Professional Biographical Information


Ph.D., Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University (2016)
M.A., Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University (2011)
B.A. (summa cum laude), Romance Languages and Literatures, Mount Holyoke College (2009)

Research Interests

My research focuses on the literatures of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France and Italy, and I am especially interested in the connections between literature, science, and technology. The affinity between literature and lens instruments is the subject of my current book project, Literary Lens Crafters: Optics and Politics in Early Modern France, which analyzes the relationship between vision, knowledge, representation, and power in texts that depict France’s political landscape as it transitions toward absolute monarchy. In dialogue with early modern optics, this study examines the concept of fiction and foregrounds the affinity of texts and lenses in order to highlight literature’s role as it relates to politics and power.

I have also collaborated on projects on women writers in eighteenth-century France, and I am currently part of two faculty research and teaching groups, “The Global Pre-Modern” and “Dis/Information”.


Book Project:

Literary Lens Crafters: Optics & Politics in Early Modern France (In Progress)

Articles & Book Chapters:

“The Critical Occhiale: Lenses, Readers, and Critics in the Polemic Regarding Marino’s L’Adone,” Renaissance Studies 35.2 (2021), pp. 170-187 []

“Missed Connections: Literary History and Saint-Aubin’s Le Danger des liaisons,” in Encounters in the Arts, Literature, and Philosophy, eds. Jérôme Brillaud and Virginie Greene (Bloomsbury, 2021), pp. 75-79.

Jaya Kannan, Sara Brenneis, and Sanam Nader-Esfahani, “Galleries of Language: Maker-Centered Learning and the Language and Culture Classroom,” CALICO Journal 38.1 (2021), pp. 43-78.

Book Reviews

Review of Nancy M. Frelick, ed., The Mirror in Medieval and Early Modern Culture: Specular Reflections (2016), in Renaissance and Reformation 42.4 (2019), pp. 221-223.

Digital Projects

“Works of Fiction and Non-Fiction in French by Women in the Eighteenth Century,” Database on Harvard Dataverse [] (2019)

Teaching Interests

At the intermediate (200) level, I have taught FREN-205 ("Language and Literature") and FREN-208 ("French Conversation"). In FREN-205, I combine the study of grammar with literary analysis through engagement with the character of Arsène Lupin as he appears in the writings of Maurice Leblanc and its adaptations (illustrations, manga, cinema, television). Students apply their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary through assignments that invite them to craft their own Lupin-like character, culminating in a short story. In FREN-208, my course focuses on the concept of "adaptations." Working with material across various forms of representation, it aims to develop vocabulary related to the arts, to examine the particularities of different media, and to reflect on why we continue to tell and retell certain stories.

With a focus on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century France, the guiding threads of my 300-level literature classes generally address questions of knowledge (its sources, its transformations, …), representation, and how Subjects negotiate their relationship to reality in an ever-changing world. In the spirit of the early modern period, which inherently fosters dialogue between various disciplines and national traditions, I adopt a very broad definition of literature. As such, French texts will be complemented by non-French readings (primarily Italian), and novels and poems will appear alongside travel narratives, political pamphlets, and works of natural history and philosophy. In addition to understanding the place of a particular work in its cultural and historical context, my courses invite students to draw connections between this distant past and our own present preoccupations. I also enjoy experimenting with creative assignments, combining our study of texts with that of images and objects and encouraging students to showcase their critical and analytical thinking in imaginative ways.

Prior to my arrival at Amherst, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of French at New York University (2016-2017), where I taught a literature survey from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution and an upper-level literature course (“From the New World to the Moon”), in addition to a graduate seminar on the Essais of Michel de Montaigne.

300-level courses taught at amherst
  • Writing Under the Influence: Italy and the Literature of Renaissance France
  • Trial and Error: An Interdisciplinary Experiment with Montaigne's Essais
  • True or False: The Search for Reality in Early Modern France
  • From Sprezzatura to Social Media: Practices of Self-Representation in Seventeenth-Century France and Today
  • Refractions: Optics and Literature in Early Modern France

Awards & Honors

Class of 1952 Dean Eugene S. Wilson Faculty Development Fellowship, Amherst College (2020-2021)

Morgan Dissertation Completion Grant, Harvard University (2015-2016)

Augustus Clifford Tower Fellowship for Study in France, Harvard University (2014-2015)

Department of Romance Languages and Literatures Teaching Prize, Harvard University (2014)

Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University (2011-2012, 2013-2014)

Graduate Fellow, Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (Fall 2012)