s, 40s and 50s. The second strand involves the work of Nobel laureate Andre Gide (1869-1951) and of Amélie Nothomb (b. 1967), both literary innovators concerned with identity.

Recent Publications

  • Jennings, W. J. (2015). Madame de Maintenon and the Green Hell. In New Zealand Interuniversity French Seminar. Conference held at University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

  • Jennings, W., & Pfander, S. (2015). French Guianese Creole: Its emergence from contact. Journal of Language Contact, 8(1), 36-69. doi:10.1163/19552629-00801003

  • Jennings, W. J. (2014). The first Marist missionaries and French colonial policy in the pacific (1836-42). In J. Zizek, & K. Carpenter (Eds.), French History and Civilization: Papers from the George Rude Seminar Vol. 5 (pp. 112-122). Conference held at Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from

  • Jennings, W. (2013). Gonneville's Terra Australis: too good to be true?. Australian Journal of French Studies, 50(1), 75-86. doi:10.3828/ajfs.2013.5 Open Access version: hdl:10289/7688

View all research publications by William Jennings

Papers Taught

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Jennings, Dr William 9333 wjen I.3.03D French - INTL Programme