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Cynthia Laura Vialle-Giancotti



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novel theory
gothic novels
gender studies
early modern literature
Art History

Cynthia Laura Vialle-Giancotti

PhD Candidate in French and Italian Literature

2021-22 Graduate Dissertation Fellow, Clayman Institute for Gender Research
Cynthia is a PhD candidate whose research work encompasses 17th and 18th century French and Italian literary forms, with a focus on novels, literary portraits and gendered representations. 
My dissertation focuses on the portrayal of the body in French and Italian fiction of the 17th and 18th centuries. Its principal aim is to show the import of 17th century female authors in shaping 18th century descriptive practices. It also reveals the functions that descriptions of the body serve in the 18th century: instructing and guiding the reader, as well as entertaining her. Lastly, it underlines how descriptive practices offered a medium for female authors to assert their cultural primacy, against male narrative traditions.
All along my academic career, spanning from Milan, to Paris to Stanford, I have worked on marvelous, supernatural, fantastic and Gothic literatures, with a focus on 18th and 19th century French and British novels and short stories. This passion has surfaced in my research papers and conference talks, and lately, thanks to the collaboration with two colleagues from the ILAC department, it has led to the creation of a Research Unit on Gothic literature (, whose main goal is to conduct research on the Gothic from a transnation, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary perspective. We have invited guests from all over the world, who have presented work on Gothic works from the Caribbean to Thailand. 
Right next to the Gothic, teaching is my greatest passion. At Stanford I have taught  and TA'd fifteen classes on various subjects (French language, European History, Italian literature, German Culture, English Gothic Novels and History of Revolutions) using innovative activites, assignments and approaches. My whole teaching approach is oriented toward one goal: to make students perceive the real-life impact of literary studies in particular and the humanities more in general. I am committed to rendering the study of the humanities and the apprenticeship of languages accessible to our diverse community. As a first generation college student I understand the difficulties that students from this community encounter and I am happy to support them in their learning needs. 
Research Interests: gender studies, life-writing genres, the body and issues of corporality (death, sickness, aging), supernatural genres, violence against women, the novel and novel theory, history and art history.

Classes Taught at Stanford: 
Summer 2021, Graduate Instructor, Revolutions (online), with Dan Edelstein (Summer Humanities Institute)
Summer 2021, Teaching Assistant, Capitals, with Adrian Daub, Lisa Surwillo
Summer 2020, Graduate Instructor, Revolutions (online), with Dan Edelstein (Summer Humanities Institute)
Spring 2020, Instructor, The Gothic Novel (online) with Margaret Cohen
Spring 2020, Teaching Assistant, Germany in Five Words (online), with Adrian Daub
Winter 2020, Teaching Assistant, Capitals, with Dan Edelstein, Lisa Surwillo, Adrian Daub
Spring 2019, Instructor, Introduction to Modern Italian Culture
Spring 2019, Teaching Assistant, Germany in Five Words (online), with Adrian Daub
Winter 2019, Teaching Assistant, Capitals, with Dan Edelstein, Lisa Surwillo, Adrian DaubMarch 2019 to June 2021
Language Courses
Winter 2021, Instructor, French I (online)
Fall 2020, Instructor, French I (online)
Summer 2019, Instructor, French IA
Spring 2017, Instructor, French 3
Winter 2016, Instructor, French 22
Fall 2016, Instructor, French I


2015: M.A with distinction Literature, arts and contemporary thought, French Modern Literature
2011: B.A. summa cum laude in Political Science and Languages, French and Chinese


Other Information

Giancotti, C. “Civil Rights Revisited: Review of Jeff Chang’s “We Gon’ Be Alright”, Stanford Humanities review