Todd W. Reeser
Professor of French
Office: 1328 A Cathedral of Learning
PhD, French Studies, University of Michigan
MA, French Studies, University of Michigan
BA, Oberlin College
Research Interests & Fields of study
Gender and Sexuality Studies; Critical/Gender Theory; Masculinities; Comparative Renaissance Studies; French Renaissance Prose; Montaigne and Rabelais: French Cultural Studies
Setting Plato Straight: Translating Ancient Sexuality in the Renaissance (forthcoming 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 Association, 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, Modern and Contemporary Frances, 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.
He served as the inaugural Associate Director of the Humanities Center, and then as Acting Director in AY2011-12, Reeser helped foster interdisciplinary 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. He is currently Director of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. In this capacity, he fosters interdisciplinary research, coordinates the curriculum, and advises graduate students working in gender studies.
Reeser’s first 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 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. He is working on several new projects, including a translation of one of the first French feminist renaissance texts (“The Ship of Virtuous Ladies” by Symphorien Champier), a study of masculinity and “awkward” affect, and a longer-term project on transgender France
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
- 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
- Gender and sexuality in 21st century France
- Masculinity: Theory, Film, Culture
- Montaigne in Dialogue (graduate)
- Gender and Sexuality in the French Renaissance (graduate)
- Contemporary Perspectives on the French Renaissance (graduate)
- Birth of a Nation: France and Frenchness in the 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)