Associate Professor of French
Department of French and Italian.
My interest in French culture and literature stems from a study abroad experience I had as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. Tired of classes and school in general, I went on the only study abroad program available to engineers, which happened to be in Compiègne, France. I returned to Penn to finish dual degrees in French (which I loved) and engineering (practical). Having experienced the excitement of living in a different culture, I joined the Peace Corps upon graduation, and the next two years found me in Fiji, teaching math and science and living through a military coup. In the end, I opted for what I loved and decided to go to grad school to learn more. My years in France and Fiji forced me to think about interactions between different ethnic groups and cultures, and cultural interaction between Christians and Muslims in the Middle Ages became the topic of my dissertation.
Here at Vanderbilt I am continuing my research on the French Middle Ages, looking at the development of racial consciousness in medieval European literature and the importance of the Middle Ages to modern notions of race. I teach courses in medieval and Renaissance French literature and culture, as well as introductory literature and grammar courses.
My teaching style is interactive and largely informal. Students in my classes are encouraged to seek out their own interests and apply them to the language and literature work we do as a class. Group work plays a large role in our in-class work, and I also encourage cooperative learning outside the classroom.
My research tends to read the literary work in its cultural context. I see literary works as artifacts influencing and influenced by the cultures in which they are produced. I recently published an article on what the use of Muslim characters in a medieval French play can teach us about attitudes toward Crusade, and I have started a study of medieval attitudes toward racial and ethnic difference.
EducationPh.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures Harvard University, December 1997 M.A. in French Indiana University-Bloomington, May 1991 B.A.S. in Applied Science – Computer Science University of Pennsylvania, December 1986 B.A. in French Language and Culture University of Pennsylvania, May 1986
Academic EmploymentVanderbilt University, Nashville, TN Associate Professor of French, 2006-present Chair, Department of French and Italian, 2008-2012 Affiliate of the Program in Film Studies, 2002-present Acting Director of Film Studies, 2007-2008 Assistant Professor of French, 2001-2006 University of Montevallo, Montevallo, AL Assistant Professor of French, 1999-2001 Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN Lecturer in French, 1998-1999 Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN Visiting Assistant Professor, 1997-1998 École Normale Supérieure, Fontenay aux Roses, France
BOOK AND EDITED VOLUMES
Christian, Saracen and Genre in Medieval French Literature. Studies in Medieval History and Culture. (New York: Routledge, 2001). This book explores how inter-ethnic relationships between Christians and Muslims both reflect and inform hegemonic culture in France from 1100 to 1500, claiming that generic forms evolve as adaptations to shifting cultural paradigms. Reviews in:
- Speculum 78.4 (2003): 1381-3
- Medieval Encounters 9.1 (2003): 186-189
- The Medieval Review 03.03.13 (2003): online at www.hti.umich.edu/t/tmr/
Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema. Editors Lynn Ramey and Tison Pugh. The New Middle Ages Series. (New York: Palgrave, 2007). An edited collection of essays that explores why and how directors intentionally insert modern preoccupations with race, class, and gender into a setting that would normally be considered incompatible with these concepts.
La Mort le Roi Artu: From the Illustrated Lancelot Prose of Yale 229. Series editor, Elizabeth Willingham. Editors Nancy Black, Walter Blue, Nina Dulin-Mallory, Virginie Greene, Stacy Hahn, Kathy Krause, Joan McRae, Lynn Ramey. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008). An annotated, diplomatic edition of the 13th century Death of King Arthur.
La Queste del Saint Graal: From the Illustrated Lancelot Prose of Yale 229. Series editor, Elizabeth Willingham. Editors Walter Blue, Nina Dulin-Mallory, Virginie Greene, Stacy Hahn, Lynn Ramey. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011). An annotated, diplomatic edition of the 13th century Quest for the Holy Grail.
L’Agrauains: From the Illustrated Lancelot Prose of Yale 229. Series editor, Elizabeth Willingham. Editors Walter Blue, Nina Dulin-Mallory, Virginie Greene, Stacy Hahn, Lynn Ramey. (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming 2013). An annotated, diplomatic edition of the 13th century Agravains.
