An essay by Professor of French and Francophone studies Catherine Gallouët was recently published in a collection of essays titled Geographiae Imaginariae. Dresser le cadastre des mondes inconnus dans la fiction narrative de l’Ancien Régime, (Presses de l’Université Laval, 2011.) The volume analyzes how geography was constructed in European narrative fiction from the Middle Ages through 1800.
Gallouët’s essay, ” La Nigritie, ou géographies de l’Afrique dans la fiction narrative,” is concerned, she says, “with the way 18th century geographies of Africa are based more on imaginary constructions than actual contemporary facts derived from travel accounts.”
As part of similar research, Gallouët also presented a paper in Hamilton, Ontario, at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society, and the North East American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, (she currently serves as NEASECS first vice president and will serve as next year’s president.) Her paper analyzed the representation of the exotic in the 1735 opera Les Indes galantes by Jean-Philippe Rameau, one of the most important composers of the French XVIIIth century. In particular, the paper deals with how the exotic spaces of the opera (Turkey, Persia, Peru and North America) are represented through libretto, scenography and music. Gallouët defines exotic as “‘coming from foreign lands and cultures,’ therefore also ‘foreigner,’ and even ‘strange’ and ‘bizarre.’ The Orient is considered exotic in the XVIIIth century.”
Gallouët’s work has been published widely in North America and Europe; she has several forthcoming articles, and is currently working on two book projects.
A member of the HWS staff since 1986, Gallouët received her doctorate and master’s from Rutgers University, her B.A. cum laude from Hope and her Bacalauréat, with honors, from Académie de Grenoble. She was the initiator of HWS’s French study abroad programs.