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French Professor Spends Academic Year in France

August 5, 2009

Professor Nadine Berenguier in France
Professor Nadine Berenguier in France

Nadine Berenguier, associate professor of French, was one of two faculty members in 2008-09 who received a $1,500 CIE Faculty Development Grant, from funds provided by the vice president for academic affairs to do academic work abroad.

Berenguier spent the 2008-09 academic year on sabbatical leave in Aix-en-Provence, France, working on the manuscript of her book “Conduct Books in Eighteenth-Century France: Girls' Education and Enlightenment Discontent.”

Her account follows.

I am very grateful to have received a CIE grant to help fund the trip that took me to France for a sabbatical during the academic year 2008/09. I lived in Aix-en-Provence where I had contacts at the university. I spent most of the year working on the manuscript of my book “Conduct Books in Eighteenth-Century France: Girls' Education and Enlightenment Discontents.” This project investigates conduct books in eighteenth-century France, outlines the problematic status of a genre targeting a readership that was slowly acquiring the right to read, and also sheds light on the reception of such texts in periodicals of the time, on the status of their authors in early literary histories as well as on their legacy in the nineteenth century. It is under contract with Ashgate Publishing and will be published in the course of 2010.

Smaller projects also took up some of my time, especially contributions to two collaborative projects: “Dictionnaire des femmes créatrices”--spearheaded by Béatrice Didier and Antoinette Fouque and “Le Dictionnaire ds femmes des Lumières,” edited by Huguette Krief (Université de Provence) and Valérie André (Université libre de Bruxelles). With Huguette Krief, faculty member emerita at the University of Provence, I have discussed my future participation in yet another collaborative project that she is coordinating: the publication of the correspondence of Constance de Salm, a female writer and poet who published at the end of the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. This is very exciting for me, since Constance de Salm was a French writer who spent parts of her life in Germany. I have been looking for an opportunity to investigate the relationships between French and German cultures in the 18th century and this project will allow me to investigate this relationship.

I also seized the opportunity to meet with European colleagues. In the fall I attended a symposium in Paris organized by the SIEFAR (Société Internationale pour l'Étude des Femmes de l'Ancien Régime) and the IHMC (Institut d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, CNRS/ENS Paris) on “Les discours sur l'égalité/inégalité des femmes et des hommes de 1750 aux lendemains de la Révolution française” (The Discourse on the inequalities of women and men—1750-1804). It gave me a chance to meet or become reacquainted with a number of French scholars who work in a field that is closely related to mine.

In January I was invited to present my research at the faculty seminar at Cambridge University and it was a pleasure to have a seminal and informative discussion with colleagues and graduate students from the French department.

My time in France also enabled me to spend time at the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris where I went on a few research trips. Although more and more 18-century printed material appears on line, research trips to a major research library are not yet a thing of the past. Thanks to CIE for helping me fund my research during this memorable sabbatical year.

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