Department of French and Romance Philology  








Philip Watts



Professor of French

Twentieth and Twenty-First Century French Literature and Film
518 Philosophy Hall

Phil Watts received his BA at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1982 and his PhD from Columbia University in 1991.  Before joining the faculty at Columbia he taught at the University of Pittsburgh from 1992 to 2006.  His research and teaching focus on 20th-century French literature and film and the relation between politics and aesthetics.  His first book Allegories of the Purge: How Literature Responded to the Postwar Trials of Writers and Intellectuals in France (Stanford, 1999) was awarded the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize.  Since then he has continued to study how literature and film participate in democratic formations, and he has published articles on Jean Genet, Jacques Rancière, Roland Barthes and film, Jacques Rivette and the cold war, and the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet.  His current research focuses on the persistence of archaic forms in postwar French literature and film.  He is the co-editor with Gabriel Rockhill of "Jacques Rancière: History, Politics, Aesthetics" (Duke, 2009). 

Recent articles

“Remnants of Tragedy” in Yale French Studies (forthcoming, Fall 2011).

“Rififi and the Politics of Silence” in L'Esprit Créateur (forthcoming, Fall 2011).

“Camus and Film” in proceedings of Camus Now conference.  The Florence
Gould Lectures at New York University.  Vol. XII (Winter 2010-2011).

“Godard’s War” in L’Esprit Créateur (Winter 2010) Vol. 50, no.4.

“The Eloquent Image: The Postwar Mission of Film and Criticism” in Opening Bazin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

“Heretical History and the Poetics of Knowledge” in Jacques Rancière: Key
(Durham, UK: Acumen, 2010) 104-115).

“gillesdeleuzerolandbarthes. Cours croisés, pensées parallèles” co-authored with Yves Citton in La Revue internationale des livres (No. 6: July-August 2008)

“Aeschylus Soup” in Contemporary French Civilization (Vol. 32, no.2: 2008)

“Sartre’s Republic, 1953” in Nottingham French Studies (Vol. 45, no.2: 2006)

“Roland Barthes’s Cold War Cinema” SubStance #108, (Vol.34, no.3: 2005).

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