The Global Middle Ages. Editors Geraldine Heng and Lynn Ramey. Special issue of Literature Compass. Forthcoming 2013.
“Monstrous Alterity in Early Modern Travel Accounts: Lessons from the Ambiguous Medieval Discourse on Humanness,” Esprit Créateur, 48.1 (2008): 81-95.
“Laughter and Manhood in Jehan de Saintré (1456).” Fifteenth Century Studies, 31 (2006):164-73.
“Androgynous Power and the Maternal Body in Marguerite de Navarre’s Les Prisons,” Dalhousie French Studies, 71 (2005): 31-38.
“Unauthorized Preaching: the sermon in Jean Bodel’s Jeu de Saint Nicolas.” Disputatio, 6 (2005): 221-34.
“Jean Bodel’s Jeu de Saint Nicolas: a Call for Non-violent Crusade.” French Forum, 27.3 (2002): 1-14.
“Role Models? Saracen Women in Medieval French Epic.” Romance Notes, 41.2 (2001): 131-41.
“Representations of Women in Chrétien’s Erec et Enide: Courtly literature or misogyny?” Romanic Review, 84.4 (1993): 377-86.
“Medieval Miscegenation: Hybridity and the Anxiety of Inheritance.” In Contextualizing the Muslim Other in Medieval Judeo-Christian Discourses. Ed. Jerold Frakes. New York: Palgrave, 2011: 1-19.
“’La geste que Turoldus declinet’: History and Authorship in Frank Cassenti’s Chanson de Roland (France, 1978).” In Hollywood in the Holy Land: the Fearful Symmetries of Movie Medievalism. Ed. Nickolas Haydock and Edward Risden. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009: 147-160.
“Images of Rebellion: the Social and Political Context of Yale ms 229 La Mort le Roy Artus.” In Essays on the Illustrated Lancelot Prose of Yale 229. Ed. Beth Willingham. Turnhout: Brepols, 2007: 7-14.
“In Praise of Troubadourism: Creating Community in Occupied France, 1942-43” In Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema. Eds. Lynn Ramey and Tison Pugh. New York: Palgrave, 2007: 139-153.
“Introduction: Filming the ‘Other’ Middle Ages” with Tison Pugh. In Race, Class, and Gender in “Medieval” Cinema. Eds. Lynn Ramey and Tison Pugh. New York: Palgrave, 2007: 1-12.
“The Death of Aude and the Conversion of Bramimonde: Border Pedagogy and Medieval Feminist Criticism.” In Approaches to Teaching the Song of Roland. Eds. William Kibler and Leslie Zarker Morgan. NY: MLA, 2006: 232-237.
“La perception du sarrasin XIe-XIVe siècles: l’image du musulman dans la littérature française.” In Histoire de l’islam et des musulmans en France, du Moyen Age à nos jours, aspects religieux, politiques et culturels. Eds. Mohammed Arkoun and Jean Mouttapa. Paris: Albin Michel, 2006: 194-203.
“Patriarchy and Monarchy: François de Billon, the Querelles des femmes, and the Rise of French Absolutism.” In The World and Its Rival: Essays on Literary Imagination in Honor of Per Nykrog. Eds. Kathryn Karczewska and Tom Conley. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999: 161-70.
“Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland).” In Epics for Students. Ed. Marie Lazzarie. Detroit: Gale, 1997: 83-106.
“Sundiata (Soundjata).” In Epics for Students. Ed. Marie Lazzarie. Detroit: Gale, 1997: 398-416.
“Reynard Literature.” In Facts on File Companion to Pre-1600 British Poetry. Ed. Michelle M. Sauer. NY: Facts on File, 2008: 343.
“Georges Chastelain” and “Antoine de La Sale.” In The Late Medieval Age of Crisis and Renewal: 1300-1500. Ed. Clayton J. Drees. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing, 2001: 97-99 and 282-83.
