University of Pittsburgh


French PhD Alumni

Graduates of the French PhD program at Pitt are researching, teaching, publishing, and working at the highest levels of university administration in academic institutions throughout the US and abroad. Of the PhDs who have graduated in the last ten years, close to 90% (14 out of 16) found full-time academic jobs; nearly two-thirds of these jobs were tenure-track positions.

Pitt's PhDs in French teach or have taught full time at such institutions as Ball State U, Barnard College, California State U at Long Beach, Florida Institute of Technology, Gettysburg College, Hood College, Iowa State U, U of Glasgow, U of Missouri-Kansas City, U of New Mexico, U of Vermont, and Washington College. For featured alumni profiles, see here.




David Spieser

Assistant Professor of French, University of North Carolina, Wilmington


Dissertation title: " Nation, Region and Immigration in Contemporary 'French' Culture"

Dissertation director: Giuseppina Mecchia




Andrea Jonnson

Assistant Professor of French, Texas Tech University


Dissertation title: " Performing Home: Affective Intervals in 20th- and 21st- Century French Theatre and Slam Poetry"

Dissertation director: Todd Reeser




Jennifer Lawrence

Dissertation title: "Sade-Omizing Sexuality: Deconstructing the Gender Binary Through the Sadian Sexual Predator"

Dissertation director: Todd Reeser


Normand Raymond

Instructor of Philosophy, Sudbury University

Dissertation title: "Religious Differences: Subjectivity and Alterity in the Chanson de Roland"

Dissertation director: Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski



Charles-Louis Morand-Métivier

Assistant Professor of French, University of Vermont


Research interests:

Dissertation title: "Apprendre des Massacres: Emotions et Nation dans la littérature du Moyen-âge et de la Renaissance"

Dissertation director(s): Todd Reeser and Renate Blumenfield-Kosinski


Amy Romanoski

Dissertation title:  "Subject/Abject/Object: Reconfiguring Desire in Contemporary French Cultural Production"

Dissertation director:  Todd Reeser



Yahya Laayouni

Assistant Professor of Arabic and French, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania


Research interests:

Dissertation title: "Redefining Beur Cinema: Constituting Subjectivity through Film"

Dissertation Director(s): Giuseppina Mecchia and Randall Halle (German)

Zach Moir

Dissertation title: "Sex With Wittgenstein: Language, Narrative, and Repetition in Duras, Sartre and Genet"

Dissertation director:  Giuseppina Mecchia

Marina Starik

Dissertation title:" Morphologies of Becoming: Post human Dandies in Fin-de-Siècle France"

Dissertation director:  Giuseppina Mecchia



Cary Campbell


Dissertation title: "The Discursive Construction of the Ivorian Nation in the Period of Ivoirité"

Dissertation director: Roberta Hatcher



Melissa Deininger

Assistant Professor, Iowa State University


Dissertation title: "After the Revolution: Terror, Literature, and the Nation in Modern France"

Dissertation director: Giuseppina Mecchia

Robert Fagley

Instructor of French, University of Memphis


Dissertation title: "Bachelors, Bastards and Nomadic Masculinity: a study of illegitimacy in Maupassant and Gide"

Dissertation director: Giuseppina Mecchia

Teresa Johnson-Evans


Dissertation title: "History, Genre, Politics: The Cinema of Yamina Benguigui"

Dissertation director: Giuseppina Mecchia



Amy Lynelle

Visiting Lecturer in French, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Dissertation title: "Poetry of Revolution: Romanticism and National Projects in the 19th Century Haiti"
Dissertation Director: Giuseppina Mecchia



Gabriella Baika

Assistant Professor, Florida Institute of Technology

Research interests: Romance languages and literatures (early modern)
Dissertation title: "Lingua indisciplinata: A Study of the Sins of the Tongue in the Romance of the Rose and the Divine Comedy.”

Dissertation directors: Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski and Dennis Looney (Italian)

Alison Halasz

Instructor, University of Pittsburgh
E-mail: or
Web page:
Dissertation title: "Henri Michaux, poet-painter"
Dissertation directors: Roberta Hatcher and Daniel Russell

Nacer Khelouz

Assistant Professor of French
University of Missouri-Kansas City, Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures

Dissertation title:"Le roman algérien de langue française de l’entre-deux guerres à l’épreuve du politique: en lisant Robert Randau et Abdelkader Hadj Hamou" 

Dissertation director: Philip Watts



Aparna Nayak-Guercio

Associate Professor of French, California State University, Long Beach

Dissertation title: “The project of Liberation and the projection of national identity. Calvo, Aragon, Jouhandeau, 1944-1945”
Dissertation director: Philip Watts



Djehane Hassouna

Dissertation title: “The Echo of Solitude in the Romantic Representations of the Sea: Multivalence of a Motif in Romance Literatures”
Dissertation directors: Giuseppina Mecchia and Yves Citton



Noemie Parrat

Dissertation title: "Zola’s Woman as Unnatural Animal"
Dissertation Director: Giuseppina Mecchia

James Tarpley

Dissertation title: "The Algerian Island in the Novels of Albert Camus: The End of the Pied-Noir Adventure Tale"
Dissertation director: Philip Watts


Susan Dudash

Dissertation title: "Giving Voice to the People: Rhetoric, History, and Literary Representations of Social Conflict in the Late Middle Ages"
Dissertation director: Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski



Pamela Pears

Associate Professor of French, Washington College

Dissertation title: "Women’s Words: Postcolonial Francophone Literature in Viet Nam and Algeria"
Dissertation director: Philip Watts

Rajeshwari Vallury

Associate Professor of French, The University of New Mexico

Book title: University of Toronto Press: “‘Surfacing’ the Politics of Desire: Literature, Feminism and Myth.”

Dissertation director:



Dolores Buttry

Assistant Professor (German), University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Mark Sanford

Associate Dean of Graduate & Continuing Studies
Assistant Professor of Modern Languages, Muskingum College



Linda Rouillard

Associate Professor, University of Toledo


Dissertation topic: "Incest, marriage and penance in Philippe de Remi's La Manekine"

Dissertation director: Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski



Didier Course

Professor of French, Hood College


Dissertation topic: "Le sceptre et le diamant: metamorphoses du pouvoir et genese d’un imaginaire moderne (1560-1685)"

Dissertation director: Daniel Russell


Laurence Grove

Reader in French, University of Glasgow

Director, Stirling Maxwell Centre for the Study of Text/Image Cultures

Dissertation topic: "Emblematics and seventeenth-century French literature: Descartes and La Fontaine"

Dissertation director: Daniel Russell



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