Profile picture for user Thomas Corbani

Thomas Corbani

Doctoral Candidate and Graduate Student Instructor
4310 Dwinelle
Tuesday 4:15-5:15pm, Thursday 11:15-12:15pm

Research Areas

19th-21st century French and francophone literature; Maghrebi studies; sexuality studies; orientalism; classical reception; trans studies; sociology of literature.


I started in the French Ph.D. program here in 2019. I work on nineteenth through twenty-first century French and North African literature. In my dissertation, I write about a merry bunch of French orientalists and classicists who lived across this period. All of them write about homosexuality. My central contention is that they thought this task to be a matter of style, and not one of mimesis. In other words, they didn't really care about writing gay characters that were believable, or realistic, as long as they were well written. Lots of scholarship in literary sexuality studies sees the novel as a quasi-ethnographic document, which can tell us something about the foregone sexual practices its author might have been privy to; I am more taken by the oft-understudied novels where no such inference can be made. I'm hoping to show that they're just as central to the development of our contemporary notions of same-sex sexuality as those works in the realist tradition.  

On another note, I’ve been writing about transfemininity in Morocco, the rapidly changing cultural landscape surrounding it, and the authors who've taken an interest in it.

I completed my MA in French here at Berkeley in 2021, and my undergraduate education at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. In the interim, I was living in New York City teaching French at a language school. I’m French-American, and grew up in the UK until I moved to the US for college, though for better or for worse, you can't really hear it. 

Otherwise, I enjoy elaborate cooking projects, hyperpop, and drawn-out evenings on terraces playing cards.

Selected Publications

2022. "D'un roman plus que le nom: Édouard Louis's Histoire de la violence, a reflexive, gay novel." Modern and Contemporary France, 30:1.