“Minstrels and Other Itinerant Performers as Travelers.” In Trade, Travel, and Exploration in the Middle Ages: an Encyclopedia. Eds. John B. Friedman and Kristen M. Figg. NY: Garland Publishing, 2000: 401-02.
“Voyage en Orient: réalité et imagination dans la géographie du roman médiéval.” In La Géographie dans les textes narratifs médiévaux. Ed. Danielle Buschinger. Greifswald, Germany: Reineke-Verlag, WODAN series 62, 1996: 129-38.
“A Crisis of Category: Transvestism and Narration in Two Eighteenth-Century Novels.” In Proceedings of the 4th Annual Graduate Student Conference in French and Comparative Literatures, Columbia University, March 4-5, 1994. NY: Columbia University, 1995: 72-77.
Love Cures: Healing and Love Magic in Old French Romance by Laine E. Doggett. Arthuriana 22.3 (2012): 92-94.
Fierabras and Floripas: A French Epic Allegory ed. and trans. Michael A.H. Newth. H-France Reviews. Online. March 2011. Available http://www.h-france.net/vol11reviews/vol11no66Ramey.pdf
Crossing Borders: Love between women in medieval French and Arabic Literatures by Sahar Amer. Arthuriana, 20.2 (2010).
Strange Words: Retelling and Reception in the Medieval Roland Textual Tradition by Margaret Jewett Burland. H-France Reviews. Online. June 2009. Available http://www.h-france.net/vol9reviews/vol9no79ramey.pdf
Postcolonial Fictions in the Roman de Perceforest by Sylvia Huot. Arthuriana 16.1 (2006): 72-74.
Courtly Love Undressed: Reading Through Clothes in Medieval French Culture by E. Jane Burns and The Performance of Self: Ritual, Clothing, and Identity During the Hundred Years War by Susan Crane. Arthuriana 13.2 (2003): 104-7.
Christine de Pizan and Medieval French Lyric edited by Earl Jeffrey Richards. The Medieval Review. Online. 4 August 2001. Available http://www.hti.umich.edu/t/tmr
Sheba’s Daughters: Whitening and Demonizing the Saracen Woman in Medieval French Literature by Jacqueline de Weever. The Medieval Review. Online. 2 January 1999. Available http://www.hti.umich.edu/t/tmr
Clothes Make the Man by Valerie Hotchkiss. The Medieval Review. Online. 1 October 1997. Available http://www.hti.umich.edu/t/tmr
The Fall of Kings and Princes by M. Victoria Guerin. Arthuriana 6.2 (1996): 95-97.
“Representing Race: the Queen of Sheba’s Fate in the Middle Ages.” Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, UNC – Chapel Hill, February 15, 2011.
“Fact and Fiction: Encounters with Monstrosity in Textual Travels.” Invited paper by Medieval Romance Society. 43rd International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May, 2008.
Panelist, “Lessons for Modern Men and Women from Medieval Spain,” Austin Peay State University Asanbe Lecture Series, April 4, 2007.
Conference Papers and Panels
“St. Brendan’s Voyage: Travel and Encounter the Anglo-Norman Imagination.” 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 9-12, 2013.
“Back to the Future: Exploring New Digital Initiatives in Medieval Studies Medieval Academy.” Medieval Academy. Knoxville, TN. April 4-6, 2013.
“How I Got Started in the Digital Humanities: A Roundtable of New Digital Projects from DHCommons.” (delivered by Todd Hughes) Modern Language Association. Boston, MA. January 3-6, 2013.
“Undergraduate Research in Medieval Languages: From ‘Paper’ to Publication.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Decatur, GA. October 13-15, 2011.
“Filming Illiteracy: The Pathology of Dyslexia in Claude Chabrol’s La cérémonie.” Modern Language Association. Los Angeles, CA. January 7-11, 2011.
“Pre-Modern Genetics: Understanding Medieval Notions of Race through Nature.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Roanoke, VA. November 18-20, 2010.
