Faculty Bio

Kathleen Hart

Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies

Formerly a piano performance major, Kathleen Hart (Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania) discovered her enthusiasm for literary and cultural studies during a semester abroad. Her publications include Revolution and Women's Autobiography in Nineteenth-Century France  and, with Paul Fenouillet (SUNY New Paltz), a new French edition and English translation of George Sand's Gabriel, a play about gender and cross-dressing. She has lectured on "Musicality in Translation," the topic of a segment aired on NPR's The Academic Minute. Her current research focuses on neuroesthetics (using neuroscience to investigate esthetic experience) and the application of evolutionary, cognitive and developmental psychology to the study of literature and culture. See "Animal Humor and the Darwinian Absurd" (Contemporary French and Francophone Studies) and "Strangers to Ourselves: Animality and Theory of Mind in Honoré de Balzac's 'A Passion in the Desert'" (Style). She regularly participates in the annual Nineteenth Century French Studies Colloquium for which she organized a panel on ecocriticism.

Professor Hart is the recipient of two grants from the Vassar-Williams-Mellon Consortium to develop web-based French-language exercises and teaching material using songs. Recent courses include "Music and Text" (in French), "Interpreting French Feminism" (Women's Studies) and an Environmental Studies course she co-teaches with Professor John Long (Biology/Cognitive Science), called "Animal Metaphors." Their article about the course's first iteration is called "Animal Metaphors and Metaphorizing Animals: An Integrated Literary, Cognitive and Evolutionary Analysis of Making and Partaking of Stories."