Faculty Bio

Mita Choudhury

Professor of History

Mita Choudhury received her B.A. from Haverford College (1985), an M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1988), and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University (1997).  Her areas of research involve gender, political culture, and religion in Old Regime France.  Her first book Convents and Nuns in Eighteenth-Century French Politics and Culture (Cornell, 2004) examines how the actions and representations of nuns played out in the larger political and intellectual world of pre-revolutionary France.  Professor Choudhury’s latest book The Wanton Jesuit and the Wayward Saint (Penn State, 2015) investigates the famous and scandalous 1731 trial in which Catherine Cadière, a young woman in the south of France, accused her Jesuit confessor, Jean-Baptiste Girard, of seduction, heresy, abortion, and bewitchment. The Cadière affair was central to the volatile politics of 1730s France and sheds light on two important phenomena with broad historical implications: the questioning of traditional authority and the growing disquiet about the role of the sacred and divine in French society.  Professor Choudhury teaches early modern Europe and Old Regime France.