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Professor of French

Chair | Dey 143

At UNC since 2008


Ph.D University of Pennsylvania, 2008
M.A. University of Pennsylvania, 2003
A.B. Brown University, 2000


Professor Welch’s research and teaching focus on French literature and culture of the Ancien Régime, including theater and performing arts (especially musical theater and dance), prose fiction, travel literature, and journalism. Much of her work has explored the relationship between literature and France’s global engagements through translation, travel, imperialism, and diplomacy during this dynamic period of cultural history. Her first book, A Taste for the Foreign: Worldly Knowledge and Literary Pleasure in Early Modern French Fiction , examined how the exotic became a crucial aesthetic category for the early French novel, from Rabelais’s Quart livre to Galland’s Mille et une nuits. Her most recent book, A Theater of Diplomacy: International Relations and the Performing Arts in Early Modern France (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017) investigates how multimedia theatrical entertainments (particularly ballet) mediated France’s diplomatic relationships within and beyond Europe from 1565 to 1715. This project received support from an ACLS Ryskamp Fellowship and a National Humanities Center Fellowship. Trained as a comparatist, Professor Welch has also published on literary relations between France and Spain (particularly French responses to Cervantes).

Professor Welch’s current research explores the figure of “noise” in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature. This project draws on media studies and acoustics to examine how authors captured the chatter, babble, murmurs, and rumors swirling around them during a period of social and political upheaval.

Promoting scholarly collaboration and exchange is another important aspect of Professor Welch’s work. She is a faculty adviser for the ROMS Colloquium Series and a co-convener of the Triangle French History and Culture Seminar.


Typical Courses

Professor Welch offers rotating-topic graduate seminars on Ancien Régime French literature and culture. Recent topics have included “Les arts du corps,” “Le théâtre et ses publics,” and “News, Media, and Culture in 17th-Century France” (co-taught with Duke University Professor Michèle Longino). Undergraduate offerings include FREN 315 (Imposteur!: Faking and False Identities in French and Francophone Drama and Film), FREN 387 (Paris/Versailles: La cour et la ville) and FREN 280 (French “Discoveries” of the Americas), and a First-Year Seminar “La mode: Fashion in French Culture.”

Awards & Honors

  • ACLS Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship
  • Research Triangle Foundation Fellowship – National Humanities Center

Recently Directed Dissertations

  • Diana Garcia – Oeil, voyeur et écriture: Poétique visuelle et expérimentation dans la littérature du XVIIIe siècle
  • Andrew Gard – The Rise of the Coquette in Seventeenth-Century French Theater
  • Catherine Viano – Theater of Machines, Theater as Machine
  • Adrianna Beaman – Orientalisms in Pre-Classical French Drama (in progress)

Graduate Students Advised by Professor Welch

Professor Welch is currently accepting new advisees.