“Portraits of the Queen of Sheba: Reading Blackness in Medieval Biblical Commentaries.” South Atlantic Modern Language Association. Atlanta, GA. November 4-7, 2010.
“Sheba’s Court in the Middle Ages: An Allegory of Female Rulers.” 13th Triennial Congress of the International Courtly Literature Society. Montreal, Canada. July 25-August 1, 2010.
“History and Origins in Rohmer’s Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon (2007).” South Atlantic Modern Language Association. Atlanta, GA. November 6-8, 2009.
“’La geste que Turoldus declinet’: Authorship in Frank Cassenti’s Chanson de Roland (France, 1978).” South Atlantic Modern Language Association. Louisville, KY. November 7-9, 2008.
“Parodic Monstrosity and the New World Body.” Renaissance Society of America annual meeting. Chicago, April 3-5, 2008.
“History and Genre in Cassenti’s Chanson de Roland.” Modern Language Association. Chicago, IL. December 27-30, 2007.
“’Nigra sum’: Blackness and Miscegenation in Patristical Commentaries on the Song of Songs.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Spartanburg, SC. October 4-6, 2007.
“Are Pygmies Men? Medieval Monstrosity in Travel Accounts.” 3rd Annual Symposium of the International Medieval Society. Paris, France. June 29-July 1, 2006.
“Mapping the New World Body: Early Transpositions of Medieval Monstrosity.” 9th Annual International Congress of the Mediterranean Studies Association. Genoa, Italy. May 24-27, 2006.
“Locating Iberia within European Medieval Studies: A Panel Discussion.” 41st International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 2-7, 2006.
“Violence, Conversion, and the Limits of Rationality in Medieval French Literature.” Modern Language Association. Washington, DC. December 27-30, 2005.
“Miscegenation in the William Cycle.” Modern Language Association. Washington, DC. December 27-30, 2005.
“The Relevance of Medieval Spain: a roundtable discussion.” 40th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 5-8, 2005.
“(Re)making the Middle Ages: Viollet-le-Duc’s Architectural Bodies.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Charleston, SC. October 14-16, 2004.
“Race and Courtly Film: Martin Lawrence Meets Morgan Freeman.” 11th Triennial Congress of the International Courtly Literature Society. Madison, WI. July 29 – August 4, 2004.
“Washington Irving at the Alhambra: Dreaming of the Moor in Nineteenth-Century Spain.” 39th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 6-9, 2004.
Panel Chair, “Medieval Perceptions of Women and Womanhood.” Sewanee Medieval Colloquium. Sewanee, TN. April 16-17, 2004.
“Medieval Western Views of Conception and Literary Miscegenation.” Medieval Academy. Seattle, WA. April 1-3, 2004.
“The Conquered Poet: Charles d’Orléans and the Aftermath of Agincourt.” South Atlantic Modern Language Association. Atlanta, GA. November 14-16, 2003.
“Medieval Western Views of Conception and Literary Miscegenation.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Fayetteville, AR. October 23-25, 2003.
“Troubadour Peire Cardenal and the Rise of the Individual.” 38th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 7-10, 2003.
“Laughter and Manhood in Jehan de Saintré.” Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. Lexington, KY. April 24-27, 2003.
“Kidnapped! Forced Border Crossing in Medieval French Literature.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Tallahassee, FL. September 26-28, 2002.
“Gender, Ethnicity, and Captivity in Medieval French Epic.” 37th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 2002.
“Gender and Captivity in Marguerite de Navarre’s Prisons.” Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. Lexington, KY. April 18-20, 2002.
“Pre-Raphaelites and the Medieval Aesthetic: Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market.” Sewanee Medieval Colloquium. Sewanee, TN. April 12-13, 2002.
Organizer and chair, special SEMA session, “Deviance and Disobedience in the Middle Ages.” South Atlantic Modern Language Association. New Orleans, LA. November 11, 2001.
“Le Jeu de Saint Nicolas: Saracens and Dramatic Genre.” Southeastern Medieval Association. New Orleans, LA. October 18-20, 2001.
