Skip to main content

Assistant Professor of French | Dey 142

At UNC since 2013


Ph.D. Harvard University, 2013
M.A. Harvard University, 2005
B.A. Harvard University, 2001


I work on French literature, culture, and thought of the long 19th century and critical theory, with interests in the novel; the environmental humanities; Naturalism; space, place, and mapping; cultural genealogies of sex, sexuality, and gender; biopolitics; literary politics; and how we read today. I also convene the Carolina Seminar on The Anthropocene, the Humanities, and the Social Sciences. My first book, Mapping Prostitution: Sex, Space, and the Novel in 19th-Century Paris (supported by a 2016 IAH Faculty Fellowship), is currently under revision, and I am now working on a second book project, Weathering Modernity: The Novel Climates of Nineteenth-Century France, which builds a case for reading 19th-century French novels today as climate fictions that train us to interpret and weather the climate we have made. I was invited to present early research for this book at the 2016-17 “Futures of French” series of talks at La Maison Française at NYU. I am also coediting a special issue of Nottingham French Studies with  Hélène Sicard-Cowan on “Émile Zola and Science.” My research has appeared in Nineteenth-Century French Studies, L’Esprit créateur, and a volume on biopolitics and the TV series Orphan Black; forthcoming work for NCFS and Dix-Neuf focuses on climate in Zola and Maupassant. I received the 2015 Lawrence R. Schehr Memorial Award for best junior faculty essay and the 2011 Naomi Schor Memorial Award for best graduate student essay at the Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium for essays related to my first book.



  • Mapping Prostitution: Sex, Space, and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century Paris (book; under revision)
  • Weathering Modernity: The Novel Climates of Nineteenth-Century France (book; in progress)

Articles and chapters

  • “Being Together: Immunity and Community in Orphan Black.” Orphan Black: Performance, Gender, Biopolitics. Eds. Andrea Goulet and Robert Rushing. Bristol, UK: Intellect Books, 2018.
  • “The Climate of Naturalism: Zola’s Atmospheres.” L’Esprit Créateur 57.1 (Spring 2017): 20-33. Spec. Issue: “French Ecocriticism/L’Écocritique française.” Eds. Daniel Finch-Race and Julien Weber.
  • “Speculative Capital: Zola’s Repossession of Paris.” L’Esprit Créateur 55.3 (Fall 2015): 114-126. Spec. Issue: “Paris, Imagined Capital: Economic Transition and Modernity (17th to 19th Centuries).” Eds. Andrew Billing and Juliette Cherbuliez.
  • “Turning Tricks, Turning the Tables: Plotting the Brasserie à femmes in Tabarant’s Virus d’amour.” Nineteenth-Century French Studies 41.3-4 (Spring-Summer 2013): 255-271.

Forthcoming and in-progress articles: 

  • “Zola’s Dirt: Climate, Territory, and the Scandal of Fin-de-siècle Naturalism.” Dix-Neuf 23.2 (Spring 2019).
  • “Climate Control: Place and Provincial Capital in Maupassant’s Mont-Oriol.” Dix-Neuf 23.4 (December 2019). Spec. Issue: “Ecoregions.” Eds. Daniel Finch-Race and Valentina Gosetti.
  • “Bad Feminism and the Politics of Reading.” Incipit dialogue on gender and sexuality in nineteenth-century French studies. Nineteenth-Century French Studies (2019-20).
  • “Paris, Capital of the Capitalocene: The Commune as Climate Crisis.” Nineteenth-Century French Studies (May 2021). Spec. Issue: “La Commune n’est pas morte.” Eds. Robert St. Clair and Seth Whidden.
  • “Zola: The Aesthetics and Anesthetics of Vice” (under review)

Typical Courses

  • FREN 285: Sex, Philosophy, and Politics: Revolutionary Literature in Translation
  • FREN 286: Food for Thought: The Culture of Cuisine in Modern France
  • FREN 331: French Civilization II
  • FREN 390: Cultures of Resistance
  • FREN 489: 19th-Century Literature and Culture (topic: “Sex, Modernity, and Novel Prostitution”)
  • FREN 490: The Climate of Modernity: Literary Ecologies of the Anthropocene
  • FREN 515: Social Networks: Technology and Sociability in Modern Fran

Awards & Honors

  • UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities Schwab Academic Excellence Award. 2017.
  • UNC Institute for the Arts and Humanities Faculty Fellowship (IAH Legacy Fellow). Spring 2016.
  • UNC Junior Faculty Development Award. 2015.
  • Lawrence R. Schehr Memorial Award (for best junior faculty essay), Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium, November 2015 (for “Branding Naturalism: The Ecology of Vice in Zola”).
  • Naomi Schor Memorial Award (for best graduate essay), Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium, October 2011 (for “An Unhomely Home: Naturalist Nostalgia and the Maison de tolérance”)

Graduate Students Advised by Professor Tanner

Professor Tanner is currently accepting new advisees.