Modern Languages and Literatures
Michelle Chilcoat, Associate Professor of French

A. Michelle Chilcoat

Job Title
Associate Professor of French
36 Union Avenue 201


Journal Articles
“Analyzing Sexuality in French and Francophone Film,” accepted with revisions at Women in French Studies.

“Idéologie et romantisme: habitude et réflexion,” forthcoming in L’Année stendhalienne, n. 4, 2005.

“In/Civility, in Death: On Becoming French in Colonial Martinique,” forthcoming in Boundary 2: An International Journal of Literature and Culture, 31:3, 2004, 47-73.

“Brain Sex, Cyberpunk Cinema, Feminism, and the Dis/Location of Heterosexuality,” NWSA Journal: A Publication of the National Women’s Studies Association, 16.2, 2004, 156-76.

“Anticolonialism and Misogyny in the Writings of Isabelle Eberhardt,” The French Review, April 2004, 949-57.

“Civility, Marriage, and the Impossible French Citizen: From Ourika to Zouzou and Princesse Tam Tam,” Colby Quarterly, June 2001, 125-144.

“The Legacy of Enlightenment Brain Sex,” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Spring 2000, 3-20.

“Confinement, the Family Institution, and the Case of Claire de Duras’s Ourika,” L’Esprit Créateur,
Fall 1998, 6-16.

Book Chapters
"Claire de Duras: This Author Who Was Not One?" Commissioned essay, forthcoming in v. 154 of Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism series (The Gale Group, 2005).

"Queering the Family in François Ozon's Sitcom." Forthcoming in Queer Cinema in Europe, ed. Robin Griffiths (Bristol, England: Intellect Books, 2005).

Encyclopedia Entries and Book Reviews
1000-word entry on Josephine Baker, forthcoming in The Feminist Encyclopedia of African American Literature, ed. Elizabeth Beaulieu (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press).

250-word entry on nineteenth-century author Pauline Caro for The Feminist Encyclopedia of French Literature, ed. Eva Martin Sartori (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999), 75-76.

Book Review of Michel del Castillo's Les Portes du sang, forthcoming in The French Review, December 2004.

Book Review of Dominique Barbéris's Les Kangourous, forthcoming in The French Review, October 2004.

Book Review of François Vallejo's Madame Angeloso, in The French Review, April 2003, 1049-1050.

Book Review of Stéfani Meunier's Au Bout du chemin, in The French Review, April 2002, 1003.

Book review of Christiane Frenette's La Terre ferme in The French Review, March 2000, 761.

Book review of Paul Rousseau's Haine-moi! in The French Review, April 1999, 944.

Areas of interest

As an assistant professor here at Union College, I teach courses in French and Francophone Studies and French language. My research interests are varied: I explore the construction of gendered identities in French and francophone literature and film, from the 18th century to now, and I 've enjoyed being able to incorporate this material into my teaching. "Women on Top" and "Sex Lives and Videotape" are two courses that come out of this research (and are cross-listed with Women's Studies). Another course related to this research is my "Whose Enlightenment?" (also cross-listed with Women's Studies) which considers how gendered and racial identities are "invented" in French Enlightenment philosophy. In other research, I consider how institutions like marriage and citizenship are constructed in French colonial texts to include or exclude racial or sexual “others.” I've published several articles on this topic, and the course I teach on Martinique is related to this research.


"The Impossible Reflection: Idéologie, Language and Habit from Condillac to Stendhal." An analysis of the Enlightenment science-philosophy of Idéologie, particularly its proposed models of language usage, and how Stendhal deploys these models, thereby creating a space where the convergence of Enlightenment and Romantic epistemologies can be considered. Committee: William Paulson, Chair; Ross Chambers, Santiago Colas, David Porter


"(Post)Feminist (Porno)Graphics, à la Française," paper accepted for the Modern Languages Association Annual Convention conference, Philadelphia, December 2004.

"How Tasty Was My Little French Woman: Marina de Van's Dans ma peau (2002)," for panel "Porno/Graphic/Violence in Recent French Cinema and Literature," co-organizer of panel (with Martine Delvaux) and paper presenter," Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, April 2004.