“Model Books and Religious Iconography in La Mort le Roy Artus.” 36th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 2001.
“The Imaginary and Symbolic Saracen.” Modern Language Association. Washington, DC. December 27-30, 2000.
“Images of Rebellion: The Social and Political Context of the Images of Yale 229.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Asheville, NC. September 28-30, 2000.
“Converting the Beast: Cultural Encounters and Rational Argument in Twelfth-Century France.” Medieval Academy. Austin, TX. April 13-15, 2000.
“Female Rule and Universal History in Christine de Pizan and Boccaccio.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Knoxville, TN. October 15-17, 1999.
Organizer, “Liminal Learning: Teaching and Culture in the Middle Ages.” Modern Language Association. San Francisco, CA. December 27-30, 1998.
“The Ambiguous Lesson of Experiential Learning in the Legends of Charlemagne.” Modern Language Association. San Francisco, CA. December 27-30, 1998.
“Distance Learning and Video-Conferencing: Windows to New Opportunities.” with Paul Crapo, Karen Sorenson and David Jaymes. Tennessee Foreign Language Teachers’ Association. Nashville, TN. November 6-7, 1998.
“Saracen Women in Medieval French Epic.” Southeastern Medieval Association. Nashville, TN. October 24-26, 1997.
“Cross(dress)ing Boundaries: Gender, Ethnicity and Transvestism in Medieval French Romance.” 31st International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 1996.
“Imagining the Route: Getting to the Orient in Medieval Romances.” La Géographie dans les romans médiévaux. Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, France. March 28-31, 1996.
“The Ball and Chain: Interracial Marriage and Slavery in Medieval French Romance and Chansons de Geste.” 30th International Congress on Medieval Studies. Kalamazoo, MI. May 1995.
“A Crisis of Category: Transvestism and Narration in Two Eighteenth-Century Novels.” Graduate Student Conference in French and Comparative Literatures. Columbia University, NY, NY. March 4-5, 1994.
“The Anglo-Norman Jeu d’Adam and the Twelfth-Century Discourse of Female Power.” Boston College, Boston, MA. April 1992.
Grants, Fellowships and AwardsNEH Summer Institute, “Humanities Heritage 3D Visualization: Theory and Practice.” Directors Alyson Gill and Dave Frederick. Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas, June 17 to July 6, 2013. Research Scholar grant, Vanderbilt University, for “Discoveries of the Americas Portal: Project Development,” 2012-2013. $9000. Fellow, “Pre-Modern Others: Race and Sexuality,” Robert Penn Warren Humanities Center, Vanderbilt University, 2005-2006. NEH Summer Institute, “Travel Writing, Skepticism, and Religious Belief in Renaissance France.” Directors, Carla Zecher and George Hoffmann. Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, July 11 to August 5, 2005. Research Scholar grant, Vanderbilt University, spring 2004. Grant for Initiative on Cultural Diversity in the Curriculum, Vanderbilt University, summer 2002. NEH Summer Seminar, “The Arthurian Illuminated Manuscript and the Culture of the High Middle Ages.” Director, R. Howard Bloch. Yale University, New Haven, CT, July 3 to August 11, 2000. Outstanding Foreign Language Professor, Austin Peay State University, 1997-98 Lurcy Fellowship for dissertation research in France, 1995-96 Derek Bok Award for teaching excellence, spring 1994 and fall 1995 Jens Aubrey Westengard award, Harvard University, 1994-95 Harvard Graduate Society Fellowship for summer research, 1994 Fellowship, Institut d’études françaises, Avignon, France, 1993 Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship in Arabic, 1992-93
DirectorApril Stevens (French, Ph.D.), early modern, codirected w/Brillaud, expected 2014. Rachel Early (French, Ph.D.), medieval, expected 2014. Laura Nelson (French, Ph.D.), early modern, 2013. Alexandria Howard (European Studies and French; BA), early modern, 2010. Chad E. Simpson (French; BA honors), medieval, 2008. Amy C. Leone (French; BA honors), film, 2008. Megan Russell (French; BA honors), medieval, 2006. Christin Harper (European Studies and French; BA), film, 2003.
