Department of French and Romance Philology  







Joanna Stalnaker




Associate Professor of French

Enlightenment literature, philosophy, and history of ideas; French Revolution; theater; women writers
512 Philosophy Hall
(212) 854-4567

Joanna Stalnaker (Ph.D. New York University; B.A. Swarthmore College) works on Enlightenment literature, philosophy and science with an interdisciplinary focus on intellectual history and literary form. Other interests include sexuality and knowledge, theater and revolution and the place of women writers in literary history. Her first book, The Unfinished Enlightenment: Description in the Age of the Encyclopedia (Cornell University Press, 2010), won the Kenshur Prize from the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies at Indiana University. She has published articles in Representations, Diderot Studies and Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture and has co-edited a special volume of the Romanic Review on authorship in eighteenth-century France. Her current project, The Enlightenment’s Last Words, is a study of the last works of the French philosophes. She was the recipient of a Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award at Columbia in 2014. She serves on the editorial boards of Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment and the Romanic Review, on the MLA Delegate Assembly and Division Executive Committee for Eighteenth-Century French Literature and formerly served on the Board of the Society of Fellows at Columbia University. She directs two M.A. programs at Columbia’s Global Center for Europe at Reid Hall in Paris, the M.A. in History and Literature and the M.A. in Global French Studies. At Columbia, she teaches a wide range of graduate and undergraduate courses, including Human Variety in the Enlightenment, Rousseau and His Critics, Enlightenment / Counter-Enlightenment, Theater and Revolution, Introduction to History and Literature, Sexual Enlightenment, French Theater in Performance and Literature Humanities.

Recent and Forthcoming Publications:

“Jonathan Israel in Dialogue.” Journal of the History of Ideas, forthcoming.

“Diderot’s Brain.” Enlightenment Constellations. Eds. Mary Helen McMurran and Alison Conway. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming.

“Rousseau’s First Person.” Introduction to Modern French Literature. Ed. Christopher Prendergast. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, forthcoming.

Authorship in Eighteenth-Century France, special issue of the Romanic Review, co-edited with Nicholas Cronk 103 (May-November 2012).

“Mademoiselle de Lespinasse’s Hand,” Romanic Review 103 (May-November 2012): 275-83. 

“Buffon on Death and Fossils.” Representations 115 (Summer 2011): 20-41.

The Unfinished Enlightenment: Description in the Age of the Encyclopedia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010. Winner of 2010 Kenshur Prize.

“Diderot’s Literary Testament.” Diderot Studies 31 (2009): 45-56.

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