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, the mind-body dichotomy, and the aesthetics of dance. Her dissertation Imagination, Physiology, and the Dynamics of Representation (2005) explored the emergence of life science in various 17th and 18th-century scientific texts. She has published an article reframing Descartes’s dualism and several translations, but keeps returning to her interest in creative projects.

A recent (April 2022) Faculty Development Grant allowed her to pursue research in the colonial archives in Brussels as well as a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo to record oral testimonies that confront one colonial family’s lasting legacy in present-day DRCongo. These collected voices from the Kivu and Ituri provinces, areas known more recently as the sites of the two Congolese War, reveal the lasting wounds of colonial-era infrastructures. Ultimately, this creative nonfiction book project hopes to a shine light on western complicity in the DRCs extractive economy.


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)

  • 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)
  • Emma Wheeler. “Liquider l’impossible pour traduire l’ambiguïté dans Ciels Liquides” (2019)
  • 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 dansAucun 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.