ReaderEva Dessein (French; PhD), second language acquisition, 2012. Olivia Grenvicz (French; PhD), early modern, 2012. Susan Crisafulli (English; PhD), medieval, 2006. Shirin Edwin (French; PhD dissertation committee), francophone, 2005. Heather J. Garrett (French; PhD dissertation committee), 20th century, 2004. Bérénice Le Marchand (French; PhD dissertation committee), early modern, 2004. Alistaire Tallent (French; PhD dissertation committee), early modern, 2005. Numerous undergraduate honors theses.
ProfessionHASTAC, invited forum participant, “Visualizing Geography: Maps, Space, Place, and Pedagogy.” March 2013. http://hastac.org/forums/visualizing-geography-maps-space-place-and-pedagogy Medieval Academy of America, planning committee, annual conference UT-Knoxville, 2012 Modern Language Association Executive Committee, Division of Comparative Studies in Medieval Literature, 2012-2017 Executive Committee, Discussion Group on Romance Literary Relations, 2009-2014 Delegate to the Assembly representing the Southern Region, 2012-2015 Delegate to the Assembly representing the Division for Medieval French Literature, 2008-2011 South Atlantic Modern Language Association President, 2013-2014 First Vice-President, 2012-2013 Second Vice-President, 2011-2012 Southeastern Medieval Association President, 2011-2013 Vice-president, 2009-2010 Organizer annual meeting, 2009 Executive board, 2003-2006 Reader for Arizona Center for Medieval Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, University of Toronto Press, Exemplaria, Olifant, and Medieval Perspectives Evaluator of research for promotion to associate professor with tenure (3) Editorial board, South Atlantic Review, 2009-2011, The Medieval Review, 2004-2005, Medieval Perspectives 2003-06, 2011-13. Grant Evaluator for Canadian Research council, Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences.
UniversityUniversity-Wide Faculty panelist, Center for Teaching workshop on preventing plagiarism, February 2011 Co-director of Robert Penn Warren humanities center group on Digital Humanities, spring 2011- Faculty panelist, Grant and Fellowship Workshop for graduate students, October 2010 Faculty Senate, 2009-2012; chair of Academic Programs and Services, fall 2010 Sub-Committee on Intellectual Property and Civility, 2008 Coordinating committee, Vanderbilt Undergraduate Summer Research Program, 2008-2010 Co-founder of FLICX, university-wide program of faculty-led film discussions at a local arts cinema, 2007 Arts and Sciences Faculty Advisor, Honor Council 2008-2011 Faculty presenter, Teaching the Genres: Film, English Graduate TA Orientation, May 10, 2010. Faculty Search Committee, non-tenure track position, Film Studies, 2009 Panelist, Program in Career Development for junior faculty, February 2008, April 2009 AXLE Learning Outcome 3 committee, 2008-2009 Mentor, Program in Career Development, 2008-present Acting Director of the Program in Film Studies, 2007-2008 Graduate Delegate Assembly, 2007-2008 Faculty Council, 2006-2008 Academic Standards and Procedures, 2006-2007 Steering Committee, Program in Film Studies, 2005-2007 Undergraduate Admissions Committee selection for honors scholars, 2005, 2007 Faculty advisor, graduate conference “Race, Identity, and Nationality,” February 25-26, 2005 Pre-major advisor, 2004-2006 Graduate Faculty Delegate Assembly, 2004-2005 Executive Committee for the Center for European Studies, 2004-2005 Second Language Acquisition Committee, 2004-2007 Department of French and Italian Chair, Department of French and Italian, 2008-2012 Director of Undergraduate Studies in French, 2002-2003, 2004-2006 Organizing committee, The World Awaits, a series of four colloquia on career opportunities for foreign language majors, 2002-2003 Web coordinator, 2001-2003 Department committee for revision of undergraduate curriculum, 2001-2002 Organizing committee, Tennessee & France: The Economic and Cultural Connections, 2001-2002