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Alexis Stanley

Graduate Student Instructor
W/F 11-noon, or by appointment

Research Areas

Early modern studies; the French Enlightenment; aesthetics; poetics; performance theory and theater; the history and philosophy of dance; translation; new (and old!) media studies; digital humanities; natural language processing


I am a third-year PhD student in the French Department. My doctoral research engages with French Enlightenment discourse through the triple lens of literary studies, new media studies, and performance studies. I investigate the influence the “Age of Reason” exerted on the development of theatrical techniques and literary accounts of bodily expression and gesture in France, with particular attention to the work of Denis Diderot and the practices of dance, pantomime, and theater.

I graduated in 2015 from Duke University, where my undergraduate research projects explored 18th- and 19th-century dance, politics, and poetry in France. I then spent three years as an Élève de la Sélection internationale at the École normale supérieure (ENS) in Paris, where I concurrently received an MA in French Literature jointly conferred by the ENS, Université Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV), and Université Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III). At UC Berkeley, I am a recipient of the Berkeley-Mellon Fellowship, the David and Aileen Wang Family Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and a Pre-Dissertation Research Grant from the Institute of International Studies.

Outside the French Department, I am a passionate dancer and music lover. I have danced professionally in America and France, and have interned with American Ballet Theatre, Dance Magazine and Pointe magazine. At UC Berkeley, I occasionally compete with the Cal Ballroom team (in Latin and International Standard styles) around the Bay Area.