"'La Véritable Fin de la Terre Française': Colonizing Brittany in 19th- and Early 20th-Century French Literature," Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, April 2003.

"Necrophilia and Nasty Women: Isabelle Eberhardt's Colonial Problem," Invited speaker, Women's and Gender Studies Colloquia Series, Colby College, April 2003.

"Anticolonialism and Misogyny in the Writings of Isabelle Eberhardt," for panel "Women Writers in/on Colonialist France," Co-organizer of panel (with Adrianna Paliyenko) and paper presenter, Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 2002.

"Civility, Marriage, and the Impossible French Citizen" for the "Outside American Studies Conference," Dartmouth College, 2001.

"Documentary Film and the Pornographic Gaze: From Romance to Autopsie," co-written and co-presented paper with Martine Delvaux (UQAM) for the 20- and 21st-Century French Studies Conference, UC Davis, 2001.

"The 'Treatment' of Homosexuality in Francois Ozon's Sitcom," for the "Rhetoric of the Other III: Beyond the Boundaries" conference, Université du Quebec à Montréal, 2000.

"'Extravagant Strangers' in Colonialist France: Ourika and Zou Zou," Cultural Citizenship Conference, Michigan State University, 1999.

"Brain Sex, Cyberfiction Film, Feminism, and the (Dis)Location of Heterosexuality," Invited speaker, Albion College, 1999.

"Claire de Duras: Ecrire l'isolement," Invited speaker, Département d'études litteraires, Université du Québec à Montréal, 1998.

"Using the Herren Templates to Create a Computer-Assisted Reading of Bonjour Tristesse, CBB Mellon Language Fair, Bowdoin College, 1997.

"Exact Exchange: Condillac Invents the Language of Science," Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 1997.

"When the Words Get In the Way: Stendhal and the Idéologistes on the Transparency of Language," Twenty-Second Annual Colloquium in Nineteenth-Century French Studies, University of Toronto, 1996.

"Whose Enlightenment? Regarding Women's Education in Pre- and Post-Revolutionary France," Women's Studies Colloquia Series, Colby College, 1996.

Co-Organizer of panel titled "Scenes of Knowledge." Paper Presented: "Reading a Body Telling a Story: The Doctor's Prognosis in Claire de Duras's Ourika," Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 1995.

"Walking Rhetorics: Articulations of Daily Life in Paris in Some Old French Dits," Medieval Section: M/MLA in Chicago, 1994.

E(xc)lusive Natures: Family Values Rhetoric in Claire de Duras's Ourika and Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda's Sab" for "Aesthetics and Ideologies: An Interdisciplinary Conference," Michigan State University, 1994.

Organizer of the Second Annual Forum for Students of French and Francophone Studies, University of Michigan. Panel Organized: "Challenging Histories: Telling Female Subjectivities," 1994.

"How (Not) to Play in Stendhal's Lucien Leuwen, or, What If the Rules Have No Game?" Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 1993.

"Pigments of Yesterday and Shades of Negritude Today: Negritude Poetry and Rap Music," Martin Luther King Conference Panel, "On Race and Racism in Romance Studies," University of Michigan, 1993.

Organizer of the First Annual Forum for Students of French and Francophone Studies, University of Michigan. Paper presented: "Stendhal's Lamiel: Gender Disfiguration or Class Refiguration?" 1992.

Teaching experience

Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, Union College, 1999-present; 6-course teaching load (2 courses per trimester)
Director of Union Term in Rennes, France, 2002 and 2000

Director of Union Miniterm in Martinique, 2001

Visiting Lecturer; Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of French, Colby College, 1995-1999

Director of Colby Term in Dijon, France, 1998

Graduate Student Teaching Assistant, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan, 1989-1995
AATF (American Association of Teachers of French)

MLA (Modern Languages Association)

ACS (Association of Caribbean Studies)

WIFS (Women in French Studies)

Academic credentials

B. A. Romance Languages (French, Spanish), Magna Cum Laude, University of Georgia; M. A. Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan. Extensive course work completed in Provençal and Old French literatures; Ph. D. Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan; Fields of Concentration: 18th and 19th Century French Literature; Literary Theory