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Pascale Lafountain

Assistant Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures

Conrad J. Schmitt Hall 241Q
B.A., Middlebury College
Ph.D., Harvard University
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Having spent my childhood between a farm in rural upstate New York and The Netherlands, I grew up speaking English and Dutch and acquired German and French through a combination of courses and travel: au pairing in rural Switzerland, Rotterdam, and Paris; double-majoring and gaining secondary teaching certification in German and French (Middlebury College, 2004), and completing a Ph.D. in German Studies at Harvard University (“Flaws, Mistakes, Misreadings: Error and the Human Sciences in Drama around 1800”, 2011). At MSU, I have a joint appointment in German and French, where I teach courses ranging from 18th-century French intellectual history to German Graphic Novels. In addition to continuing my research on 18th-century German and French theater in its cultural context, I have published articles on European feminism, media theory in the works of the Nobel Prize-winning Austrian author Elfriede Jelinek, and contemporary theater.


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


Research Projects

“Beyond Slapstick: Humor, Physicality, and Empathic Performance in Lessing’s Comedies.”

I have been invited to contribute to an international anthology on humor edited by Vivienne Westbrook and Shun-Liang Chao, with publication anticipated for 2017. The book will include chapters on “the Classics, Anglo-Saxon, Medieval, Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian, Twentieth-century and Twenty-first century.” Each chapter will have a broad introduction to humor as it emerges in each of the periods and then a focused essay on a particular author or work from a broad spectrum of artistic and literary production. The authors hope to achieve “a humour framework for contributing new readings to the literary, historical and cultural history fields.”My article will explore humor in eighteenth century Europe.