French PhD Program 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. Find out more about some of our French success stories.


Eléonore Bertrand

Dissertation title: "Dérives du sujet sexué français: les instances fraternelles entre romantisme et modernité"
Dissertation director: Giuseppina Mecchia

Anna Dimitrova
Dissertation title:  "Impasse in Multilingual Spaces: Politics of Language and Identity in Contemporary Francophone Contact Zones"
Dissertation director: David Pettersen


Karen Adams

Adjunct Professor of French, Norwich University
Dissertation title: “Reimagining Gender, Reimagining Kinship: Cross-Dressing, Sex Change, and Family Structure in Four Medieval French Narratives"
Dissertation director: Renate Kosinski

Mert Ertunga

Dissertation title: "Negotiating Literary Identity During the Divide Between the Philosophes and the Anti-Philosophes (1745-1765)"
Dissertation director: Giuseppina Mecchia


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
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 Romanowski

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
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

Instructor of French, Antioch College
Dissertation title: "The Discursive Construction of the Ivorian Nation in the Period of Ivoirité"
Dissertation director: Roberta Hatcher


Melissa Deininger

Associate Professor, Iowa State University
Dissertation title: "After the Revolution: Terror, Literature, and the Nation in Modern France"
Dissertation director: Giuseppina Mecchia

Robert Fagley

French Faculty, Slippery Rock University
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

Associate 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
Dissertation title: "Henri Michaux, poet-painter"
Dissertation directors: Roberta Hatcher and Daniel Russell

Nacer Khelouz

Associate 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

Assistant Director of the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Assistant Director of ACMRS Publications
Managing Editor of Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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

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
Dissertation title: "The Blind Spot in a Dream of Dissymmetry"
Dissertation director: Yves Citton


Elisabeth Sauvage-Callaghan

Associate Professor of French, Clarion University
Dissertation title: "Beyond the paradox of the nostalgic modernist: a study of temporality in the works of J.-K. Huysmans"
Dissertation director: Philip Watts

Janet Coccaro

Dissertation title: “Illusions and disillusions: the search for truth in Jan Potocki’s manuscript found in Saragossa”
Dissertation director: Yves Citton



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