Catherine Nesci

Catherine Nesci in Seoul, Korea, 2011.
Professor of Comparative Literature & French Studies


Professor of modern French and Francophone literary studies, Comparative and World Literature: Affiliate in Feminist Studies, and in Germanic & Slavic Studies. 


  • 1987: PhD in French and Comparative Literature, University of Paris-7, Highest Honors
  • 1981: Agrégation de lettres modernes
  • 1980: MA, University of Paris-7, Highest Honors
  • 1978-1982: Fellow, Ecole Normale Supérieure
  • 1976: Baccalaureate in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, Highest Honors


Academic Positions

  • 2012-2019: Chair, Comparative Literature Program, University of California at Santa Barbara
  • 2004-present: Professor of French, Dept of French and Italian, UC Santa Barbara
  • 2004-2008; 1996-1999: Chair, Dept of French and Italian, UC Santa Barbara
  • Summer 2001  Visiting Professor, Institut d’Etudes Françaises in Avignon, Bryn Mawr College
  • Fall 1999: Visiting Professor of History, Dept of History, University of Paris-7
  • 1986: appointed as Assistant Professor of French, Dept of French and Italian, UC Santa Barbara
  • 1982-86: Lecturer of French, Dept of French, Bryn Mawr College (except 1984-85)

Academic Distinctions and Awards

  • 2008 & 2014: Conference Grants, Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation, Inc.
  • 2000: Palmes Académiques, French Ministry of Education
  • 1999-2000: Quarter Scholar-in-Residency Grant, Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation, Inc
  • 1989-1990: Andrew W. Mellon post-Doctoral Fellowship, Department of French New York University
  • 1989-1990: American Council of Learned Societies, Fellow (1989-1990)


Teaching & Research Foci

  • Modern and Contemporary French & Francophone literature
  • Modernism; urban and space studies
  • Comparative and World Literature; Literary Theory
  • Literrature and Care; Feminist & Gender Studies
  • Disability Studies; the Health and Medical Humanities
  • German Studies (Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, Siegfried Kracauer)
  • Holocaust, Trauma, & Memory Studies

Main Professional Activities

  • President, George Sand Association (Jan. 2011-Jan. 2014)
  • Co-Editor, Series “Culture and Conflict.” De Gruyter Publisher. With Isabel Capeloa Gil (Portugal) and Paulo de Medeiros (University of Warwick) (2012-present)
  • Associate Editor, Nineteenth-Century French Studies (January 2012-December 2015); Editorial Board (2009-2011; 2016-present)
  • Editorial Board, MuseMedusa, revue de littérature et d’art modernes (2020-present), Université de Montréal
  • Editorial Board, Dix-Neuf Journal  (2004-present), the journal of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes
  • Editorial Board, Quêtes littéraires. Institut de Philologie Romane, Université Catholique de Lublin Jean-Paul II, Poland.
  • Editorial Board, Medias19 (2012-present)
  • Editorial Board, Textimage (2012-present)

Conference organizer

  • Organizer, “Urban Mysteries: Crime Fiction from Eugène Sue’s Mysteries of Paris to the American Noir.” Co-host: D. Jullien. Comparative Literature, Graduate Center for Literary Research, Department of French and Italian, & the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UC Santa Barbara, February 27-28 & March 1, 2014. 
  • The 18th International George Sand Studies Conference: “Writing, Performance, and Theatricality in George Sand's Works” Department of French and Italian, UC Santa Barbara. Fall 2008.
  • Co-organizer of the International Colloquium for the Jean-Paul Sartre Centennial Celebration (1905-2005). With Ernest Sturm. Department of French and Italian, and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UC Santa Barbara, November 29-December 4, 2005.
  • 20th Annual Colloquium in Nineteenth Century French Studies, “The Contours of Identity: Thresholds, Boundaries and Borders,” UC Santa Barbara, October 20-23, 1994. Co-host, Didier Maleuvre.


  • Working on sequel to 2007 book, currently entitled Street Hauntings, with chapters on women, literature and the visual and print media, including Agnès Varda, Annie Ernaux, Assia Djebar, Hélène Cixous, and Régine Robin.
  • Faculty Coordinator and Founder, UCSB Memory Studies Group
  • Faculty co-Convener, the Disability Studies Initiative, Research Focus Group, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center.



  • American Mysterymania: du récit des bas-fonds au film noir et au Steampunk/ American Mysterymania: from underworld fiction to film noir and Steampunk. Edited, in collaboration with Devin Fromm. Available on open access, March 2018. 
  • Ecriture, performance et théâtralité dans l’œuvre de George Sand. Co-edited with Olivier Bara. Grenoble, France: ELLUG, 2014. 530 pages. 2nd edition, UGA Éditions, 2019. 
    [Writing, Performance, and Theatricality in George Sand's Works].
  • Le Flâneur et les flâneuses. Les femmes et la ville à l’époque romantique. Grenoble, France: Ellug, 2007. 440 pages.
    [Women, modernity, and the city in nineteenth-century Paris, with chapters on Walter Benjamin, Balzac, Delphine de Girardin, Flora Tristan, George Sand, and 19th-century panoramic literature].
  • Corps/Décors: Femmes, Orgie, Parodie. With associate editors Gretchen Van Slyke and Gerald Prince. Amsterdam/Atlanta: Rodopi, 1999.
  • La Femme mode d'emploi. Balzac, de la Physiologie du mariage à La Comédie humaine. Nicholasville (Kentucky): French Forum Publishers, 1992. 247 pages.
    [Gender divisions, discipline, and power in Balzac's Analytical Studies and their impact on fetishism and gendered representations in Balzac's Human Comedy].  

Edited Journals

  • Dix-Neuf. Journal of the Society of Dix-Neuviémistes, "Delphine de Girardin: Une écriture expérimentale." 7 (October 2006).
  • The Romanic Review, "Soi-même comme une autre: Flora Tristan et les Pérégrinations d'une paria." 98.1 (January 2007). 187 pages.
  • "L'Oeuvre d'identité: Essais sur le romantisme, de Nodier à Baudelaire." Paragraphes 13 (1996). Co-edited with Didier Maleuvre.

And over 60 articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century print and visual culture in such journals as French Politics, Culture & Society, SubStance, Michigan Romance Studies, French Forum, L'Année balzacienneRomantisme, Textimage, and in book chapters (see list in attached cv).


Recent Courses:

French 231B:  Flâneurs-Flâneuses: Urban Wanderers as Artists of Modern Life (1830-1930)
French 231B/Comparative Literature 200: Spectral Cities: Modernity, History, Post/Memory 

Comparative Literature 100: Migrant Tales & Tales Retold. Comparative Literature and/as World Literature
Comparative Literature 101: In Theory: Engaging Literature & Film from the 1960s to the Present
Comparative Literature 113: Trauma, Memory, Historiography
Comparative Literature 197: Senior Seminar (Fall 21: In the Flâneur’s Footsteps. Literature & the Restless City; Winter 21: Haunted Narratives)
Comparative Literature 50B-French 50BX: Love Bound and Unbound (Nature, Culture, Literature, from the Renaissance to the French Revolution)

Comparative Literature 210: Reading Comparatively. Old and New Questions in “Comparative” Literature

German 164E: Franz Kafka: Defying Domination