I always get quizzical looks from folks when I explain that I teach both French and the History of Medicine at Vanderbilt University (faculty webpage). But once they understand my background, it ends up making perfect sense.
As the granddaughter of French immigrants, I’ve never been able to shake the genetic connection I have to French-speaking Europe (I’ve written about those connections here and here). And over the years, I’ve lived in Belgium, Paris, and Aix-en-Provence.
Writing has also always been in my blood. I worked at the student newspaper when I was an undergraduate at Indiana University and considered a degree in Journalism. But as always, French beckoned. After majoring in French and Political Science at IU, I went on to earn my Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
It was at Madison that I discovered a passion that has shaped my work as an academic and a writer. UW is home to top programs in the History of Science/Medicine, and I completed a graduate minor in the field.
Then, I landed a tenure-track position at Vanderbilt, where interdisciplinary studies are genuinely valued. And thanks to this, I have been able to teach and write about the History of Medicine and French Studies ever since.
I teach courses on the History of Early Medicine, Medicine and Literature, as well as courses on early French literature and culture. My research has been funded by the Newberry Library (Chicago), the Francis C. Wood Institute for the History of Medicine, the Wellcome Library for the History of Medicine, and Vanderbilt’s Research Scholar Fellowship program.
I’ve written two books on the history of medicine: Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution and Pregnant Fictions: Childbirth and the Fairy Tale in Early-Modern France. The next book is in the works as we speak and focuses on science and terror in the French Revolution.