Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History
Associate Professor, University of Southern California, 05/13/2010-
Assistant Professor of French and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California, 08/15/2004-05/13/2010
Description of Research
Summary Statement of Research Interests
My research focuses on early modern French literature and, in a broader fashion, on the culture of early modern Europe. I believe that the study of the early modern period is akin to anthropological research in which one interprets signs of another culture while relying on and reshaping one's own conceptual tools. My study of French religious and political satire entitled "Less Rightly Said: Readers and Scandals in Sixteenth-Century France" was published by Stanford University Press in 2009. "Less Rightly Said" shows that pamphlets helped to transform the theological and dogmatic function of religion in the sixteenth century into a way of constructing, seeing, and inhabiting a world of differences.Thanks to techniques that produced changes in reading and the increase of the availability and significance of the printed book, and thanks to the virulence of polemics and satire, pamphlets contributed most strongly to the development in the sixteenth century of what the linguist George Lakoff calls in a contemporary context the “political mind.”
I am currently at work (together with Natania Meeker) on an edited volume tentatively entitled "The Spiritual Life of Plants." Taking a long view over the early modern period and into the Enlightenment, this collection will assess what role plants have played in shaping the emergent humanities. My current book project "Feathers of the Phoenix" examines the mediating role played by material objects in cross-cultural communication between the early modern Ottomans and French. Other projects underway include a book-length study on the religious culture of the European Reformation under Ottoman rule (especially in Hungary) in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
I teach undergraduate classes on French Renaissance literature, travel literature, cartography, zoology, and botany.
My graduate teaching focuses on conceptions of the animal, both in a modern and in an early modern context, and on non-theological, discursive forms of religious culture, especially as they contribute to the formation of "publicness" or the diversification of early modern societies (converging around problems such as religious satire, mystical "modus loquendi," and Bible translations into the vernacular) and Orientalism and its critiques in French literature.
I have been the recipient of fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the DAAD.
Early modern French Literature, the culture of reading, injurious speech and publicity, the literature of travel, religion as discourse, and the plant / animal / human boundary in early modern culture.
Conferences and Other Presentations
"Disposable Subjects: Huguenots and Turks in Sixteenth-Century France", Renaissance Society of America, Talk/Oral Presentation, Montreal, Canada,
"La virilité à l’épreuve du voyage: les voyageurs français dans l’empire ottoman au XVIe siècle", Invited lecture at the Institut français, Universität Basel, Talk/Oral Presentation, Basel, Switzerland, Invited,
"Tragic Orient", Sixteenth Century Society, Talk/Oral Presentation, Montreal, Canada,
""The Lust of Seeing: The Turkish "Navigations and Peregrinations" of Nicolas de Nicolay", Talk/Oral Presentation, Istanbul, Bogazici University, Invited, 2007-2008
"A becsmérlés paradoxona a tizenhatodik-századi francia röpiratokban", Talk/Oral Presentation, ELTE, The Renaissance Seminar, Budapest, Invited, 2007-2008
"Paradoxical Vituperation: The Rhetoric of Verbal Offense in Early Modern France", Talk/Oral Presentation, Brown University, Dept. of Comparative Literature, Invited, 2007-2008
"Geographies of the Unkind Imagination in the Polemical Literature of the French Reformation", Talk/Oral Presentation, Humanities Center, Harvard University, February 15, 2007, Dept. of Romance Languages, Harvard University, Invited, 2006-2007
Less Rightly Said: Scandals and Readers in Sixteenth-Century France. Stanford University Press.
"Malaise in Music: French Hip Hop on Trial" in "Paul and the Philosophers". Fordham University Press.
"‘La Plume de fer’: vers une esthétique de l'impact chez Ronsard" in Ronsard poète militant: Les Discours des Misères de ce temps. pp. 92-108. Paris.
The Scandal of Religion: Luther and Public Speech. pp. 122-136. New York: Political Theologies/Fordham University Press.
Le faisible qui ne se fait pas: la fantaisie évangélique de l'écriture chez Honorat Rambaud. pp. p. 183-207. Lyon: Lyon et L'illustration de la langue française à la Renaissance/Presses de L'ENS.
Jean-Baptiste Trento and Pierre Eskrich. Mappe Monde Nouvelle Papistique: Histoire de la Mappe-Monde Papistique, en laquelle est déclaré tout ce qui est contenu et pourtraict en la grande table, ou carte de la mappe-monde (Genève, 1566). Renaissance Quarterly. pp. 1340-1342.
Christian Belin, ed. La méditation au XVIIe siècle: Rhétorique, art, spiritualité. Renaissance Quarterly.
Szabari, A., Meeker, N.
From the Century of the Pods to the Century of the Plants: Plant Horror, Politics, and Vegetal Ontology. Discourse.
Vol. 34 (1)
"Strawberries on Life Support." L.A. Review of Books (January, 2012). Review of Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010) and Timothy Morton, The Ecological Thought (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010). Los Angeles Review of Books.
The Way of Imperfection: Laughter and Mysticism in Marguerite de Navarre's Heptameron. French Forum.
Vol. 33 (3), pp. 1-16.
Rabelais Parrhesiastes: The Rhetoric of Insult and Rabelais's Cynical Mask. Modern Langauge Notes/Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. p. S84-123.
parler seulement de moi: The Disposition of the Subject in Montaigne's Essay 'De l'art de conferer'. Modern Langauge Notes/Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. p. 1001-1024.
Honors and Awards
Provost's Fellowship for Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, USC, 2010-2011
Huntington Library Research Fellowship Recipient, USC-Huntington, EMSI faculty fellowship,
USC-Huntington EMSI Faculty Fellowship,
Radcliffe Institute, Fellow, 2006-2007
USC Innovative Teaching Award, Awarded for the development of course on secularization and secularism in France and the US , 2006-2007
USC Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund Award, Individual Research Grant, 2005-2006
Service to the University
Director of Graduate Studies, French, 2012-2013
Service to the Profession
organizer, Portraits of the Traveler, Huntington Library ,
organizer, Modern Language Association, Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Organizer of panel "Making Publics in Early Modern France",
co-organizer, The Spiritual Life of Plants, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 2008-2009
organizer, respondent, The Memory of Religious Troubles in Sixteenth-Century France, Renaissance Society of America, panel, 2007-2008
Sixteenth-Century Studies, 2010-2011
Renaissance Society of America, 2006-2011
Modern Language Association, 2002-2011
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Department of Comparative Literature
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
University of Southern California
3501 Trousdale Parkway
Taper Hall of Humanities, #161
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0353
Phone: (213) 740-0102
Fax: (213) 740-8058