Guest speaker, Katherine Ibbett is Professor of French at the University of Oxford, and Caroline de Jager Fellow in French at Trinity College, Oxford; she has previously taught at University College London and the University of Michigan. She is the author of Compassion’s Edge: Fellow-Feeling and its Limits in Early Modern France (Penn, 2017) and The Style of the State in French Theater (Ashgate, 2009), and the co-editor of Walter Benjamin’s Hypothetical French Trauerspiel (Yale French Studies 2013). She is currently working on a book entitled Liquid Empire, about the writing of water in France and the Americas.
Talk: This talk explores the relationship between a figurative language about rivers and a new science of hydrology in early modern France and the French Americas. How did the residents of riverbanks - from nymphs to washerwomen - navigate the significance of the river and its multiple resources?