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Pascale Lafountain

Associate Professor, World Languages and Cultures

B.A., Middlebury College
Ph.D., Harvard University
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Dr. Pascale LaFountain is Associate Professor of German and French and has been at Montclair State since 2011. Her main area of research examines issues of gender, performance, and language in German, French, and Netherlandic literature of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Her recent book, Theaters of Error: Problems of Performance in German and French Enlightenment Theater (Palgrave, 2018) reveals ways in which ballet theory, acting treatises, and canonical theatrical works by Lessing, Schiller, Diderot, and Kleist negotiate the effectiveness of body language and emotional identity on stage in a period when these fields were preoccupied with contradictory investments in communication precision and sentimental subjectivity.

Dr. LaFountain’s current projects focus on affect, the senses, and verbal communication. One project examines the representation of the five senses in Alexander von Humboldt’s Reise in die Aequinoctial-Gegenden and its French reception after he returned from Latin America to Paris in 1805. Other projects explore intersections between science and theater in the European Enlightenment, and the role of gesture in the history of eighteenth-century German opera.

Fluent in Dutch, French, and German, and having studied in France (Paris) and Germany (Mainz), Dr. LaFountain teaches courses at all levels in French and German. Sample courses include “The Power of the People: Democracy in Revolutionary France,” “The Senses and Performance in Enlightenment France,” “German Theater,” and “German Graphic Novels,” as well as the General Education courses “Introduction to LGBTQ Studies” and “Fairy Tales from Grimm to Disney” and communication-based language courses from the 101 level on. Other teaching includes a course on “The Art of Science Communication” for Green Teams student interns at Montclair State.

Dr. LaFountain was instrumental in Montclair State’s designation as a German Center of Excellence, obtained in November 2020.

Since September 2020, Dr. LaFountain has served as Vice President of the University Senate, where she is particularly invested in preferred name policy, the reduction of single-use plastics on campus, transparent communication, and other initiatives that facilitate Montclair State’s progress in the areas of inclusiveness and sustainability.


Gender and sexuality in German literature and performance, theories of body and mind, German literature 1700-present, 18th-century French literature and culture, theater studies, German film, Netherlandic literature, interdisciplinary communicative approaches to language pedagogy