Todd W. Reeser
Professor of French
Office: 1328 A Cathedral of Learning
PhD, French Studies, University of Michigan (1997)
MA, French Studies, University of Michigan (1992)
BA, Oberlin College (1989)
Research Interests & Fields of study
Renaissance Studies; French Renaissance Prose; Montaigne and Rabelais; Gender and Sexuality; Critical and Gender Theory; Masculinities; French Cultural Studies.
- French Cultural Studies: "L’Idée de la France"
- The French Novel in Translation
- France in the 21st Century
- French Conversation (French through Film)
- Medieval and Renaissance Literature
- Masculinity: Theory, Film, Culture
- Montaigne in Dialogue (graduate)
- Gender and Sexuality in the French Renaissance (graduate)
- Contemporary Perspectives on the French Renaissance (graduate)
- Rabelais (graduate)
- Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (graduate, interdisciplinary course)
- Masculinities in Theory and Practice (graduate, interdisciplinary course)
- Queer Theory Past and Present (graduate, interdisciplinary course)
- Birth of a Nation: France and Frenchness in the Renaissance (graduate)
Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance (manuscript under review at the University of Chicago Press).
"Transgender France," special issue of Esprit Créateur (Spring 2013).
“The Idea of France,” co-edited special issue of Contemporary French and Francophone Studies (Sites). (Spring 2013).
Approaches to Teaching the Works of François Rabelais, co-edited with Floyd Gray (New York: Modern Language Assocation, 2011). In book series "Approaches to Teaching World Literature."
Masculinities in Theory (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2010). 236 pp.
“Entre hommes”: French and Francophone Masculinities in Theory and Culture, co-edited with Lewis Seifert (University of Delaware Press, 2008).
Moderating Masculinity in Early Modern Culture (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2006). 288 pp.
"French Masculinities," special issue of Esprit Créateur (Fall 2003), co-edited with Lewis Seifert.
Numerous articles on Renaissance literature/culture, gender studies, critical theory, and French film in journals such as Romanic Review, French Review, Romance Quarterly, French Literature Series, and Exemplaria.
Reeser completed his graduate work in French Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1997. After having taught for five years at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, he came to teach at Pittsburgh in Fall 2005.
Having served as the inaugural Associate Director of the Humanities Center, and then as Acting Director in AY2011-12, Reeser helped foster interdiscplinary connections and worked with Pitt fellows and with external fellows who come to campus. He is supervising a number of dissertations in French, and he also serves on numerous PhD committees in French and in other departments.
Reeser’s research interests lie largely in the areas of gender and sexuality broadly conceived, especially in the early modern period, and he is interested in the various intersections between the ancient world, the Renaissance, and modern theoretical concepts.
Reeser’s book Moderating Masculinity in Early Modern Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006) proposes a model of masculinity and alterity based on an Aristotelian notion of moderation. In the Renaissance period, masculinity often aligns itself with the virtue of moderation, as it positions its various "others" (e.g. women, the sodomite, the Amerindian) as excess and lack.
In 2010, Reeser published his second monograph with Wiley-Blackwell, an interdisciplinary book written for a general educated audience. Masculinities in Theory is intended to provide a series of theoretical models for considering the growing field of masculinity studies from a literary/cultural perspective, especially as inflected by post-structuralist thought. The book synthesizes key approaches already in place and proposes new models.
Reeser has just completed his next book “Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance,” which deals with the complicated question of the reception of Platonic sexuality in philosophical and fictional texts of the European Renaissance, from Leonardo Bruni in the early 15th century to Montaigne in the late 16th. Comparative and comprehensive in scope, the manuscript studies how hermeneutics and sexuality do and do not dovetail in a number of textual-sexual contexts.
Selected Awards and Honors
Solmsen Fellowship, Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin-Madison (year-long residential fellowship, 2012-2013)
Kraus Fellowship in Rare Books, Beinecke Library, Yale University
Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship, Washington DC, (short-term fellowship)
Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship, University of Texas, Austin
Residential fellowship at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbuttel, Germany, 2008
Various teaching and research grants, U Pittsburgh, 2005-present
NEH Long-term Fellowship, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 2003–04
Short-term Fellowship, Newberry Library, Chicago, 2004