I grew up in Virginia just outside of Washington, DC. I studied French and English at the College of William and Mary and then did my Masters and PhD in French at Princeton University. At Princeton I was a member of l’Avant-Scène, a French-language acting troupe. My thesis, however, focused on Paris and I spent a year of my PhD at ENS-Ulm. I arrived at Queen’s in 2018 as a Junior Research Fellow and I’m now a Career Development Fellow in French.
I teach Modern French Literature (nineteenth century to the present) and translation into English. I also lead an annual workshop devoted to French theatre in performance.
My primary interests are the intersections between biopolitics and media, and ephemerality in contemporary French culture. My first book, Paris and the Parasite: Noise, Health, and Politics in the Media City (MIT Press, 2021), builds on work by the French philosopher Michel Serres. He draws attention to the four meanings of “parasite” in French: an uninvited guest, a harmful organism, a mooch, and noise. He argues that these four meanings are intertwined. I apply this idea to urbanism, asking who and what constitute the parasites of Paris. The city has been shaped by what I call anti-parasitic urbanism: the prioritization of cleanliness, order, efficiency and clarity at the expense of the city’s social mixity, its biodiversity, and its capacity to surprise us. Through close readings of texts and practices that challenge the anti-parasitism of the city (including street art and parkour, protests and riots, literature and film), I argue for a radically different approach to urbanism and urban life.
My second book project, tentatively entitled Sans Public: Rehearsal as Theatre in France Today, takes the curious situation of France’s second Covid-19 lockdown, when actors were allowed into rehearsal rooms but spectators weren’t allowed into theatres, as a starting point to interrogate the relationship between rehearsal and spectacle in contemporary French theatre more broadly. It looks at a variety of cases where the show is not the (primary) goal of the rehearsal process, or where the rehearsal process becomes an aesthetic object. These include certain approaches to écriture de plateau, theatre as practice-based research, digital mediations of rehearsal processes, and non-representational practices like drama therapy. The book is an attempt to speak about the aesthetic of that which is not meant to be seen.
- ‘Parkour Fails and Hébertisme: Laughing at the New Man,’ Contemporary French and Francophone Studies: SITES 27, no. 1 (2023): 74-82.
- ‘The Icon, the Exile: Dante in Contemporary Italian Street Art,’ Dante Alive, edited by Simone Marchesi and Francesco Ciabattoni, Routledge, 2022.
- Paris and the Parasite: Noise, Health, and Politics in the Media City. MIT Press, 2021.
- ‘Between Memory and Mobilization: The Graffiti and Street Art of the Paris Commune,’ Nineteenth-Century French Studies 49, no. 3 (2021): 238-257.
- ‘Le Groupe fait de/du bruit: communication et communauté dans Mort de quelqu’un de Jules Romains,’ Modern Language Notes, 134, no. 4 (2019): 764-782.
- ‘What Dies in the Street: Camus’s La Peste and Infected Networks,’ French Forum 41, no. 3 (2017): 192-207.