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Anne Brancky Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies

Anne Brancky completed a BA in French at DePaul University in Chicago, and went on to receive her MA and PhD in French literature at New York University. Her recent teaching and research have focused on literature and crime, visual cultures, autotheory and political self-writing, feminist theory and praxis, television, and the reciprocal relationship between French-language literature and the popular media in the 20th and 21st centuries. She also teaches in the Women’s Studies Program.

Her work has been published in Modern Language Studies, The French Review, Interférences Littéraires and the collected volumes Marguerite Duras et le fait divers (Minard, 2020) and French Cultural Studies for the Twenty-First Century (University of Delaware Press, 2017). Her book, The Crimes of Marguerite Duras: Literature and the Media in Twentieth-Century France, is now available from Cambridge University Press. 

  • BA, DePaul University; MPhil, MA, PhD, New York University
  • At Vassar since 2014

Contact

Research and Academic Interests

  • 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone Literatures
  • Literature and the Media
  • Visual Cultures
  • Popular Culture
  • The Fait Divers
  • Crime
  • Feminist Theory and Queer Theory
  • Autobiographical Writing

Courses

  • FFS 105: Elementary French
  • FFS 242: Sex, Gender and Identity in Modern France
  • WMST 240: Gender and American Popular Media

Photos

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Photo: Karl Rabe/Vassar College
Photo: Karl Rabe/Vassar College

Anne Brancky completed a BA in French at DePaul University in Chicago, and went on to receive her MA and PhD in French literature at New York University. Her recent teaching and research have focused on literature and crime, visual cultures, autotheory and political self-writing, feminist theory and praxis, television, and the reciprocal relationship between French-language literature and the popular media in the 20th and 21st centuries. She also teaches in the Women’s Studies Program.

Her book, The Crimes of Marguerite Duras: Literature and the Media in 20th-Century France (2020, Cambridge University Press), offers an innovative framework for analyzing Duras’s literary works and journalism as they relate to the mass media and broader cultural debates. Anne Brancky reveals how Duras’s predilection for provocatively blurring the line between truth and fiction on various media platforms helped make her a best-selling author and a public intellectual ahead of her time. Exploring the movement between serious literature and public scandal, this book affirms literature’s abiding role in political debate and the public sphere.

Her work on Duras has been published in The French Review, Interférences Littéraires and the collected volumes Marguerite Duras et le fait divers suivi de Lectures de La Vie tranquille (Minard 2020) French Cultural Studies for the Twenty-First Century (University of Delaware Press, 2017).

With Laura Hughes (NYU) and Youna Kwak (University of Redlands), Anne Brancky recently co-edited a Special Cluster of articles for the journal Modern Language Studies on Disclosure (Summer 2020). The co-written critical introduction proposes an investigation of the political and epistemological stakes of disclosure in emergent narrative forms as they relate to community, selfhood, truth and fiction. The four included essays touch on a variety of contemporary concerns from the domains of media studies, cultural studies, critical theory, feminist theory, and literature. All speak to the necessity—and difficulty—of harnessing the momentum created by increasing awareness of pervasive sexual and racial violence to create new frameworks for accountability and collective healing.

Dr. Brancky's new book project, New Literary Engagements: French Writers, Politics and the Public Sphere, studies the cultural role of the French writers and interrogates how literature shapes, and in turn is shaped by, popular political discourse. It focuses in particular on three contemporary writers who are actively engaged in various political causes and in public debates, and whose literary works reflect this engagement: Virginie Despentes, Edouard Louis, and Leïla Slimani. Through an examination of their works, public interventions and media personas, she asks: What is the relationship between literature and mainstream cultural and political debates? What can be learned from these writers’ techniques, strategies and interventions? Could they represent a model for engaged writing outside of France? What can these case studies help us articulate about literature’s abiding value in the public sphere?

A Fergusson Grant in 2019-2020 has enabled Dr. Brancky to begin experimenting with virtual reality and 360 camera technologies as pedagogical instruments. She is interested in exploring authentic, engaging, and distraction-free tools to practice listening comprehension and cultural competencies that can respond to various learning styles and provide broader access to immersive language experiences.