Professor of French and Francophone Studies Catherine Gallouët, the John Milton Potter Professor of the Humanities, says, “It is both deeply touching and empowering to be awarded this endowed chair. I feel the different layers of my work, my research, my teaching and my service, which are intertwined and inseparable in my mind, are all being recognized and validated. It encourages me to venture further in areas of research that can be, at times, controversial or difficult, but that inform what I want my teaching to be. I am so thankful to be given the opportunity to travel more, to attend events, consult collections in different places, meet and exchange with other scholars. It is exhilarating.”
Gallouët is the author of several books and some 50 articles and book chapters examining culture, race and the French Enlightenment through the lens of 18th century French literature. Her research has been devoted to the author Pierre de Marivaux and to analyzing the construction of race in 18th century European culture. Her forthcoming articles and book chapters deal with the rhetoric of resistance in fictional African representations, the giraffe as the object of European naturalist discourse, 18th century black characters in contemporary cinema and the racialization of stock characters in Marivaux’s last play.
Gallouët organized the 2009 NEASECS annual meeting (North East American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies) at HWS; she was also co organizer of the 2014 “Marivaux” conference at the Université Aix-Marseille, as well as the 2018 “L’Afrique des savants européens – The Africa of European Scholars (17th-20th centuries)” international conference at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Sénégal. She is the principal organizer of the international SATOR conference, to be held at HWS in October 2018.
Recipient of the 2002 Faculty Prize for Excellence in Research and two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, Gallouët was awarded the 2014-15 John Readie and Florence B. Kinghorn Global Fellowship by her colleagues in recognition of her exemplary global citizenship on a continued basis. She is a member of the executive committee of the research groups GRREA (Groupe de Recherches sur les Représentations Européennes de l’Afrique et des Africains aux 17e et 18e siècles,) and SATOR (Société d’Analyse de la TOpique Romanesque.)
Before joining the HWS faculty in 1986, Gallouët earned her doctorate and master’s from Rutgers University, her B.A. cum laude from Hope College and her Bacalauréat, with honors, from Académie de Grenoble. Several times chair of the French and Francophone Studies Department, she served as dean of William Smith College from 2014 to 2017.