Camille Leclère-Gregory, Ph.D. student, French and Francophone World Studies
Explores gender in French theater
• Hometown: Pau, France
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Associate Dean Roland Racevskis
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Ph.D in French and Francophone World Studies; expected graduation date: December 2021
• Please describe your research: Through my research, I examine the impact of gender and its performance through female characters in French seventeenth-century theater – a key moment both in literary and women’s history. This was a time when drama was used by the monarchy as a tool for moral control and I aim to show how the portrayal of female characters in theater reflected and impacted the lives and behaviors of aristocratic women, whose agency enabled revolts and paved the way for emancipation.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? I believe that my research sheds a new light on gender roles/power dynamics in France and reestablishes the place that women have held throughout history and literature – not as a marginalized Other, but as an essential actor. I hope that my research will help female students and scholars to feel empowered to be agents of change in their field.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started research during my first year as a Ph.D student at the University of Iowa, by working closely with my advisor on my dissertation project in the first semester of my program. In that same year, I participated in the Newberry Library Multidisciplinary Graduate Conference, was one of the conference chairs for the World Languages Graduate Organization’s ‘Exploring Voices’ Conference in the Spring of 2018, and worked as a Research Assistant for Prof. Roxanna Curto during the Summer of 2018.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
I’ve been fortunate enough to enroll in a diverse range classes at the University of Iowa both within and outside of my department, which have helped me gain perspective on my own research and my identity as a scholar. I’ve also benefitted from the support, guidance and intellectual stimulation brought about by my cohort, committee members and professors. My involvement in research has also enabled me to participate in and organize various conferences, which have strongly contributed to my success at the University of Iowa.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I hope to pursue my career in academia and continue on my path to highlight female agency throughout literature and history. I intend to continue these endeavors through my research, but also through my teaching, by emphasizing the importance of literature – both past and present – in shaping individuals and societies.
• Does your research have connections to or implications for COVID-19? Please explain. Although my research does not have any connections with COVID-19, the pandemic has enabled me to adapt my methods and explore new ways to conduct research. I have been able to expand my use of online sources and platforms, which have truly benefitted and improved my skillset as a scholar.
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