Cécile Alduy
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Cécile Alduy

Professor of French and Italian
2003: Docteur ès Lettres (Ph.D.), cum laude, University of Reims, France
1999: D.E.A., cum laude, French Literature, University of Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle
1994-1999: École Normale Supérieure (Ulm), Paris, France
1997: Agrégation de Lettres Modernes (Rank: 2nd)
1996: Maîtrise (B.A.), Paris VII - Sorbonne Nouvelle

Cécile Alduy works on notions of "nationhood", "identity," on cultural and political constructions and mythologies of "Frenchness" at critical junctures of France's cultural history. Areas of interests include the history and mythology of national and ethnic identities since the Renaissance, far right ideology and rhetoric (National Front/Rassemblement national), the relations between cultural, literary and medical discourses on gender and the body in early modern Europe, poetry and poetics, narrative forms and their discontent, French cinema and contemporary French literature, and gender studies.

Her last book, La Langue de Zemmour was published by Seuil in February 2022 (it was featured in the tv night show Quotidien and L’instant M on France Inter radio among others).

Her previous book, Ce qu'ils disent vraiment. Les présidentiables pris aux mots (Seuil, 2017), combines digital humanities tools on wide corpora of political discourse with stylistic and rhetorical analysis, narratology, barthesian mythemes, the history of ideas to parse the discursive output and communication strategies of the major presidential candidates of the 2017 election.

Her book Marine Le Pen prise aux mots. Décryptage du nouveau discours frontiste (Seuil, 2015) was the first to propose a comprehensive, corpus-based comparative analysis of the discourse, lexicon, mythemes, and ideological tenets of far right leaders Jean-Marie and Marine Le Pen.

Cécile Alduy contributes regularly to French, British and American media: she has written a profile of Marine Le Pen for The Atlantic, as well as many investigative, analytical and opinion pieces in Le Monde, Foreign Affairs, Politico, The Nation, The Boston Review, L'Obs, Sciences Humaines, ZAdig, le 1, Le Nouveau Magazine Litéraire, AOC, etc.

She has co-edited with Dominic Thomas and Bruno Cornellier a special issue of the journal "Occasions" on "The Charlie Hebdo Attacks and their Aftermath" that gathers over a dozen essays from French, Canadian, American and English intellectuals from all horizons.

Her previous book, The Politics of Love: Poetics and Genesis of the "Amours" in Renaissance France (1549-1560) (Geneva: Droz, 2007), examines how the poetics of French Petrarchan love collections was exploited by the generation of Ronsard and Du Bellay to promote a nationalist agenda, that of a "Defense and Illustration of the French Tongue" and its cultural supremacy.

In Renaissance studies, she has published extensively on the works of Marot, Scève, Du Bellay, Ronsard, Louise Labé, La Boétie, Montaigne, Rabelais, and Philippe Jaccottet among others. Her publications also include a revised critical edition of Maurice Scève's Délie (Paris: STFM, 2001) and a comprehensive study of all works written by or on Scève from his lifetime to the present (Maurice Scève. Roma: Memini, 2006). She has served as guest editor of two collected volumes: a special issue of Réforme Humanisme Renaissance entitled "Licences et censures poétiques. La littérature érotique et pornographique vernaculaire à la Renaissance" (vol. 69, 2009); and the proceedings of the 2008 interdisciplinary conference Between Experience and Experiment In The Early Modern World, co-edited with Roland Greene and published in Republic of Letters (2010).

Prof. Alduy was the Chair of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages from 2020 to 2023. Previously, she has served as Director of the French and Italian Department (2015-2019), and Director of the Center of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS) from 2010 to 2013.

She is an affiliated scholar at the Freeman Spogli Institute as well as a "chercheur associée" at the CEVIPOF, Sciences Po.

In 2007, Cécile Alduy was awarded the "Médaille de l'ordre des Lettres et des Arts."


Selected Articles

Ce que disent les Français de la laïcité: consensus républicain et polémiques identitaires.” In Les nouveaux Vocabulaires de la laïcité. Ed. by Valérie Amiraux, Charles Mercier and David Koussens. Paris: Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de L’Homme (December 2020): 127-148.

“‘J’entens… mais quoy?’ Style and Cognition in Rabelais.” Théories critiques et littérature de la Renaissance: Mélanges en l’honneur de Lawrence Kritzman. Ed. by David LaGuardia and Todd Reeser. Paris: Éditions Honoré Champion (2020): 243-258.

Nouveaux discours, nouveaux succès.” Pouvoirs 157, special issue “Le Front National” (June 2016): 17-29. *“Mots, mythes, médias: mutations et invariants de la rhétorique frontiste.”

Front National: Les Faux-Semblants. Ed. by Nonna Mayer, Alexandre Dézé and Sylvain Crépon. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po (2015): 247-268. Print.




Pigott Hall, Bldg 260, Rm 109

Research Interests

  • Digital Humanities


  • Film History, Criticism & Theory


  • French Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


  • Political History, Theory & Culture