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.
Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Memphis, 2013-.
Thinking Matters program, Stanford University, 2012-2013.
Lab manager, Humanities + Design, CESTA, Stanford University, 2012-2013.
Stanford University, Ph.D. in French (September 2012).
SUNY Buffalo, Masters in Comparative Literature (June 2005).
University of Alberta, B.A. with honors in English Literature (June 2000).
“Comment se vendre: L’escroquerie et le marketing dans La vie publique et privée de Mossieu Réac de Nadar,” Special Issue of Médias 19, Presse, prostitution, bas-fonds (1830-1930), edited by Guillaume Pinson, Summer, 2013.
“The French Enlightenment Network,” with Maria Comsa, Dan Edelstein, Chloe Edmondson, and Claude Willan, forthcoming in The Journal of Modern History.
“The Milieu of the Prisoner-of-War Camp in La Grande Illusion,” Romance Notes, Vol 55: 3 (2015): 371-384.
“Before the “Inward Turn”: Tracing Represented Thought in the French Novel (1800-1929),” Poetics Today,
"Reviving the Art of Sociability: Madame de Genlis's Post-Revolutionary Salon at the Arsenal," Special Issue of RELIEF, Madame de Genlis et la pensée des Lumières, edited by Alicia C. Montoya, 7:1 (2013), pp. 106-122.
“Spontaneity and Moral Certainty in Benjamin Constant’s Adolphe,” in Nineteenth-Century French Studies, 40: 3-4 (2012), pp. 222-238.
2015 “The Milieu of the Prisoner of War Camp in La Grande Illusion,” University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, NC, April.
2015 “Social Versus Spatial Networks in Balzac’s Human Geography,” American Association of Comparative Literature, Seattle, WA, March.
2014 “Collections or Collectivities: Physionomies as Interconnected Fluid Systems,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies, San Juan, PR, October.
2014 “Networks in Literary History: The Salons Project,” Digital Humanities Forum, University of Kansas, September.
2014 “Using Images, Charts, and Maps to Stimulate Conversation,” Association of American Teachers of French, New Orleans, LA, July.
2014 “Ethics and the Novel: Kant versus Constant,” Midsouth Philosophy Conference, Rhodes College, Memphis, TN, February.
2013 “From the Faubourg Saint-Germain to the Bas Fonds: Mapping the Trajectories of Balzac’s Minor Characters,” Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Richmond, VA, October.
2013 “Street Art and the Paris Establishment: The Case of le M.U.R.,” The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present, Detroit, MI, October.
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.
2012 “The Melodrama of History: Carlyle, Dickens, and Sand on the Morality of the Revolution,” Modern Language Association, Seattle, WA, January.
University of Memphis, 2013-present.
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.