Laura C. Balladur

Lecturer in French and Francophone Studies


French and Francophone Studies

Roger Williams Hall, Room 409


Laura Balladur, Ph.D. Duke University

Laura Balladur is Lecturer of French and Francophone Studies. Her broad interests include translation both in theory and practice, cinema, the relationship between literature and science, philosophical musings on the mind-body problem specifically metaphors of the imagination, and reflections on the embodied self in dance.These varied interests are reflected in her scholarship and her teaching. Her dissertation, Imagination, Physiology, and Dynamics of Representation (Duke, 2005), explored the emergence of life science in various 17th and 18th-century scientific discourses, and its articulation in the changing concept of imagination. Much more recently, in “Dotted Lines and Fountain Diagrams in Descartes’s Treatise on Man” and informed by current scholarship on embodiment and collectives, she reread Descartes in ways that confront traditional cartesian dualism.

Currently, she continues to explore similar ideas in a somewhat new medium: drawing on her previous experience in analog videography and visual arts, as well as her experience in teaching film, she is working on a visual essay where she reflects on these questions as they relate to social dance. As an avid Argentine Tango dancer and teacher, she has been working on the intersections between critical theory and Tango, from the rich and complex “lead/follow” dichotomy between partners, to the fetishism, the nostalgia, the community, the gazes, the narrative dance, and the essential mind-body connection–always a focus in her professional life. Additionally, for the past several years, she has guided department students as they organize the yearly Francophone film festival, Tournées Film Festival.


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.