Melanie Conroy

Associate Professor of French, University of Memphis

Melanie Conroy' s research explores literature, the visual, and gender studies in modern France and Europe. She is the author of Literary Geographies in Balzac and Proust (Cambridge University Press). In her digital humanities research, she uses mapping and network analysis to study post-revolutionary fiction and culture. 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 and a BA from the University of Alberta. At the University of Memphis, she teaches Conversation and Composition, intermediate French language, French and Francophone visual culture, nineteenth-century literature and culture, and and French civilization. She recently convened for the "Digital Humanities Methods" Community of Research Scholars at the University of Memphis. 

Conroy is active in the digital humanities and the digital French studies communities nationally and internationally. She is currently the deputy treasurer for the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations and a member of the centerNet board. She is also the web editor for H-France and member of their digital humanities ad hoc group.

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 published articles in Cultural Analytics, Poetics Today, Nineteenth-Century French Studies, Médias 19, RELIEF, Romance Notes, the Journal of Historical Networks, and The Journal of Modern History - on nineteenth- and twentieth-century French fiction, salons, visual representations, and the theory of the novel (see published articles). 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, as well as the College of the Arts and Sciences and the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities at the University of Memphis.

In her current book project, Salons: A Digital History, she uses a dataset developed through "The Salons Project," a part of Mapping the Republic of Letters at Stanford University, to tell a nuanced story about the many forms that European salons took from 1700 to 1914. Featuring discussions of Germaine de Staël, Delphine de Girardin, Rachilde, and other salonnières of the period, this full-length study positions European salons as a unique lieu de mémoire. Feminine sociability invested modern poetic and literary encounters in Europe with an aesthetic of connectedness that is missing from contemporary literary life. Arguing against the masculinist narratives of Barthes and Habermas, she contends that the aesthetics of feminized mondain culture continued to mark literary production well after writing became a profession with its own norms. Her second project, The Afterlife of the French Aristocracy, 1789-1914, explores discourses of nobility in nineteenth-century French literature and to show that these discourses were not necessarily reactionary, even when they were extremely classist. 

She is a moderator for the "Nineteenth-Century French Studies Friends" Facebook group, as well as the faculty liaison for the French Club at the University of Memphis. She writes reviews for the LSE Review of Books and blog posts about the digital humanities on HASTAC.


Associate Professor of French, Department of World Languages and Literatures, University of Memphis, 2019-present.

Assistant Professor of French, Department of World Languages and Literatures, University of Memphis, 2013-2019.

Thinking Matters program, Stanford University, 2012-2013.

Lab manager, Humanities + Design, CESTA, Stanford University, 2012-2013.


Stanford University, Ph.D. in French (September 2012).

--. Ignite Program in Entrepreneurship (July 2012).

Université de Paris VIII, Masters (D.E.A) in French Literature (July 2006).

SUNY Buffalo, Masters in Comparative Literature (June 2005).

University of Alberta, B.A. with honors in English Literature (June 2000). 

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Melanie R. Conroy | | Associate Professor of French