Kirk D. Read

Professor of French and Francophone Studies


French and Francophone Studies

Roger Williams Hall, Room 405


Kirk Read, Ph.D Princeton University

Kirk Read, Professor of French, is a specialist in Early Modern French literature.  He has secondary pedagogical and scholarly interests in Francophone North Africa.  His book, Birthing Bodies in Early Modern France: Stories of Gender and Reproduction (Ashgate 2011), investigates sex and gender across various literary genres, including lyric poetry, midwives’ manuals, medical and proto-anthropological discourse from explorers, and the debates from the querelle des femmes.

Professor Read has traveled widely in Francophone North Africa with a view to creating a short term on the Mediterranean and French and Roman incursion and colonization.  In collaboration with colleagues and students over his 29-year career at Bates he has developed a course in oral French that follows the adventures of a fictional North African heroine, Marie Malika d’Alger–an endeavor that combines his interests in language, culture and theatre. Professor Read has led both semester-long and short term study trips to Nantes, France, most recently in the Fall of 2011. From 2013-2016, he served as Associate Dean of the Faculty; previously he had served as Chair of the Bates Arts Collaborative, Chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies, and Chair of the Division of Humanities. Last winter, Professor Read was recruited for Bates’s main stage production of Angels in America in the role of Roy Cohn.  In the fall of 2018, he will teach the bookends of the departmental offerings:  French 101 and 372, a seminar on women writers of 17th-century France.

Teaching (course selection)

  • Fre240E “Le Maghreb: Vue de l’Enfance”
  • Fre371 “Literary Identity in Early French Literature”
  • Fre372 “Woman Writer/Women Written” (in 17th century France)
  • Fre377 “Colon/Colonisé: Récits de l’Experience Nord-Africaine”
  • FreS33: “France, Day by Day” (taught in Nantes, France)
  • FreS39 “ Tintin et les Intellos”
  • FYS203 “Family Stories” (First Year Seminar)

Recent theses mentored (selection)

  •  “Tintin au Congo: un rêve révisé” (2018)
  • “Lire Tintin: un héros en contexte” (2016)
  • “La Folie Francophone au Féminin: Une Analyse des Textes de Trois Femmes” (2012)
  • “A la Recherche des Pères: Questions d’Identité dans le Cinéma Franco-Maghrébin” (2012)
  • “Les Citoyennes (Im)possibles: La Négociation de l’Identité des Jeunes Musulmanes dans la République” (2011)
  • “Alors, on danse: Le Rôle de la Danse dans la Récupération du Génocide Rwandais” (2011)
  • “Identité Nationale Française: une Collectivité Exclusive” (Honors, 2011)
  • “Harmonies du Soir:  Baudelaire et Debussy” (2009) (Honors, with Music)

Publications (selection)

   Gender and Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Culture by Kirk Read  High Anxiety by Kirk Read
  • Birthing Bodies in Early Modern France: Stories of Gender and Reproduction (Ashgate, 2011)
  • “Touching and Telling: Gendered Variations on a Gynecological Theme” in Gender and Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Culture (Ashgate, 2010)
  • “Staging the Competent Midwife:  Louise Boursier as Response to François Rabelais’s gargantuan birth,” in Esprit généreux, esprit pantagruélicque Eds., Reiner Leushuis and Zahi Zalloua ,Cahiers du seizième siècle (Droz, 2008)
  • “What’s a Mother to Do?”: Maternal Advice from a Wise Woman,” Cahiers du 17ième siècle,Vol. VIII, no. 2 (2003) 65-76.
  • “Mother’s Milk from Father’s Breast:  Maternity Without Women in French Renaissance Lyric” in High Anxiety: Masculinity in Crisis in Early Modern France, Ed. Kathleen Perry Long.  (Truman State UP, 2002) 71-92.