Melanie Conroy, Assistant Professor of French, University of Memphis
| Melanie Conroy' s research explores literature, the visual, and gender studies in modern France and Europe. She is currently working on cultural histories of the aristocracy and of European salons as sites of literary production.
She received her doctorate from Stanford University in 2012. She also holds MAs from the University of Buffalo and the Université de Paris VIII. At the University of Memphis, she teaches nineteenth-century literature, French civilization, French and Francophone visual culture, and intermediate French language. While at Stanford, she was the managing editor of Republics of Letters and lab manager for the Humanities + Design lab (CESTA). She taught in two new interdisciplinary programs Education as Self-Fashioning and Thinking Matters.
She has recently published articles in Poetics Today, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Médias 19, RELIEF, and Romance Notes - on nineteenth- and twentieth-century French fiction, salons, visual representations, and the theory of the novel. She is the project lead on three digital humanities projects: The Salons Project (Mapping Republics of Letters), Mapping Balzac, and 19th-Century Networks. Her work has been supported by a Whiting Fellowship.
In her current book project, she argues that the surprisingly long afterlife that aristocrats enjoyed in French literature was due to their ability to serve as projections of ideal selves—and the ability of literary aristocracies to reflect ideal societies, whose qualities varied according to the ideological orientation of the writer. Drawing upon authors as diverse as madame de Staël, Delphine de Girardin, Barbey d’Aurevilly, Scribe, Proust, Robbe-Grillet, and Renoir, she demonstrates that high literary versions of the aristocracy had much in common with popular visions of the nobility found in magazines, caricatures, street theater, and popular writing, all of which contributed to the very public debate over who should lead France.
SUNY Buffalo, Masters in Comparative Literature (June 2005).
University of Alberta, B.A. with honors in English Literature (June 2000).
“Teaching Republican Culture through Caricature: The Scandal of Charlie Hebdo,” (forthcoming in MLA's Teaching Representations of the French Revolution, eds. Julia Douthwaite, Catriona Seth, and Antoinette Sol).
2016 “The Global Geography of Le Curé de village,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Brown University, Providence, October.
2016 “Nineteenth-Century Salons: A Latter-Day ‘Republic of Letters’?,” The Making of the Humanities V Conference, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, October.
2016 “The Empire of Letters: Enlightenment-Era French Salons,” with Chloe Edmondson,Networks of European Enlightenment Conference, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, April.
2016 “Spying on the Dead: Contemporary Ethics of Privacy for the Pre-Internet Age,” American Association of Comparative Literature, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March.
2016 "The Ecosystem of Print: The Case of Delphine de Girardin’s Parisian Salon," Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies, Appalachian State University, Asheville, NC, March.
2016 “Literary Readings in the Age of the Newspaper: Delphine de Girardin’s Parisian Salon, 1836-1843,” Society for French Historical Studies, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, March.
2016 “The Empire of Letters: Enlightenment-Era French Salons,” with Chloe Edmondson, Networks of European Enlightenment Conference, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, April.
2015 “Social Networks in the Enlightenment: The Case of Parisian Salons,” Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities' Brown Bag Lecture, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, September.
2013 “Mapping Fuzzy Logic and Fictional Universes,” THAT Camp Alabama, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, August.
2013 “Literary Salons, Bourgeois Cercles: Social Networks and the Aesthetics of the Post-Revolutionary Salon,” American Comparative Literature Association, University of Toronto, April.
2012 “Mapping French Salons: 1700-1914,” LENS Mapping People Symposium, University of Redlands, Redlands, CA, October.
2012 “The bal bourgeois: Taste, Excess, and Social Distinction,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies Conference, Raleigh, NC, October.
2012 “Comment se vendre : L’escroquerie et le marketing dans ‘La vie publique et privée de mossieu Réac’ de Nadar,” Presse, prostitution, bas-fonds dans l'espace médiatique francophone, Colloque international, Québec, Canada, June.
2012 “Enrichissez-vous: Speculation in the comédies-vaudevilles and Balzac,” American Comparative Literature Association, Providence, RI, March.
University of Memphis, 2013-present.
19th Century French Literature. Survey of literary movements and major authors with readings in all major genres.
French Visual Culture. Study of major works of French and Francophone visual culture and cinema from a cultural perspective; readings in French theory and criticism; exploration of transformations in Francophone societies as reflected in visual culture; films by Méliès, Clouzot, Truffaut, Chabrol, Bachir, Sembène, and others. See syllabus.
Intermediate French. Comprehensive review of French grammar, exercises in writing, and readings in French literature and culture.
French Civilization. Culture of France as reflected in its history, social institutions, art, and music. Recommended for Foreign Language, liberal arts, and International Business majors.
Stanford University, 2007-2013.
Revolutions in Prose: The 19th-Century Novel. Taught with Professor Dan Edelstein to reconceive his second-year course on revolutions and the nineteenth-century French novel. Authors include Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert, Zola, and Anatole France. Team-taught. Sessions in French. Winter 2013. (Part of a Teagle teaching grant.)
Thinking Matters: The Poet Remaking the World. Lecturer in new Thinking Matters course on poetry and social transformation. With Professors Eavan Boland (English) and Steven Carter (Asian Languages and Literatures). Authors include Owen, Kerouac, Basho, and Eliot. Responsibilities include teaching two sections, co-authoring assignments, and grading undergraduate papers. Winter 2012.
Education as Self-Fashioning: Learning for a Public Life. Instructor for freshman writing course in pilot “Education as Self-Fashioning” program with Professor Dan Edelstein (French). Responsibilities include teaching a section, co-authoring assignments, and grading undergraduate papers. Fall 2012.
Images of Women in French Cinema. TA for Professor Jean-Marie Apostolidès. Responsibilities included teaching two sections, co-authoring exams, and grading undergraduate papers. Spring 2012.
Outsiders, Conspirators, and the Masses: Nineteenth-Century French Fiction. Designed and taught. Looks at the emergence of new social types in nineteenth-century fiction: social climbers, dandies, amateur philosophers, impoverished students, master criminals, aspiring actresses, and political radicals. How do groups differentiate themselves in and by way of literature? Who belongs and who doesn’t? Which groups are heroized and which are villainized? Authors include Balzac, Stendhal, Sue, Nerval, Vigny, Flaubert, Zola. Taught in French. Spring 2010.
Philosophy and Literature. Teaching assistant for Professors Lanier Anderson and Joshua Landy. Responsibilities included teaching a section, co-creating assignments, and reviewing undergraduate papers. Winter 2010.