Laura C. Balladur

Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies



French and Francophone Studies

Roger Williams Hall, Room 409

European Studies


Laura Balladur, Ph.D. Duke University

Laura Balladur is Lecturer in the French and Francophone Studies department at Bates College since 2003. Her broad interests include translation both in theory and practice, cinema, the relationship between literature and science, and the embodied mind. Her dissertation Imagination, Physiology, and the Dynamics of Representation (2005) explored the emergence of proto-biology in various 17th and 18th-century scientific texts in Europe. She has published on translation as well as on the history of science. Her latest article offered an alternate reading to Descartes’s dualism. True to her other undergraduate degree in Studio Arts, she keeps returning to her interest in creative projects. Currently, she is working on a creative non-fiction project describing our relationship with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, both past and present.

With a generous Faculty Development Grant (April 2022), she traveled to the colonial archives in Brussels, followed by a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the North and South Kivu capitals: Goma, in the foothills of Mt Nyiragongo, and Bukavu, at the southern tip of Lake Kivu. She wanted to follow the imprints of colonial-era infrastructures onto the present-day territory. The collected voices from the many guides she met reveal the lasting wounds of colonialism with its persisting extractive economies that form the bedrock of our modern life. 

During the trip to the DRC, she taught a two-hour workshop on The Art of Creative Non-Fiction at the Université Catholique de Bukavu. In Fall 2022, students in her translation course met over Zoom with a few students from Bukavu who participated in that summer’s workshop. Her students’ translations along with the originals can be found here: Bridges to Bukavu


Teaching (course selection)

  • French 240 “Science and Literature”
  • French 373 “Close-up on the Enlightenment”
  • French 250 “Power and Resistance in French and Francophone Literature”
  • French 271 “Translation: Theory and Practice”
  • French 235 “Advanced French Language and The Rhetoric of Cinema”

Recent Theses Mentored (selection)

  • Alana Margerum: “Déconstruire la Tour de Babel: Babel et la traduction” (2023)
  • Katherine Towle: Colonialisme et la mode (2021)
  • Emma Wheeler: “Liquider l’impossible pour traduire l’ambiguïté dans Ciels liquides” (2020)
  • Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene. “Sous le sol congolais: la représentation de l’exploitation d’une richesse mondiale dans Congo Inc., Makala et Le Cauchemar de Darwin” (2020)
  • David Shipway. “Qui est Charlie? Une enquête des symboles du défilé du 11 janvier” (2015)
  • Anna Munter. “L’amour, la nature et la mort: La condemnation des femmes dans Julie ou La Nouvelle Héloïse de Jean-Jacques Rousseau” (2013)
  • Jeffrey Berry. “Représenter l’essentiel: la tâche de Walter Benjamin” (2012)
  • Olivia DaDalt. “La vie en prose: La vérité et le pouvoir narratif dans L’Amant de Marguerite Duras” (2012)
  • Katie Black. “La Déstabilisation des limites linguistiques, temporelles, physiques et mentales dans Aucun de nous ne reviendra de Charlotte Delbo” (2012)

Select Publications

  • “Dotted Lines and Fountain Diagrams in Descartes’s Treatise on Man,” Mosaic. March 2018, vol 51, issue 1.
  • “Translation for Cross-Cultural Thinking in the Liberal Arts,” co-authored with Francisca Lopez. Translation 2011, Bates College ebook.
  • “Drunk on Confusion: on Translation and Pure Language.” In Translation Bates International Poetry Festival (Bates eBook). Translation 2010, Bates College ebook.
  • Translation of Emeric de Monteynard, Selections. In Translations, Bates International Poetry Festival, Bates eBook. 2010.
  • “Work, Machines, and Vapors in Late Eighteenth-Century France.” In Civilization in French and Francophone Literatures and Film. Proceedings of the 33rd Annual French Literature. Amsterdam, Rodopi: Nov. 2006.